Unlimited Possibilities — Developing the U150 Meta

Congrats to the winner of our first U150 bracket!

Hello everyone! It’s Alex, back at you with a free article about the state of the U150 meta.

To start, I want to apologize for being away from PokeBeach for so long. I’ll be starting school again fairly soon, so I made the decision to take a break from playing competitively. I still want to play here and there, as I don’t think anyone’s love for Pokemon ever really dies. Through this process, I’ve grown very fond of the U150 format. I’ve written an entire article about it in the past, and mentioned it a couple of times before. If you’ve talked to me over the past few months, you know how obsessed I’ve become with this format. It’s honestly the most fun I’ve had playing Pokemon in a long time. So today, instead of talking about what the format is and how to play, I’m going to talk about the meta of U150.

If you don’t know the rules of U150, make sure to check out the article I liked to above.

U150 Madness!

In an attempt to start developing a meta, my best friend Grady and me created as many U150 decks as possible, and tested them against each other. More recently, we created a massive tournament with 64 different decks all pitted against one another in a giant, March-Madness-style, single-elimination tournament. We kept stats, recorded videos, and figured out the best decks in the format.

It’s hard to just flat-out develop an entire meta when not very many people play in the U150 format, but we could at least start laying the groundwork. When people ask me what to play for U150, I direct them towards all of the matches we recorded, as well as the results of our tournament, to start getting a feel for the format. It’s one thing to say “Jumpluff is the BDIF,” but a completely different thing to show them evidence of gameplay that backs up that claim.

In order to maintain fairness, we had to seed all 64 decks from highest perceived power to lowest perceived. We knew there would be upsets and bad matchups along the way, but there were a few things that stood out to us. While we did gain enough knowledge to create a tier list, we also learned a lot of other things along the way. So in the process of creating the meta we set out to pioneer, we came across many interesting discoveries. I feel like sharing those before sharing the results of the tournament is a good place to start!

Tournament Takeaways

Spread is King

Probably the biggest takeaway from the tournament was the fact that spread decks are some of the best in the business. Of our 64 decks, 5 of them were focused on spread tactics. Of those five, four cracked the Top 8. A lot of this success has to do with U150 decks’ reliance on low-HP draw-support Bench sitters, such as Porygon2 and Claydol. Being able to take these out, while simultaneously either locking something Active or disrupting with Hex Maniac, can swing games heavily in your favor.

Due to this, I believe it is paramount to play cards such as Mr. Mime and Pokémon Center. There really isn’t a way around not playing them: maintaining your draw power is the key to a successful game. Two of our top performing decks, Entei and Raikou LEGEND and Weavile, both relied on the fact that your opponent simply had to set up these bench sitters for draw support. Moving forward, I expect to see a lot more hate against spread decks in order to survive the long game.

Porygon-Z is Meta Defining

The new Porygon-Z out of Burning Shadows is possibly one of the best U150 cards ever. I was going to just say “in recent memory,” but when you really think about it, this card is absolutely busted. Since there aren’t a lot of “Big Basics” in this format, players rely heavily on evolving their Pokemon. Combine Porygon-Z’s devolution Ability with some spread damage, and you can take a lot of cheap Knock Outs for a small investment. The other thing that Porygon-Z brings to the table is a late game disruption option in combination with N or Judge (or a similar card). Taking away the opponent’s Bench sitters out, even without actually taking a Knock Out, can be huge. I’ve won games where I was losing seven Prizes to zero and came back by playing Porygon-Z and N.

The last and most important reason why Porygon-Z is so dang good is because of its ease of access. Initialize isn’t a new concept for an Ability. There was an Omastar from Majestic Dawn that did something quite similar, but wasn’t seeing much play in U150. The reason that Porygon-Z gets the spotlight is because you generally only have to add two cards to your deck to make it work. I find that a 2-2 Porygon2 line is optimal for most decks in this format, so finding room for a Porygon-Z and a Devolution Spray is quite easy and adds a game-changing effect to almost every deck. This card will only see more and more play, and quite frankly it may be worth a spot on the U150 ban list.

EX-Heavy Decks Tend to Struggle Without an Early Lead

When U150 was first created, the rule-makers wanted to prevent power creep from invading this format like it has in Standard and Expanded. With the EX rule change that limited the use of a lot of Black and White-era cards, finding those hidden gems that don’t give up  two Prizes became a staple of deck building. Around 30 sets have now been released since Black and White, so this rule is actually starting to get a little outdated. There are so many options for non-EX attackers out there. Only two of our Top 8 decks relied on multiple EX attackers to get them through the game.

Hex Looping

…otherwise known as “how to maintain a lead.” This takeaway is linked to the format’s heavy reliance on not only the Stage 1 Bench sitters, but also on Lapras and Uxie to give you a mid-game boost. It’s very easy to chain Hex Maniac multiple turns in a row to help maintain a lead, and the way you do so is actually sort of an art form. The U150 rules committee banned Mesprit for this exact reason. Hex Maniac is a little bit more balanced since it requires the use of a Supporter rather than a Bench spot, so I think it’s perfect in a format like this. Before getting heavily invested in U150, make sure you understand why Hex Maniac is such a cornerstone.

Energy Hate

We found out that during the mid-game you simply can’t afford to miss an attack. When both players are running decks that don’t rely on EXs, trading Prizes becomes the most important aspect of the game. Think about the Night March mirror. The first person to either miss an attack or Bench a Shaymin-EX will generally lose the game. There is really no difference in U150. With cards like Energy Removal and Super Energy Removal being near-necessary in every deck, strategies that can avoid those two cards have a distinct advantage. Decks like Kingdra and Jumpluff only attack for one Energy, so they get around this nicely. Decks like Magnezone and Blastoise also have a natural out since they can attach multiple Energy per turn. Special Energy-focused decks can run Celebi ex to reuse a Double Colorless Energy or Double Rainbow Energy over and over again. If you don’t have an out to Energy hate, you’re putting yourself at a disadvantage before the game even starts.

Managing Bench Space

The last big takeaway we got from our testing was about the Bench. There are 12 Pokemon that are likely to be in over 95% of the U150 decks I build. I’ve mentioned a few already, but those 12 are the 1-1 Claydol GE line, the 2-2-1 Porygon-Z line (which includes one Porygon from Great Encounters and one from Team Rocket, and one Porygon2 from Great Encounters and one from Delta Species), 1 Uxie LA, 1 Lapras LM, 1 Dunsparce, 1 Spiritomb, and 1 Mr. Mime PLF. That’s a lot of Pokemon that are in your deck with the sole intention of just sitting on the Bench.

Managing that Bench space properly is such a big part of the format. It begs the question: what about Sky Field? Is that card not staple in this format? Yes and no. I think it’s included in over 50% of the decks, but other decks that don’t have a lot of setup required are at an advantage because they don’t need to dedicate deck space to Sky Field. Decks like Gyarados only really need an attacking Gyarados and a Benched backup Magikarp. This leave four spots free for all of the Bench sitters you could ask for. Decks like Red Card require much more of a set up, and one misstep in Benching Pokemon can set you back.

To sum that up: decks that struggle with Bench space aren’t necessarily bad, but the decks that don’t have to worry about it are strictly better.

Tournament Results

Now that you have a rough idea of how we think about U150, let’s dive into some of the stars from our 64-deck tournament. The top 8 decks were as follows:

  • Winner — Weavile
  • Runner-up — Stage 1 Rush
  • Top 4 — Kingdra
  • Top 4 — Arcanine
  • Top 8 — Jumpluff
  • Top 8 — Dusknoir Spread
  • Top 8 — Incineroar
  • Top 8 — Entei and Raikou LEGEND

In terms of seeding, we got three decks right. Kingdra, Jumpluff, and Dusknoir were each projected to make Top 8 based off of our early seeds. We came close on Arcanine and Weavile as well, both of which we thought would take home at least Top 16 honors. Incineroar-GX, Entei and Raikou, and Stage 1 Rush were all projected to win at least one game, but we never thought they would make it as far as they did. When we redo this tournament in a few months, we think we’re going to do a much better job at seeding and deck building.

With that being said, the biggest surprise to us — and our viewers — was the fact that Weavile took down the entire tournament. I’m going to show you the list, but keep in mind this list was built almost four months ago when we started this tournament, and doesn’t account for a lot of our takeaways after we wrapped up. This deck will be built a lot differently moving forward, so instead of just showing you the refined list, I’ll walk you though the changes we’re planning to make and explain why each one is necessary.

Here is the winning deck list from the tournament:

Pokemon (26)

1x Weavile (NXD #70)1x Weavile (BUS #86)1x Weavile (PLF #66)1x Sneasel (NG #25)1x Sneasel (NR #24)1x Sneasel (UD #68)1x Yveltal BREAK (STS #66)1x Yveltal (XY #78)1x Spiritomb (STS #62)1x Lopunny (FLF #85)1x Buneary (BCR #116)1x Exeggcute (PLF #4)1x Wishiwashi (SM #44)1x Tapu Koko (PRSM #SM30)1x Crobat G (PL #47)1x Mr. Mime (PLF #47)1x Porygon2 (DS #25)1x Porygon2 (GE #49)1x Porygon (GE #81)1x Porygon (AQ #103a)1x Claydol (GE #15)1x Baltoy (SS #32)1x Spiritomb (AR #32)1x Uxie (LA #43)1x Lapras (LM #8)1x Dunsparce (SS #60)

Trainers (61)

1x AZ (PHF #91)1x Bebe's Search (MT #109)1x Colress (PLS #118)1x Copycat (HS #90)1x Guzma (BUS #115)1x Hex Maniac (AOR #75)1x Iris (PLB #81)1x Korrina (FFI #95)1x Lysandre (FLF #90)1x Lysandre's Trump Card (PHF #99)1x Mallow (GUR #127)1x Marley's Request (SF #87)1x Mr. Briney's Compassion (DR #87)1x N (NVI #92)1x Pokémon Collector (HS #97)1x Professor Juniper (BLW #101)1x Professor Oak's New Theory (HS #101)1x Professor Sycamore (XY #122)1x Rocket's Admin. (RR #86)1x Roseanne's Research (SW #125)1x Sage's Training (UD #77)1x Skyla (BCR #134)1x Teammates (PRC #141)1x Twins (TM #89)1x Wally (RSK #94)1x Bill (BS #91)1x Computer Search (BS #71)1x Dark Patch (DEX #93)1x Escape Rope (PLS #120)1x Evosoda (XY #116)1x Imposter Professor Oak's Invention (NDS #94)1x Item Finder (BS #74)1x Junk Arm (TM #87)1x Level Ball (NXD #89)1x Luxury Ball (SF #86)1x Misty's Wrath (GH #114)1x Pal Pad (FLF #92)1x Pokémon Communication (HS #98)1x Pokémon Retriever (RR #84)1x Professor Oak (BS #88)1x Rescue Stretcher (GUR #130)1x Scoop Up (BS #78)1x Swoop! Teleporter (RR #92)1x Time-Space Distortion (MT #124)1x Ultra Ball (DEX #102)1x VS Seeker (PHF #109)1x Windstorm (CG #85)1x Choice Band (GUR #121)1x Dark Claw (DEX #92)1x Exp. Share (NXD #87)1x Float Stone (PLF #99)1x Head Ringer (PHF #97)1x Jamming Net (PHF #98)1x Muscle Band (XY #121)1x Dowsing Machine (PLS #128)1x Energy Removal (BS #92)1x Goop Gas Attack (TR #78)1x Gust of Wind (BS #93)1x Super Energy Removal (BS #79)1x Broken Time-Space (PL #104)1x Reverse Valley (BKP #110)

Energy (13)

11x Darkness Energy (DP #129)1x Darkness Energy (RS #93)1x Double Colorless Energy (PHF #111)

To be honest, I’m actually embarrassed by this list. It’s nowhere near optimal, yet it still won the entire tournament. What that tells me is that in the right deck-building hands, this deck can easily be considered one of the best in the format. We also played this deck under the assumption that Yveltal was not an EX, since the original printing of the card was non-holo. The reprint in Steam Siege made this card an EX though, which we were unaware of until halfway through the tournament. Either way, I still think it’s a worthy inclusion in the list, since charging it up is fairly easy with Dark Patch.

One of the biggest cards missing from this list is Porygon-Z. I just got done talking about how amazing the card is, yet the deck that won the entire tournament didn’t even play one copy! That should definitely change, as the Rule Of Evil spread plus a timely Initialize can sweep boards quite frequently. So we should probably find room for 1 Porygon-Z and 1 Devolution Spray.

In the future, the new Weavile (from Ultra Prism) is going to make this deck even better, so eventually we’re going to have to find room for that.

Outside of the Porygon-Z and the new Weavile, there isn’t any other card that I want super badly in this deck. But there are some inclusions in the above list that aren’t really worth it.

The first thing I’ll point to is the pair of Team Flare Tools, Head Ringer and Jamming Net. Originally, we had included these to make the Dark Penalty Weavile more effective. However, we were discovering that we rarely ever actually used that Weavile, even if our opponent was attaching Tool cards left and right. It was good for a quick KO on a Claydol that had a Float Stone on it, but outside of that it was pretty useless. I don’t think it should be cut yet, though, since it is one of your only single-attachment attackers in the deck. I do, however, think the Team Flare Tools can be dropped.

Other possible cuts are Lopunny and Wishiwashi. These were both included as ways to reduce the need for recover-to-hand cards to make use of Vilify. It wasn’t that these cards were bad — we just never really found ourselves using them. There were games where we would Bench them, but then bounce them back to our hand to give us some extra Bench space, rather than Vilify them away.

With that being said, I don’t feel like it is necessary to cut down on the total amount of Pokemon in this list. That would hurt your chances of getting a big-damage Vilify off when you need to hit a one-shot. Some of the perfect Pokemon to replace Lopunny and Wishiwashi with are the Eeveelutions from Ancient Origins. If you’re playing against a deck weak to Fire, Lightning, or Water, you have that extra damage output that this deck sometimes lacks. If you’re not up against one of those Weaknesses, then you can just use the Eeveelutions as fuel for Vilify. It’s a win-win! Including Eevee would also give you access to Umbreon lines, although there aren’t many good ones to play. Umbreon-GX could be an additional sniping option.

We’ve also fallen out of love with a few cards we used to think were instant inclusions in most U150 lists: Sage's Training, Twins, and Impostor Professor Oak’s Invention. Impostor Professor Oak’s Invention is one I would especially like to discuss. My love for this card has never been hidden: it has won me many games in the past. It’s one of the only cards in the U150 format that you play the moment you draw it. It never really hurts you either. If you have some extra space in your list, I will always recommend putting one of these in, as it will win you the game just by itself 20% of the time, and I think that’s worth it. However, if you’re looking for more space, I think it can be cut and referred to as the “101st” card in your list.

So where does that leave us? It appears we’re taking out both Flare Tools, Buneary, Lopunny, Wishiwashi, Sage’s Training, Twins, and Impostor Professor Oak’s Invention. That gives us eight new spots to work with. I think we can safely go ahead and add in the Porygon-Z/Devolution Spray combo and the 2-3 Eeveelution line. That gives us one more spot to work with! I have a couple of ideas about what to add last.

Flareon PLF

This is probably the best option. We’re already playing a high number of Pokemon, and adding the Eevee lines in only increases that number. Flareon will be able to take clutch Knock Outs on bigger Pokemon during the mid game, something that Vilify can struggle to do. Speaking of Vilify, it actually combos really well with Flareon’s Vengeance attack, since each time you add 30 damage to Vilify, you’re also adding 10 damage to Vengeance. If you go this route, adding in a few more ways to power up Vengeance would be optimal. Speaking of which…

Counter Energy / Double Rainbow Energy

Sometimes this deck can struggle with Energy attachments, something that I already mentioned isn’t very good if you want to be a top tier deck. Weavile gets around this by playing Dark Patch, but sometimes you need more then that. Sure, Counter Energy and Double Rainbow  Energy wouldn’t work with Yveltal BREAK, but you could save your Dark Patch for that and just attach the Special Energy to Weavile. I would lean more towards Counter Energy, since you could also attach that to Tapu Koko, while Double Rainbow would only work on Weavile.

Pokemon Center from Base Set

I can’t believe I’ve gotten this far into the article without mentioning one of the most talked about cards in U150 right now! No, it’s not Pokemon Center — it’s Clefable JU. The reason this card is so talked about is because it is on the “Suspect” list, meaning that the U150 rule-makers are considering banning it. Clefable on its own is very good, but what makes it even better is the presence of Clefairy which has the Moon Stone text that allows it to evolve immediately. If your opponent has a broken attack, why not just copy it?

Against Weavile, your opponent is likely to use Clefable to copy Rule of Evil to put the same pressure on your Benched Pokemon that you are putting on theirs. Sure, Mr. Mime might protect you from that, but Goop Gas Attack will get around Mr. Mime. Also, since spread is becoming big, more players will tech the Mr. Mime into their decks, meaning spread decks might start playing Silent Lab to get around Bench Barrier. Pokemon Center could thus be included in Weavile to help protect against Metronome and opposing spread decks.

Extra Draw Items

Consistency is everything in this format, and sometimes you just have to blast through your deck to get what you want on your turn. Having an extra, non-Supporter way to get cards will help for those turns when you need to hit two Dark Patch, or get extra Pokemon in your hand for Vilify. Shaymin-EX might not be a bad thing here either, since if you don’t need it you could always just pitch it with Vilify. Battle Compressor could be played to get that Exeggcute into the discard, as well as set up for some cool playing with Dark Patch or Time-Space Distortion. Acro Bike, Pokédex HANDY910is, and Erika are also strong options for that final spot if you’re looking to boost consistency.

Lynden Tournament

All in all, our 64-deck tournament was a lot of fun. All of the deck profiles and videos of the games are out there on the internet, so make sure you take a look for those! As I mentioned before, we’re going to be doing another one later on in 2018, so make sure to be on the lookout for that as well. If you have any questions or suggestions, please let us know! The first one seemed like a trial run for the “real deal” in 2018.

In the real world, there was a tournament up in Lynden, Washington that featured the U150 format! The prize support for the tournament was so awesome that I had to make the six hour drive up to play U150. As a way to add to the prize pool, I said that whoever won the tournament would have their deck list featured in this article. But before I get to that, let’s take a look at the top four from the event:

  • Winner — Grady Thomas with Lost World
  • Runner-up — Kyle Thomas with Kingdra with Greninja tech
  • 3rd Place — Alex Koch with Fairy Stage 1 Rush
  • 4th Place — Sean Radwanski with Xerneas / Togekiss

This tournament was a blast for many reasons! First, it was very well run. Big shout out to Joe for having us up in Lynden for this gathering of nerds! Another reason was the fact that our car took the top three spots! And the biggest reason was the mystery factor. During our 64 deck tournament, we knew what we would be going up against, as well as all 100 cards in each list. The Lynden tournament was the first time in a while where I was facing unique decks that I didn’t really know about, and I got to see a lot of exciting things in the room! Sean’s Xerneas deck that took 4th was a unique spin on a deck we featured in the 64 deck tournament, and I made sure to ask as many questions as I could about the deck. Can’t wait to see what that kid comes up with next!

But as promised, I will now show Grady’s list. Grady didn’t change many cards from the list we used in the 64 deck tournament, so if you were following that tournament all along, this won’t be too new to you. If you’re new to U150, then buckle up for one of the most exciting decks in the game!

Pokemon (24)

1x Gengar (TM #94)1x Haunter (LM #35)1x Haunter (FO #21)1x Gastly (FO #33)1x Gastly (SF #62)1x Slowking (HS #12)1x Slowpoke (DS #83)1x Crawdaunt ex (HP #99)1x Corphish (PRC #42)1x Palkia G LV.X (PL #125)1x Palkia G (PL #12)1x Mime Jr. (CL #47)1x Jirachi (UL #1)1x Porygon-Z (BUS #105)1x Porygon2 (DS #25)1x Porygon2 (GE #49)1x Porygon (GE #81)1x Porygon (TR #48)1x Claydol (GE #15)1x Baltoy (SS #32)1x Spiritomb (AR #32)1x Uxie (LA #43)1x Lapras (LM #8)1x Dunsparce (SS #60)

Trainers (67)

1x AZ (PHF #91)1x Bebe's Search (MT #109)1x Colress (PLS #118)1x Copycat (HS #90)1x Guzma (BUS #115)1x Hex Maniac (AOR #75)1x Korrina (FFI #95)1x Looker's Investigation (PL #109)1x Lusamine (CRI #96)1x Lysandre (FLF #90)1x Lysandre's Trump Card (PHF #99)1x Mallow (GUR #127)1x Marley's Request (SF #87)1x N (NVI #92)1x Pokémon Collector (HS #97)1x Professor Juniper (BLW #101)1x Professor Oak's New Theory (HS #101)1x Professor Sycamore (XY #122)1x Rocket's Admin. (RR #86)1x Roseanne's Research (SW #125)1x Skyla (BCR #134)1x Teammates (PRC #141)1x Twins (TM #89)1x Wally (RSK #94)1x Xerosic (PHF #110)1x Bill (BS #91)1x Blaine's Quiz #1 (GH #97)1x Blaine's Quiz #2 (GC #111)1x Blaine's Quiz #3 (GC #112)1x Captivating Poké Puff (STS #99)1x Computer Search (BS #71)1x Devolution Spray (EVO #76)1x Erika (GH #100)1x Erika's Perfume (GH #110)1x Escape Rope (PLS #120)1x Evosoda (XY #116)1x Item Finder (BS #74)1x Junk Arm (TM #87)1x Level Ball (NXD #89)1x Lost Remover (CL #80)1x Luxury Ball (SF #86)1x Misty's Wrath (GH #114)1x Pal Pad (FLF #92)1x Pokémon Breeder (BS #76)1x Pokémon Center (BS #85)1x Pokémon Communication (HS #98)1x Pokémon Flute (BS #86)1x Pokémon Retriever (RR #84)1x Professor Oak (BS #88)1x Rescue Stretcher (GUR #130)1x Sabrina's Gaze (GH #125)1x Scoop Up (BS #78)1x Swoop! Teleporter (RR #92)1x Target Whistle (PHF #106)1x Ultra Ball (DEX #102)1x VS Seeker (PHF #109)1x Windstorm (CG #85)1x Float Stone (PLF #99)1x Fluffy Berry (UF #85)1x Dowsing Machine (PLS #128)1x Energy Removal (BS #92)1x Goop Gas Attack (TR #78)1x Gust of Wind (BS #93)1x Super Energy Removal (BS #79)1x Broken Time-Space (PL #104)1x Lost World (CL #81)1x Sky Field (RSK #89)

Energy (9)

9x Psychic Energy (BLW #109)

Doesn’t this list just look bananas? That’s because it is — it’s a Lost World deck that actually manages to work! If you don’t know what Lost World does, it is a Stadium that states that if your opponent ever has six Pokemon in their Lost Zone, you can choose to win the game on your turn. Because of the eight Prizes you start with at the game, you are given advantage of only having to take out six Pokemon, while your opponent has to remove eight. It also gives you a little bit of extra time to accomplish all of the combos in this deck.

Speaking of combos, there are a lot of ways to get Pokemon into your opponent’s Lost Zone in this build. I want to look at each one of them specifically so you can understand how this deck works, since it is very combo-based. I’ll also point out some odd inclusions that were thrown in last minute as meta calls.

Gengar Prime

We start with the card that made the LostGar deck the most over-hyped deck of all time, several years ago. However, in U150, it’s actually going to work. There are a few cards in here that help get Pokemon into our opponent’s hand in order to use Hurl Into Darkness. The first card is that Porygon-Z that’s been popping up everywhere in this article. Usually this card is used in those late-game disruption scenarios. In this deck, we’re able to take Bench sitters, main attackers, and any other Evolution that might be useful to our opponent and throw them right into the Lost Zone using this two-card combo of Initialize and Hurl into Darkness.

Another way is with Crawdaunt ex. This is much harder to pull off, but I think it’s better overall when done correctly. If your opponent’s Bench size gets too out of hand, you get to choose one of their Pokemon and send it back to their hand. I think this is not only good for stalling your opponent out, but it also lets you target down the Pokemon you want to put in the Lost Zone. Splash Back is especially useful against Basic Pokemon and Pokemon that can evolve right away. Think of big cards like Tapu Koko and Clefable. If your opponent starts limiting their own Bench size, you can use cards like Target Whistle and Captivating Poké Puff to throw extra Pokemon down on their Bench.

And finally, a lot of the draw support of the deck comes with an extra condition. Cards like Erika and Blaine’s Quiz either let your opponent draw cards, or force your opponent to draw cards, with the “downside” being that you also have to draw cards. Your opponent almost will almost always think twice about drawing cards, not wanting to be forced into drawing an extra Pokemon. This makes Erika much more powerful than it usually is. When you play this card in other decks, you usually have to follow up with a Looker's Investigation or N in order to disrupt those three cards they drew. We have found that most of the time your opponent isn’t even taking the three extra cards, so there’s no need for a follow-up play!

Palkia G LV.X

Piggybacking off of some of the reasons that Crawdaunt ex is good, we have Palkia G LV.X. There is a little give and take here though. Lost Cyclone doesn’t let you choose the Pokemon that goes to the Lost Zone, meaning your opponent is likely to choose one of their starters or Basic Pokemon in order to not get fully disrupted. The plus side of that is the fact that you don’t have to combo it with anything, meaning this is really the only card you have to get out in order to put some stuff into the Lost Zone. Pokemon LV. X can be a little tricky to get out, but with Fluffy Berry, you can promote the Palkia after something gets Knocked Out in order to level up.

Mime Jr.

Most people who played during the HeartGold and SoulSilver era know about the combo of Mime Jr. and Slowking. Hopefully there is a Pokemon on the top three cards of your opponent’s deck so that you can move it to the top and use Sleepy Lost to put it into the Lost Zone. If you get that glorious tails flip on your Asleep check as well, your opponent will have to find some extra cards in order to take a Knock Out that turn. Usually throughout the course of the game, Sleepy Lost will only really put one or maybe two cards into the Lost Zone, but this three-card combo is worth it since there is a lot of room in the deck.


Those are the deck’s three ways to get Pokemon into the Lost Zone! Remember that you have eight Prizes worth of game time to get there, so this deck can take plenty of time to win. Usually if you can get the Gengar combo early and throw some support Pokemon into the Lost Zone, you can just play N and watch your opponent dead-draw out of the game.

Now on to other wacky cards!

Jirachi UL and Xerosic

The day before the tournament started, we were informed that there would be multiple people there playing the new hyped deck in U150, Noivern-GX / Garbodor. The goal of that deck is to lock your opponent out of Items, meaning that the Tool cards on Garbodor always stick since Windstorm can’t be played. Taking away an opponent’s Abilities and Items can completely shut a deck down. It sounds really oppressive — because it is.

Grady originally wanted to play a Shining Jirachi, but we couldn’t get our hands on one before the event started, so we settled for Jirachi. Basically, the strategy here is to devolve your opponent’s Noivern-GX over and over again to avoid the Item lock, since they have to burn their turn evolving into a GX. This forces them into a line of play where they have to fall back on Zebstrika, a much more manageable Pokemon to Knock Out, especially with Baltoy helping out a little bit. Xerosic is included for that same matchup as the only way to get your Abilities back under Item lock. Pokémon Ranger was discussed, but Xerosic seemed better against other decks as well.

Lost Remover

This is a card that Grady and I like to talk about playing in a lot of decks. Most decks that play Double Colorless Energy seem to rely on said Energy during the early game. Being able to get rid of that card forever will turn their recovery methods for it into dead cards. Grady chose to play this not only for the Double Dragon Energy that Noivern / Garb runs, but against Stage 1 Rush as well, which aims to abuse different types of Special Energy. Since he knew I was running a Special-Energy-heavy deck, and there would be multiple Noivern-GX decks in the tournament, he thought it was a good play for the day.

Lusamine

This is another card that Grady and I keep going back and forth on. It seems really good to be able to play a Supporter to get back another Supporter, and then instantly Download it. This takes the pressure off of hitting your VS Seeker early to make full use of Item Finder, Junk Arm, and Dowsing Machine. The real reason to play it, however, is for the Stadium recovery. There really aren’t a lot of good ways to get back Stadiums once they hit the discard pile, so thankfully we finally have an option for that. Before, we either had to play Celebi ex or just use Lysandre's Trump Card to put Stadiums back into the deck. There still aren’t very many options for searching out Stadium cards from the deck, though. Scott was our best option, so it came down to the debate of Lusamine or Scott, and Grady chose Lusamine since it had other uses besides just Stadium recovery.

Stage 1 Rush

Only two more topics to cover before I get out of here! The first is a discussion on what I believe to be the real best deck in format, Stage 1 Rush. It’s what I chose to play for the Lynden tournament, and I believe it was the right call, even though I ended up getting third. My Top 4 match against Kyle was one of the closest games of U150 I’ve ever had, with Kyle going for the Greninja donk, and me whiffing the win during the final turn of the game, when I had almost nothing but outs to the win in my deck. It was a crazy finish!

The reason this deck is so strong is because of the amount of options it has. There are so many good attackers you can tech in. I know it might be wrong to say this deck is a “toolbox” deck, since every deck in U150 contains single copy attackers, but this one perfectly exemplifies that concept. The idea behind my build came from me wanting to play every broken card in the game in one deck. I said to myself that I wanted to play a deck with Weavile from Burning Shadows, Tapu Koko, and Clefable, and through that thinking I ended up re-building Stage 1 Rush.

The version I played for the Lynden tournament was the one I’m going to share with you. I’ve teased this version in person and online in other places, but I wanted to save it exclusively for PokeBeach.

Pokemon (31)

1x Vespiquen (AOR #10)1x Combee (SF #57)1x Clefable (JU #17)1x Clefairy (SW #83)1x Zoroark (BKT #91)1x Zorua (SHL #52)1x Weavile (BUS #86)1x Sneasel (NG #25)1x Sylveon-GX (GUR #92)1x Vaporeon (AOR #22)1x Flareon (PLF #12)1x Jolteon (AOR #26)1x Eevee (FFI #80)1x Eevee (SM #101)1x Eevee (PR #11)1x Oricorio (GUR #56)1x Tapu Koko (PRSM #SM30)1x Mr. Mime (GEN #52)1x Unown (AOR #30)1x Unown R (LA #77)1x Porygon-Z (BUS #105)1x Porygon2 (GE #49)1x Porygon2 (DS #25)1x Porygon (TR #48)1x Porygon (GE #81)1x Claydol (GE #15)1x Baltoy (DRX #63)1x Uxie (LA #43)1x Spiritomb (AR #32)1x Lapras (LM #8)1x Dunsparce (SS #60)

Trainers (56)

1x AZ (PHF #91)1x Bebe's Search (MT #109)1x Colress (PLS #118)1x Copycat (HS #90)1x Guzma (BUS #115)1x Hex Maniac (AOR #75)1x Iris (PLB #81)1x Korrina (FFI #95)1x Lysandre (FLF #90)1x Lysandre's Trump Card (PHF #99)1x Mallow (GUR #127)1x Marley's Request (SF #87)1x N (NVI #92)1x Pokémon Collector (HS #97)1x Professor Juniper (BLW #101)1x Professor Oak's New Theory (HS #101)1x Professor Sycamore (XY #122)1x Psychic's Third Eye (BKP #108)1x Rocket's Admin. (RR #86)1x Roseanne's Research (SW #125)1x Teammates (PRC #141)1x Wally (RSK #94)1x Acro Bike (PRC #122)1x Bill (BS #91)1x Battle Compressor (PHF #92)1x Computer Search (BS #71)1x Devolution Spray (DRX #113)1x Escape Rope (PRC #127)1x Evosoda (XY #116)1x Field Blower (GUR #125)1x Item Finder (BS #74)1x Junk Arm (TM #87)1x Level Ball (NXD #89)1x Luxury Ball (SF #86)1x Misty's Wrath (GH #114)1x Pal Pad (FLF #92)1x Pokémon Communication (HS #98)1x Pokémon Retriever (RR #84)1x Professor Oak (BS #88)1x Scoop Up (BS #78)1x Secret Mission (GH #118)1x Special Charge (STS #105)1x Super Rod (NVI #95)1x Swoop! Teleporter (RR #92)1x Time-Space Distortion (MT #124)1x Ultra Ball (DEX #102)1x VS Seeker (PHF #109)1x Choice Band (GUR #121)1x Float Stone (PLF #99)1x Muscle Band (XY #121)1x Dowsing Machine (PLS #128)1x Energy Removal (BS #92)1x Goop Gas Attack (TR #78)1x Gust of Wind (BS #93)1x Super Energy Removal (BS #79)1x Broken Time-Space (PL #104)

Energy (13)

1x Counter Energy (CRI #100)1x Double Rainbow Energy (MA #88)1x Double Colorless Energy (HS #103)1x Boost Energy (DX #93)1x Upper Energy (RR #102)8x Fairy Energy (XY #140)

As I mentioned, the cool part about this particular list is that you can put almost anything you want in it! There aren’t many Pokemon in the list that use a specific Energy type, so you can play around with that as well. I decided to go with Fairy as my basic Energy because of the Noivern-GX / Garbodor hype. Sylveon-GX ended up being one of my biggest MVPs in the early stages of the tournament, since I was almost always able to threaten that turn two or turn three 110 damage.

Going back to the different Energy lines, if I wasn’t playing Sylveon-GX, there would be no reason for me to run Fairy Energy. In that case, there are many other ways you could go about the list. You could play Fighting Energy and Crabominable if you’re scared of Colorless and Dark decks. You could play Dark Energy and gain access to Zoroark BREAK for an “extra” Clefable, as well as Spiritomb. You could play Psychic Energy and tech in Shining Jirachi or Jirachi from Unleashed for cool Swoop! Teleporter plays. But Fairy Energy was the play for that day.

Instead of going through the list, I wanted to take a look at cards that I should have/would have/could have played in the tournament, which will give you a better understanding of what this deck will look like moving forward. It’s hard to point at anything specific as to what I would have taken out, but these were cards that I wanted while playing the deck. Or, rather, at least thought about wanting.

Parallel City

This was the big one. I’ve always enjoyed playing a single copy of this card in Standard and Expanded lists of Vespiquen. I know that people also like teching one into Gardevoir-GX decks for Plea GX plays. I didn’t really think too hard about this before going into the tournament; I only wanted that one shot ability against Noivern-GX. As the tournament progressed, I was always looking for a Super Scoop Up or Swoop! Teleporter to get my Spiritomb or Dunsparce off the field. Having another Stadium in the deck also felt like it would have been useful to bounce other Stadiums. Outside of Field Blower, I had no way of removing Broken Time-Space. Oftentimes I found myself playing very fast, then wanting to slow my opponent down by bouncing the Stadium, and since I only had one out to that, it was quite difficult to attain the desired result.

The other thing Parallel City could have done is add more Pokemon to my opponent’s discard to let Oricorio do more damage. The Rule of Evil Weavile in the deck was hard to use, since I knew I would probably have to follow it up with a Flying Flip to finish things off. Oricorio proved to be much more valuable for this effect, so having a way to get some extra Bench discards off would have been nice.

Leafeon from Plasma Freeze

This card was in the original Stage 1 Rush list that we played for the 64-deck tournament, but it was taken out last minute in Lynden because of the perceived meta. I didn’t think people were going to be playing many Energy Rain decks with all the hype around Garbodor. While we were right on that account, there were times where I would just need a single-Energy attacker to deal at least some damage. It makes the deck much less reliant on hitting that Double Colorless or Double Rainbow.

Vibrava from Rising Rivals

Speaking of single-Energy attackers, Vibrava was another card that was axed the night before the Lynden tournament in favor of other cards to help set Sylveon up. Again, it would have been nice to have a better single-Energy attacker to just deal damage at some points. We didn’t realize that the only option in the deck was the Oricorio, a card that could be played around once my opponent knew I had it in the list. Vibrava can also be played around in that regard, but if you’re trying to keep both Pokemon and Energy out of your discard, your plays are going to be quite limited sometimes.

Sylveon FFI

Sticking with the theme of one-Energy attackers, we have Sylveon. I don’t honestly think this card would be all that useful, but I can see how it could punish non-optimal Energy attachments when your opponent doesn’t see it coming. It would also help against the Noivern-GX / Garbodor matchup if your Sylveon-GX ever got Knocked Out or devolved. I think I would only play this card if I expected almost the entire meta to have Noivern-GX in it. We knew a good amount of people would lean toward Noivern-GX, but if two or three more people were playing it, I’d want a second out against it.

Interestingly, if you went with the Psychic version of this deck, you could have three options to devolve. I’ve already mentioned both Jirachi options, but a third could come in the form of Claydol. I’d like this card for two reasons. The first is that it would add to the spread and devolve effect that you attempt to recreate with Porygon-Z and Weavile / Tapu Koko. Being able to devolve everything instead of a limited amount of Pokemon seems really good in this combo. The second reason is that it would most likely add a second Baltoy to the mix, boosting your consistency for hitting that Cosmic Power earlier. I’ve found that two basic Porygon are really nice to have for getting Download online early.

Celebi ex

After all this talk on single-Energy attackers, I wanted to mention another out to relying on so many Special Energy. Celebi ex has always been one of the cards we’ve gone back and forth on. On the one hand, it’s an amazing recovery card that can get you back anything, as long as you have Cosmic Power, Backup, Bill, or any other way to immediately draw those cards. Being searchable with every search card in your deck is also a neat plus. The downside is that now you have an 80 HP ex sitting on your Bench waiting to get picked off. Usually when we include Celebi ex, we like to pair it with Mr. Fuji to add to the Bench space issues that we know will come with playing Time Reversal. With this card in your deck, you don’t really need as many single-Energy attackers. We opted to play a copy of Special Charge, but another out to the Special Energy in the deck would be nice.


And there you have it! That’s the last of the decks I wanted to specifically highlight for you. Hopefully by now you’re starting to love this format a bit more…

Top Meta Decks

Before I go, I did want to leave you with my picks for the best decks in the format. These are by no means in any order. Through these live tournaments we’ve had, as well as the 64-deck tournament, I believe that I have a good grasp on the U150 meta, and this list is a good way to help describe the meta. I don’t think there will be a U150 tournament with more than 50 people anytime soon, but if there was, I would want to watch out for these ten decks to hit the top tables.

Jumpluff

For consistency in terms of decks that always find themselves at the top of the rankings, look no further than Jumpluff. This decks has always been one of the best in the format due to its consistency, damage, and non-EX Prize trade. In the early game, Steam Siege's Jumpluff is great for taking Knock Outs for a single Energy, dealing 160 damage right away. During the midgame, you can pivot to Jumpluff from HeartGold and SoulSilver to finish out the game. Due to the the amazing Grass support provided by Revitalizer and Forest of Giant Plants, you can almost always ensure that you have a Jumpluff ready to go. It may seem like the damage sometimes wouldn’t be there since it’s never a consistent amount, but between Ariados, Choice Band, and Iris, you can basically always hit the numbers you want.

The only downside of this deck is the low HP. It’s not super hard to reach that 90 HP that Jumpluff has. That’s why this deck can struggle against any other non-EX trading deck, since those decks can use cards like Uxie and Porygon to take clutch Knock Outs. Since this is a Stage 2 deck, it can be hard to loop attackers if you don’t manage everything correctly. Usually this deck plays a lot of recovery and a thick Jumpluff line to deal with that, but a few disruptive plays from your opponent can put you behind.

Kingdra

Over the course of the article, I’m sure you’ve figured out that being able to one-shot something and being able to spread damage are really the only two ways of taking all eight Prizes in this format. Not many decks can do both, but Kingdra is one of the few. I really liked the idea to put Greninja from XY in the deck to add some extra snipe damage. Tri Bullet is an extremely underrated attack in this deck, and the extra Water Shurikens just add to that effect.

As a downside, this deck is full of Pokemon-EX. Sure, the snipe damage will keep opposing low-HP Pokemon at bay, but against bulkier non-EX Pokemon, this deck struggles. Porygon-Z made this deck a whole heap better, but if that finds its way on to the ban list, then Kingdra might go back to being a tier below the top.

Stage 1 Rush

My pick for the best deck in the format. I did just do a big write-up on the deck, so there’s not much more to talk about here. I feel like if this deck starts getting out of control, people will start teching Oricorio into their decks, keeping it in check for just a little bit.

Weavile

Again, another deck I did a write up on above. The big thing that this deck has going for it is the combination of spread and one-shot damage. There are other decks that might do this better, but the Dark typing is what gives this one an advantage. You could even build this deck with Darkrai LV.X for yet more damage across the board. Having that specific typing opens up a lot of possibilities.

Noivern-GX / Garbodor

I know I’ve talked a lot about this deck in this article, but it’s all for good reason. The deck can win very quickly by taking away nearly all of your opponent’s resources. No Abilities and no Items means that the only way your opponent is going to get any new cards is through the use of Supporters. If they miss any, you just win. You only trigger the Garbotoxin lock on your opponent’s turn using cards like Klefki, Bursting Balloon, and Buffer Piece which allows you to keep your Claydol and Porygon2 online to sustain the lock.

If Noivern-GX ever gets Knocked Out, you can always fall back on Zebstrika NXD to finish out the game. It’s possible to get a second Noivern-GX back out, but once that happens, your opponent may have just gained too much steam, and the low damage output of Noivern can be a problem. There aren’t many natural techs against this deck, so sometimes just trying to take a 2HKO is the best route. If you aren’t prepared for this deck, it will crush you. If you have a few outs, it’s actually a fairly manageable matchup. I include it on the list because even with those techs, you still have to find them under such an oppressive lock.

Gyarados

This deck is probably the “Night March” of the U150 format. It plays very similarly: discard a bunch of Pokemon, then take favorable KO trades into your opponent while using very few resources. It can be hard to take one-shots during the middle stages of the game, with Gyarados being capped at 120 damage, but that’s where this Gyarados and this Gyarados come into play, being able to hit those higher numbers for only one Energy attachment. The deck is consistent, can trade well, and doesn’t have a lot of counters right now. It’s very well positioned, and I think it can win any tournament it plays in.

Lost World

This is another deck I already did a write up on above, so there’s not a lot more to add here. Just know that when you play against it, try to only have one important evolution line in play at a time, and make sure to manage your Bench space accordingly.

Dusknoir

This deck is hard to pin down in terms of viability. On the one hand, it did make the Top 8 of our 64 deck tournament. During that run, it either destroyed the opposing deck, or had a super close game that came down to the wire for both sides. That makes me think that this deck is good, right? I think the rise of cards like Mr. Mime and Pokemon Center may actually knock this deck down a peg. Also, Tapu Koko is a big reason why this deck is so good and can place a lot of early pressure. If that ends up getting banned or changed into an EX, this deck will lose a very valuable main attacker. There will be some other cards that can fill the gaps, but right now this deck isn’t well positioned. That being said, the power of Sinister Hand can’t be underrated, and the ability to take Knock Outs whenever you want on whatever target you want feels really good.

Arcanine

Moving on to the deck that eliminated Dusknoir from the tournament. Arcanine can feel like a weaker version of Stage 1 Rush at times, since its strategy is fairly linear. The thing that Arcanine has that Stage 1 Rush does not is consistency. Turbo Flame from  is probably one of the best attacks in the entire U150 format, and by backing that up with cards like Blacksmith and Max Potion, you’re going to be applying a lot of early-game pressure. There are two really good non-EX Arcanine available right now, so if a third one ever comes out and makes Arcanine obsolete, then this deck might just be the BDIF.

Entei and Raikou LEGEND

Last on the list is a deck that we actually don’t know how to build optimally quite yet. Fire and Lightning together have always been a good combination, as you get access to both Blacksmith and Dynamotor, two of the best acceleration engines in the game. Toss in some cool plays from Rayquaza, and you now have a working skeleton. The thing that makes this deck so amazing is the Thunder Fall attack. It’s basically a way to always threaten a Knock Out on all of your opponent’s support Pokemon. Sometimes you don’t even have to use the attack — just bench the Entei and Raikou LEGEND and watch your opponent try to play around it. There are so many cards to tech into this deck, from Victini to Zoroark, and even Tapu Koko Promo and Raikou. The options are endless. It’s the best option for a “toolbox” deck that focuses on Basic Pokemon.

Conclusion

And there you have it, folks! My first of hopefully many U150 meta articles. In 2018, one of my goals is to get more people to play U150, so if you enjoyed this type of article, please let me know! If you didn’t, telling me what I can do to improve would be a lot of help. Either way, if you start to piece together a deck, it would mean the world to me. I’ll be at a few Regionals this year, so during the down time I’m always willing to beat some people in this awesome format. Don’t be a stranger!

Until next time,

Alex

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  1. fleshrum April in Kalos...
    fleshrum

    Member

    Still the best format I have ever played.
     
    Sal Fontana likes this.
  2. HoundoomsDay93 Aspiring Trainer
    HoundoomsDay93

    Member

    Great article. Love reading about these classic cards ☺️
     
    Sal Fontana likes this.
  3. Craig Collier Aspiring Trainer
    Craig Collier

    Advanced Member Member

    What is the U150 format? Apologies in advanced if that is covered and I missed it.
     
  4. Spyked Aspiring Trainer
    Spyked

    Member

    caring about a fictional format is so comedically dense
     
  5. Spring Sun Warrior Aspiring Trainer
    Spring Sun Warrior

    Member

    what a bummer
     
  6. AFEX Eon Duo Rules!
    AFEX

    Member

    This is like expanded on drugs with 1 count of every card.
     
    supermattdab0ss likes this.