What’s up guys? Chris Collins from the ‘Beach here! This is my first article on the front page, so allow me introduce myself. I currently live in Utah 20 minutes away from Salt Lake City Regionals. I’m a first year Master who started playing on a competitive level late into the 2013 season.
Even though my blood is very young to this game, I do feel very qualified to write for all of you today. I hate to toot my own horn, but to show my credibility, I feel it’s necessary. This year alone, I was able to win, top 2, and top 4 the three States I went to this year, and win three Cities in a row. This let me qualify for the World Championships and I’ve had my invitation for quite a while now. My track record this season is so identical to mine last year, it’s scary.
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Anyways, let’s get to the part of the article you came here for: Crobat from Phantom Forces.
What Makes Crobat Tick?
With the recent banning of Lysandre's Trump Card, decks such as Night March, Raichu, and other decks that rely on low HP Pokemon have been seeing more play. This makes Crobat and its preceding form, Golbat, more powerful going into Nationals, as it can pick up a lot of easy Prizes on these Pokemon, and just be another damage applicator (because who doesn’t like more damage?). Decks such as Donphan have also been receiving quite a bit of hype going into Nationals. Against Donphan, you can just simply snipe their attackers on the Bench with Surprise Bite, Sneaky Bite, and even Skill Dive. Crobat is an amazing Pokemon to attack with since you can slowly but surely snipe their Bench consecutively while they’ll be lucky to three-shot your Crobat due to it being a non-EX Pokemon and having Fighting Resistance. This strategy becomes even better if you run cards such as AZ or Super Scoop Up to heal Crobat!
As an added bonus, Crobat, Golbat, and Zubat (technically) all have free retreat. This is amazing considering that after one of your Pokemon gets Knocked Out, you can send up one of these, and retreat to who you really want to be Active later in the turn. These also make for some of your deck’s best starters.
To sweeten the deal even further, Crobat and Golbat both attack for one Colorless Energy, which is extremely versatile and able fit for any deck. These attacks do snipe the Bench themselves, so you can just hide behind a Golbat or a Crobat in a pinch and hit the target you want. This article will go in depth on all of my favorite variants of Mr. “Too Many Teeth” himself. Many variants of Crobat have seen success themselves, including some of the ones I will show you in this article.
With Crobat’s versatility in partners and its sniping powers to seal KOs, the question to ask is: how deep will Crobat’s fangs go into the competition and which variants will go the farthest?
Latios / Crobat
What better way to start off the article than with the “fastest” of the bunch? As I mentioned earlier in the article, decks such as Night March, Raichu, and other decks that rely on low HP Pokemon have been seeing more play. No deck takes more advantage of this than Latios-EX / Crobat.
Donk decks have been a force in the past (looking at you Sableye), but this deck has an unsung advantage over other donk decks of the past. That is because the current format isn’t expecting such sorcery, what with you not being able to attack on the first turn of the game. As you may already know, Fast Raid bypasses this rule, making donks suddenly possible again. Even though this deck has an ability to donk, you surely can’t rely on just donking to take you deep into a tournament such as Nationals, especially with so many Pokemon-EX lurking about. This deck can easily perform without donking, since you have cards such as M Latios-EX and Crobat to support your mid to late game.
In theory, this deck seems extremely strong and can perform admirably under the clock. The trick is to make it consistent. Here’s a crack at a list I’d bring to Nationals if I were to play the deck:
4x N (NVI #101)
4-3-2 Crobat Line
Most lists you see usually run a 4-4-3, 4-3-3, or even a 4-4-4 Crobat line. The reason I decided on a pyramid line was because of Andrew Jackson (Finalist at Seattle Regionals). He himself ran a 4-3-2 line of Crobat in his Landorus-EX / Crobat deck. To quote him, he says, “my ideal Bench isn’t two Golbat and a Crobat, it’s a Zubat, Golbat, and a Crobat. So that way, when I AZ or Super Scoop Up a Crobat, I can play the entire line back down again.” I have full confidence this was a major contributing factor to his success at Seattle Regionals. Having this unseen consistency over his opponents was able to let him grind out his games and come out on top in a best-of-three.
I feel this message should be portrayed in most Crobat decks with a large amount of “Scoop Up” cards. Not only does this give you an idea of what your ideal boards would be with this deck, but it can also save you space in your lists. You’ll see this as a recurring line in the article as I feel it maximizes consistency, especially with access to “Scoop Up” cards.
3 Target Whistle
This is definitely the outlier card in the list, but this is the main strategy of the deck. Having access to an attack such as Sonic Ace makes cards like Shaymin-EX easy prey. The strategy behind this is that you can Knock Out the same Shaymin-EX time after time. It’s especially useful when you can’t get the OHKO on a Pokemon-EX with Crobats.
Target Whistle also helps a ton in the already good Night March matchup. You can retrieve Joltik or Pumpkaboo, reducing the damage done by Night March. This makes it extremely hard for the Night March player to OHKO Latios-EX, let alone a M Latios-EX.
2 Sky Field
Even though Sky Field is a great card, it seems like there isn’t much use for it here. Usually, I would agree, but there is an interesting mechanic behind this. A strategy that has been seen to counter Target Whistle is to fill your Bench so they can’t play the card. Sky Field seems like the perfect answer to this. By playing your own Sky Field, you are able to expand the size of not just your Bench, but your opponent’s Bench. This opens up Bench space and lets you play Target Whistle as if it didn’t matter.
Sky Field also makes for a great counter Stadium. Since there aren’t any Stadiums Latios-EX itself directly benefits from, this gives you a good option to pop that Virbank City Gym or Fighting Stadium you’d rather not have on the field. This may not be a necessary card in the deck, but having this option to help execute your strategy and also having a counter Stadium make it a versatile card that you definitely see its merit in the deck.
Looking forward to US Nationals, this deck can score a lot of cheap wins from donks and preying on Shaymin-EX. Plus, the deck works great under 50 minutes best-of-three. But to make it to the top tables, I feel this list will have to be modified and have a great pilot behind the ship that is Latios-EX. Maybe Crobat isn’t the right partner for the deck, but having the versatility of taking huge Knock Outs on important Pokemon-EX is a nice advantage this version has over the others.
If I’m not mistaken, what you see below is the “Oh, it’s you! The Chosen One!” speech (unless you’re already subscribed to us :p). Even though it is a rather comforting message, let’s be honest, you’d rather be reading the rest of this article than… that. If you’re reading this article before US Nationals and you’ll be attending, look at the calendar! Get that last-minute information to let you perform your best! With Nationals knocking on the door and us being able to teach the ways of becoming a true Pokemon master, don’t waste anymore time!
This concludes the public portion of this article.
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