Iron Bugs and Mischievous Rats — A Complete Guide to M Scizor-EX / Raticate

Hey there PokeBeach! I’m extremely happy to be back writing for you. I actually have three articles coming up in the span of the next month, so I’ve decided to cover one deck per article (my next one is a secret deck that I believe will dominate London Intercontinentals) and to just go extremely in depth on each deck. While some of these decks may have been covered already, I think an extremely detailed look at decks that have already been looked at briefly is still helpful for players of all skill levels. With that said, let’s start off with the deck myself and fellow writer, Travis Nunlist, took to Fort Wayne Regionals – M Scizor-EX with Raticate.

Immediately after Philadelphia Regionals, where I had a poor showing after starting off 5-1, I messaged Travis about finding “the play” for Ft. Wayne. I had reasonable excuses for not cutting (food poisoning and a complete lack of sleep), but blaming one’s poor performance on anything but yourself is the worst way to improve. With my competitive fire to do well stronger than it has been since Worlds, we started determining our expected metagame for Ft. Wayne.

We quickly came to the conclusion reached by many in the community that M Gardevoir-EX and Vileplume / Walls were the two best decks in Standard. While we looked into playing both, neither deck was appealing to us as we could not find ways to make either mirror match not come down to the coin flip and who drew better. Even if a deck is unquestionably the best deck, if you choose to just take a coin flip matchup against the mirror (which will see a lot of play if the deck is as strong as advertised) there’s a good chance you won’t do extremely well in a tournament just due to the luck of match pairings. While the metagame has shifted since our initial conversation about Scizor (bye bye Vileplume, hello Yveltal / Garbodor, Rainbow Road, and M Rayquaza-EX), it still stood to be a great play for the tournament as it had even to strong matchups against all of the biggest metagame decks aside from Volcanion and Greninja, which we predicted to have low turnouts.

Before I continue, I’d like to take a moment to talk about metagaming. During this tournament, I noticed a surprisingly high amount of Volcanion. I say surprising because many people chose to play this deck even though it was an absolutely horrendous call for the tournament, and no, this is not a rant because I chose to play M Scizor-EX as I actually hit zero Volcanion throughout the day. After Dortmund Regionals, the metagame had shifted drastically, and the four most popular decks were looking to be Yveltal / Garbodor, M Rayquaza-EX, Rainbow Road, and M Gardevoir-EX. All of those matchups are very close if not worse for Volcanion, making it a really bad play for the event. Despite that, I still saw this deck heavily represented and I really could not understand why. All of the decks mentioned as poor or tough matchups for Volcanion were heavily represented throughout the day, only confirming what was predicted. Yes, four Volcanion ended up in Top 32, with my friend Clinton Kirkwood as well as one other Volcanion player making it all the way to Top 8, but this can be attributed more to it being highly represented in the metagame and thus more statistically likely to make top cut than it does with it being a good deck. With this in mind, I’d really recommend everyone take a look at my previous article where I go over how to metagame. It made me really disappointed in the community as a whole to see so many people metagaming incorrectly, as metagaming is an extremely important skill to being a top player.

M Scizor-EX / Raticate

Now that my little rant about metagaming is out of the way let’s take a look at the list Travis and I ended up playing for Ft. Wayne. Travis ended up making Top 16 with the deck! As this is an in depth article, I’ll go over each card choice and explain why we chose to play it, as well as their card counts. I’ll also talk about some cards that didn’t make the cut, and why we chose not to play them.

Pokemon (14)

3x M Scizor-EX (BKP #77)3x Scizor-EX (BKP #76)2x Raticate (EVO #67)2x Rattata (EVO #66)2x Shaymin-EX (RSK #77)1x Hoopa-EX (AOR #36)1x Magearna (PRXY #XY165)

Trainers (38)

4x Professor Sycamore (BKP #107)2x N (FAC #105)2x Lysandre (AOR #78)1x Hex Maniac (AOR #75)1x Olympia (GEN #66)1x Team Flare Grunt (GEN #73)1x Delinquent (BKP #98)4x VS Seeker (PHF #109)4x Ultra Ball (FAC #113)4x Scizor Spirit Link (BKP #111)3x Trainers' Mail (RSK #92)2x Enhanced Hammer (PHF #94)2x Mega Turbo (RSK #86)2x Escape Rope (PRC #127)1x Super Rod (BKT #149)3x Silent Lab (PRC #140)1x Parallel City (BKT #145)

Energy (8)

8x Metal Energy (EVO #98)

My Tournament Run

Before we get into more exciting things I want to briefly go over my performance at Fort Wayne. I finished 6-3 putting me in the Top 128 and (hopefully) securing my place in the Top 16 of North America for this quarter. My three losses were all due to poor draws. Round one I whiffed Energy a ton game one and drew passed until I lost game two. Round four I prized my only Hex Maniac game one and it was my last Prize, and game two I discarded all four VS Seeker by turn two. Round five I dead drew game three. While it was frustrating that I drew so poorly throughout the day, I think it’s a testament to how strong the deck is that I was still able to finish 6-3. Here’s my matchups:

Card Explanations

3-3 M Scizor-EX

The first interesting count comes right off the bat, as we bucked the conventional trend of playing four Scizor-EX. We wanted to use Raticate in basically every matchup, as well as Magearna in a few matchups, so we only ever needed to set up two M Scizor-EX per game. We also played Super Rod, so if we ever really needed another Scizor we could easily set up another even without four Basic Scizor-EX. The only thing four Scizor-EX offers is a better ratio of good starters in the deck, but space in this list is very tight and it was not ever really considered as we valued other cards much more.

Two Shaymin-EX, One Hoopa-EX

This a pretty standard line of support Pokemon. Two Shaymin-EX gave us enough draw early game that we were able to set up relatively consistently, and Hoopa-EX gave us the turn one set up the deck absolutely needs to survive, as it would be way too slow without it.

2-2 Raticate

This is the heart and soul of the deck. When Travis and I saw this card, we immediately knew we were playing this in whatever deck we chose to play for Ft. Wayne. Our testing really was just figuring out what Pokemon was the best partner for Raticate, and very quickly it became apparent that it was M Scizor-EX. M Scizor-EX’s attack that discards Special Energy synergizes extremely well with Raticate’s second attack. Raticate also gives Scizor the ability to OHKO, something that held Scizor back as a deck previously. Rattata is incredible too in getting rid of Spirit Links, Fighting Fury Belt, and more, but Raticate is the real star here.

One Magearna

Honestly, if this card wasn’t legal for Ft. Wayne, I was probably going to play Greninja or Raichu / Golbat (shout out to Rahul Reddy for supplying me with a list). This card singlehandedly wins the Rainbow Road and Vileplume / Walls matchups, which otherwise would be pretty close. I’ll discuss its uses later on in the matchups section, but note that this card is extremely crucial to the deck.

Four Professor Sycamore, Two N, Two Lysandre, Four VS Seeker

This is a pretty standard core Supporter line right now. We tried out a third N (one of our last cuts) and one Lysandre at different points, but we settled on this Supporter count and I have been very pleased with it so far.

One Hex Maniac

If there is one card I really wish we played, it would be a second Hex Maniac. This card is really good in so many different matchups: M Rayquaza-EX, M Gardevoir-EX, Vileplume, Greninja, and especially Darkrai-EX / Giratina-EX. One Hex Maniac was definitely the bare minimum, and I’d highly consider bumping it up to two if you play this deck yourself.

One Olympia

We tried this spot as a Pokémon Center Lady for a bit, but came to the conclusion that Olympia was the better healing choice for the deck. Pokemon Center Lady is really good against Yveltal / Garbodor and Darkrai-EX / Giratina-EX, as their main way of dealing with M Scizor-EX is just loading up big Evil Balls or Dark Pulses, but we found the utility of switching with Olympia to be much more useful to the deck overall. Nothing in the deck has free Retreat, and both Scizor and Hoopa-EX have two Retreat, so having something stuck in the Active is a very real possibility. Olympia, along with the two Escape Rope, gave the deck just enough mobility to dissuade Lysandre stalling plays.

One Team Flare Grunt

This is another card count we had at two for awhile, but we settled on only one for the tournament. With two Enhanced Hammer and M Scizor-EX and Raticate‘s attacks, there is already plenty of Energy denial built into the deck. Having one Team Flare Grunt was nice to help get rid of Basic Energy when attacking with M Scizor-EX, but we could never justify playing it over another Hex Maniac, as Hex also provided an Energy removal option against Giratina-EX through M Scizor-EX’s attack, as well as shut off Magearna-EX’s Ability against M Rayquaza-EX and Vileplume.

One Delinquent

We put this card in the night before, and I honestly wish we played the second Hex Maniac instead. Our Scizor list had been making the rounds through some of the top players heading to Ft. Wayne, and we wanted to find a card that can make the mirror match favorable. Having the ability to discard a Stadium as well is never bad, but it was superfluous most of the time because of Scizor’s attack; rarely did I need to use both options of Scizor’s discard to win.


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