The Top 5 Plays for Week 1 of Regionals

BassoonHello Beach readers! My name is JW Kriewall and I am delighted to be here writing for PokeBeach! If you haven’t subscribed to our article program yet, don’t let any more time slip by! Not only will we be writing detailed articles for you each week, but we’ll also be helping you one-on-one with your deck lists and giving you advice! So it’s an amazing service for all types of players who want to improve their game. There’s also a full 30 day money back guarantee, so there’s absolutely no risk to you to try it out. Don’t miss out any longer!

That aside, I wanted to open this article with a personal introduction. I’m currently a graduate of Michigan State University and reside in East Lansing. My majors at MSU were in Music Education and Bassoon Performance and I will be headed to the Cleveland Institute of Music for a Masters Degree in Bassoon in 2015. I couldn’t be more excited about learning from one of the greatest bassoon teachers in the world and continuing my education. Moving to Cleveland will also mean I can still attend a significant number of Pokemon tournaments, which I’m very happy about!

My major accomplishments in this game include 3x Regionals top 8 placements as well as a Regionals win. I have numerous top cuts and wins at Cities and States and too many Battle Road and League Challenge wins to remember. I’ve topped three States and am currently sitting at 340 CP, so I can’t wait to see many of you at Worlds!

Regionals are one of my favorite tournaments; there is something about the high level of competition one must face during the course of one that makes these the tournaments I enjoy the most. It is also such a grind to perform well at a Regional. You may play over nine hours of Pokemon in one day, so players with high concentration are going to perform much better. And players will perform even better if they know what to expect!

The Regionals Format

In this article, I am going to give you my top choices for Week 1 of Regionals. I will be attending the Regional Championships in Ontario, Canada during the first week. Sadly, I won’t be able to attend any Regionals the second week, but I know just how important every tournament is. Many people are overlooking the upcoming Regionals in our current format for three reasons:


  • They aren’t attending these events
  • They would rather get a jump on decks created by the new set
  • This format is boring

Reason 1 is legitimate. Why bother testing this format for no reward? If you’re not testing the current format because you aren’t even going, you’re off the hook in my book!

Reason 2 is silly. These are championship points on the table, players! I do not have the opportunity to attend nearly the amount of tournaments that my fellow PokeBeach writers do, yet still have managed to grind an invite out with plenty of time to spare. I’ve managed to earn my invite despite only attending 15 (!) events because I make every tournament count. There are still two big Regional Championship weekends left without Roaring Skies. We already have such a wealth of information on this current format that it would be a shame to throw that away with so many points still available.

Reason 3 could not be more wrong, but that is truly one man’s opinion. I can see why a person would think this format is boring, with two lock decks controlling the format. It certainly stinks to draw poorly against one of these decks only to be further dismantled when they begin their life-sapping lock and you can’t play half the cards in your deck. But hey, I’ve managed to have some serious success with Night March during this format and if you don’t consider that deck fun, then I don’t think you know how to have fun. :P

In all seriousness, the format is diverse with a wide variety of decks that can win any given tournament. My aim for this article is to give you my top plays for these upcoming Regionals as well as provide the lists I’ve been testing. I will provide the decks in no particular order, as I really am not sure which deck I will be playing this weekend! However, this should give you an idea of a deck choice if you happen to be on the fence about what to play this weekend!


I have loved Donphan since it formally became an archetype. I played it in Ft. Wayne at the beginning of the year to a 5-0-4 record through Swiss which was good enough to secure a spot in top 32! It’s such a solid card, and with all the support that has come out for the deck, Donphan continues to be a threat. It’s biggest weakness in this format is itself. This is truly the deck that can run over a lot of the format with minimal effort, but it needs to get going first.

Pokemon (12)

4x Phanpy (PLS #71)

4x Donphan (PLS #72)

4x Hawlucha (FFI #63)

Trainers (37)

4x Professor Juniper (PLF #116)

4x N (DEX #96)

4x Korrina (FFI #95)

1x Colress (PLS #118)

2x Lysandre (FLF #90)

1x Lysandre's Trump Card (PHF #118)


4x Robo Substitute (PHF #102)

3x VS Seeker (PHF #109)

3x Silver Bangle (PLB #88)

2x Muscle Band (XY #121)

1x Repeat Ball (PRC #136)

1x Escape Rope (PRC #127)

1x Professor's Letter (XY #123)

1x Computer Search (BCR #137)


4x Fighting Stadium (FFI #90)

1x Silent Lab (PRC #140)

Energy (11)

5x Fighting Energy (EX #160)

4x Strong Energy (FFI #104)

2x Double Colorless Energy (BS #96)


This deck list is designed for quick and heavy hitting. Notice the 4 Fighting Stadium, high counts of Muscle Band and Silver Bangle, and the 4 Hawlucha. These cards are crucial to the Seismitoad-EX matchup. Added with Strong Energy, one can easily get a Hawlucha swinging for upwards of 100 damage for one Energy attachment. If you’re able to get out enough Hawluchas with Energy, you can easily overpower a Toad deck which will have to constantly search for Virbank City Gym and Double Colorless Energy if they want to set up.

One card I want to make a particular mention of is Silent Lab. Getting out Silent Lab can increase your odds of winning certain matchups exponentially. Take Virizion-EX/Genesect-EX for example. It is so satisfying to shut down their Red Signal and therefore protect the Donphans that are slowly accumulating energy on the Bench. Silent Lab is also great against things such as Exeggutor and Night March which rely on Abilities like Mew-EX‘s Versatile, Exeggcute‘s Propagation, and Jirachi-EX‘s Stellar Guidance. It is a card that I could see myself increasing in counts were I to expect a significant amount of Virizion/Genesect.

Lastly, a card I’ve omitted that I have seen a lot of decks include is Dedenne. This little cutie can swing for heavy damage against Yveltal-EX based decks, but just hasn’t won me over. If you’re expecting to face Yveltal two or more rounds during Regionals, I’d advise you to play one copy. If not, there are better options!



I just want to say something small about the Donphan mirror matchup. It’s such a close contest the whole way through, but the best players know when to use Robo Substitutes and when to use Hawlucha. So often I see people Spinning Turn into a Robo Substitute without even thinking! When the opponent doesn’t have two Strong Energy and a Muscle Band on their Donphan, there’s no reason not to switch into Hawlucha. Hawlucha in the mirror match can be your greatest asset if you can use him to soak up some of the damage you might otherwise have sacrificed a Robo Substitute for.

Virizion/Genesect – Favorable

Virizion/Genesect has to play a significant amount of techs to beat my list. If they aren’t running any counter Stadium, a single copy of Silent Lab ensures you won’t have to worry about them taking down Benched Donphan. Further, with my high count of Silver Bangle, you can easily two-shot their EX’s without having to worry about getting Fighting Stadium down. Hawlucha are also hard to beat.

Night March – ???

How can you put ??? as a matchup indicator, JW?! Well, before Archie's Ace in the Hole and Empoleon found their way into Night March, the matchup was highly favorable for Donphan. If the Night March player is able to get an early Empoleon, then they are able to stream Lysandre for KOs on your Benched Donphan without much fear of KOs. If the Night March player isn’t playing Empoleon, the matchup is clearly in Donphan’s favor.

Exeggutor – Slightly Unfavorable

This matchup can go a number of different ways, but I’ve found that if Donphan can survive an early onslaught of Hammers, they can pull games out. The biggest strength Donphan has against Eggs is the ability to switch out the main attacker. Since Exeggutor decks usually don’t run Lysandre, it’s possible to build up Donphans on the Bench with a Muscle Band and two Strong Energy. As soon as you can do that, you will be OHKOing Exeggutor and should seal the match, however, that will be difficult to do under Hammer and Supporter lock.

Seismitoad/Yveltal – Unfavorable

This is the matchup you need Dedenne for. Seismitoad is such a Donphan killer and Yveltal is an easy way to get OHKOs on your Donphan. The game plan here is to get out as many Hawlucha as possible and start racking up as much damage as you can on Seismitoad-EXs. If you can take down two Seismitoad with Hawluchas, you might be able to finish the game with Donphan.

Reasons why I would play this deck:

  • Solid overall matchups
  • The deck has early game firepower and late game finishing power
  • Supporter based draw and high counts of Hawlucha make Seismitoad a winnable matchup

Reasons why I wouldn’t play this deck:

  • Can be clunky at times with a high count of supporters
  • Plan on playing long rounds! The deck can take a while to win games
  • Susceptible to Crushing and Enhanced Hammer spam

And now on to the other four top decks!

This concludes the public portion of this article.

If you'd like to continue reading, consider purchasing a PokeBeach premium membership! If you're not completely satisfied with your membership, you can request a full refund within 30 days.

Each week we post high-quality content from some of the game's top players. Our article program isn't a corporate operation, advertising front, or for-profit business. We set our prices so that we can pay the game's top players to write the best content for our subscribers. Each article topic is carefully selected, goes through multiple drafts, and is touched up by our editors. We take great pride in our program!