Hey all! I’m back! Some of you might recognize me from my article on Trump Card being banned (No? Nobody? Okay…). With all the craziness that was going on, I didn’t get the opportunity to properly introduce myself! Rude of me, I know, but let me make it up to you here. As I’m sure you’ve already seen, my name is Christina Pendergrast. I’m from Atlanta, Georgia and I’ve basically grown up with the Pokemon community. As you’re about to see, one of my favorite things to do in the Pokemon TCG is to make decks from new cards! I love the openness a new set can bring. Before we get into that, however, I promised to let you know a bit about me, so here it goes!
I started playing eight years ago, but only truly started playing competitively during the SP era. My first actual competitive deck was VileGar (Vileplume / Gengar) with which I made my competitive debut at a nice, small tournament. It got my feet wet and helped me come to understand competitive tournament structure. That is to say, I showed up to the ever-massive Georgia Regionals with a paper theme deck mat, a Ziploc bag full of cardboard damage counters, a quarter, and way too much confidence.
At the end of the day, I had made so many new friends! That was the point of this story: you don’t remember the tournament, or your record, or much else years down the road (maybe a final standing if it mattered enough), but I can still name each and every friend I made that day, and still play the game with some of them! This game is about community, which is why sites like this one exist: to connect and share. Share ideas, stories, and, obviously, deck lists!
Speaking of which, I’ll now move on to what you really care about, deck lists! I have carefully crafted (er, well, wrote) not one, not two, but three different deck lists for the next Standard format (XY-On). These lists have one more thing in common, as some of you savvy super-sleuths might have deduced from the title: they’re all based around cards from our upcoming set, Ancient Origins. I chose my three favorite decks so far to share with you today.
Just in case there are some of you out there who haven’t completely memorized all of the cards from Ancient Origins, you can find all the cards/translations here, provided by PokeBeach’s very own wonderful translators.
So, without further ado, let’s begin!
Vespiquen / Eevelutions / Unown
4x Combee (AO)
4x Unown (AO)
2x Flareon (AO)
2x Jolteon (AO)
3x Eevee (AO)
The deck itself revolves around aggressively throwing Pokemon into the discard pile as quickly as possible in order to power up Vespiquen’s Bee Revenge, which does 20 plus 10 damage for every Pokemon in the discard. Sound familiar? The idea is something we’ve seen before with the Flareon decks made popular over the last season, but instead of Exeggcute to throw away, Vespiquen has some new toys to play with.
Unown (Ancient Origins)
Ability: Last Will
Once during your turn, if this Pokemon is on your Bench, you may discard this Pokemon and all cards attached to it. (This doesn’t count as a Knocked Out Pokemon.) Then, draw a card.
[C] Hidden Power: 10 damage.
Weakness: Psychic (x2)
Unown is what really makes the deck shine. It provides a way to boost Vespiquen’s damage output while also providing draw-power, easily making it one of the best cards in the deck. Plus, it’s searchable by Level Ball! What’s not to love?
Ability: Flare Effect
As long as this Pokemon is in play, all of your Stage 1 Pokemon are [R] as well as their original type.
[R][C][C] Heat Breath: 60+ damage. Flip a coin. If heads, this attack does 20 more damage.
Weakness: Water (x2)
Ability: Electric Effect
As long as this Pokemon is in play, all of your Stage 1 Pokemon are [L] as well as their original type.
[L][C][C] Thunder Blast: 80 damage. Discard 1 Energy attached to this Pokemon.
Weakness: Fighting (x2)
Resistance: Metal (-20)
Jolteon and Flareon provide type coverage for Vespiquen. They are totally matchup dependent; however, they are useful in any matchup, because if you don’t need them, you can throw them into the discard pile to allow Vespiquen to do more damage.
I included Flareon because it covers more, between M Sceptile-EX’s Weakness, Metal’s Weakness, and even allows Vespiquen to hit for Weakness in the mirror. Flareon is certainly pulling his own weight. However, Jolteon is by no means useless, providing Weakness coverage not only for the fearsome M Rayquaza-EX, but also for the new Lugia-EX from Ancient Origins. Both can be game changers in certain matchups, especially since Vespiquen can have a hard time OHKO’ing Mega Pokemon like the upcoming M Sceptile-EX or Colorless M Rayquaza-EX.
Giant Plant Forest (Ancient Origins)
Each player’s [G] Pokemon can Evolve during the first turn and on the turn they were put into play.
This card stays in play when you play it. Discard this card if another Stadium card comes into play. If another card with the same name is in play, you can’t play this card.
Now, I realize that Vespiquen as a first turn burst deck is an appealing thought, but there is another, equally important reason for including our new pseudo-Broken Time-Space: Combee. Baby Vespiquen is nothing short of a 90 pound weakling with 40 HP, and, unlike it’s evolved form, a Retreat Cost. Gross. We definitely don’t want him hanging around too long, and comebacks can be difficult if you have to rely on your opponent giving you a turn to evolve the baby.
Other Tech Options
Lugia-EX (Ancient Origins)
Lugia-EX can provide a nice secondary attacker for the deck, especially since it takes advantage of the already-present Double Colorless Energy. I personally chose not to include it because I liked having more of a focus on Vespiquen, but it is certainly a viable option in the build. I would recommend its addition in the case of a meta heavy with attackers such as Primal Groudon-EX or M Tyranitar-EX (Ancient Origins) that require large amounts of Energy and have a lot of HP that might be hard for Vespiquen to deal with.
Energy Evolution Eevee (FFI) and Basic Energy
Some may wonder why I didn’t include these in the original list. Eevee allows for the quick search and Evolution into either of the support Eeveelutions mentioned above after the attachment of a basic Energy. The presence of basic Energy allows for powering up of Vespiquen apart from the four copies of Double Colorless Energy and circumventing annoyances such as Aegislash-EX. Also, one might choose to run extra attackers that are those types. All in all, I chose not to include them because the space required slowed the deck down too much for my liking; however, some people are just more comfortable with basic Energy, and I want to help players of every play-style.
- Fast, aggressive, powerful
- Non-EX main attacker
- Abuses Level Ball
- Dependent on Items
- Has trouble hitting larger numbers
- Relies on Double Colorless Energy
So, to wrap up our discussion of Queen Bee, she’s basically a next-gen Flareon with better search support and more versatility. However, through testing it has been made clear that Vileplume (Ancient Origins) can seriously ruin its day if it gets into play too quickly. As such, Hex Maniac (Ancient Origins) is here to help alleviate some of the pain. You can also Lysandre Vileplume for the KO. One other difficulty the deck has is consistently hitting for enough damage on Mega Pokemon without Weakness, but trading two for two Prizes can work out if you can get ahead.
M Sceptile-EX / Giratina-EX
Next, we have a nice little combo, or Synthesis Synergy if you will (hang on folks, the puns are just getting started). M Sceptile-EX is a powerful new asset to the game, providing Energy acceleration and healing while doing a not-too-shabby 100 damage, all for just two Energy!
Now, his partner in crime is a bit of a “renegade,” but still a force to be reckoned with. Giratina-EX couldn’t care less about your opponent’s Mega Pokemon, as its Ability protects it from all effects of attacks, including damage, from that rowdy bunch. Giratina also thinks that all of those Special Energy, Tool, and Stadium cards aren’t necessary, thank you very much. Along with restricting what cards your opponent can play, Giratina also deals 100 damage.
The strategy with this dynamic duo is fairly straightforward, using M Sceptile-EX to deal quick damage and accelerate Energy to Giratina-EX, who can pick up KOs while locking the opponent.
Lugia-EX (Ancient Origins)
[C][C] Aero Ball: 20x damage. Does 20 damage times the number of Energy attached to this Pokemon and the Defending Pokemon.
[C][C][C][C] Deep Hurricane: 80+ damage. If there is any Stadium card in play, this attack does 70 more damage. Discard that Stadium card.
When a Pokemon-EX has been Knocked Out, your opponent takes 2 Prize cards.
Weakness: Lightning (x2)
Resistance: Fighting (-20)
A powerful addition to the deck, Lugia-EX can provide a massive damage output after getting loaded up with Energy by our favorite walking Christmas Tree, M Sceptile. Both Sceptile and Giratina deal a decent amount of damage, but sometimes you just need a giant beat-stick; such times call for Lugia.
Hoopa-EX (Ancient Origins)
Ability: Bandit Ring
Once during your turn (before your attack), when you play this Pokemon from your hand onto your Bench, you may use this Ability. Search your deck for up to 3 Pokemon-EX (excluding Hoopa-EX), show them to your opponent, and put them into your hand. Shuffle your deck afterward.
[P][P][P] Hyperspace Fury: Discard 2 Energy attached to this Pokemon. Choose 1 of your opponent’s Pokemon. This attack does 100 damage to that Pokemon. (Don’t apply Weakness and Resistance for Benched Pokemon.)
When a Pokemon-EX has been Knocked Out, your opponent takes 2 Prize cards.
Weakness: Psychic (x2)
This card is flat-out fantastic. Being able to grab any three Pokemon in the deck? Yes please! Instead of deciding on whether to Ultra Ball for a Mega Sceptile or a Shaymin-EX, just go get Hoopa, because why not both? There’s no Shaym-in-it. Aaagh. Okay, I’m done with the puns. Promise.
Other Tech Options
Ariados – Grass – HP70
Stage 1 – Evolves from Spinarak
Ability: Poison Nest
Once during your turn (before your attack), you may use this Ability. Both Active Pokemon are now Poisoned. (Excluding [G] Pokemon.)
[G][C] Corner: 30 damage. Your opponent’s Active Pokemon can’t retreat during your opponent’s next turn.
Weakness: Fire (x2)
Poisoning your opponent’s Active Pokemon with Ariados can provide the necessary damage to hit the good, 2HKO numbers on Mega Pokemon. However, Ariados is a Stage 1, and since this build isn’t running Giant Plant Forest, you need to wait a turn before setting it up. Also, like any Evolution line, it’s going to take up space. However, it could definitely be a good addition for those looking for a more aggressive build of the deck.
Now, this isn’t as much of a “tech” as it is a play-style choice, but I felt I should include it here. In this deck, I included three Professor Birch's Observations over three Shauna. “Now Christina, that card says I have to flip a coin. Coin flips are bad. Why would you ever run Birch, risking having to draw only four cards, over Shauna, a nice, safe five cards?” Well, you annoying figment of my imagination, first of all, Birch has a Full Art, so my deck can have more bling than yours. Secondly, and probably more importantly (though bling is certainly important) is the fact that, on average, Birch will net you more cards. I chose Birch for this deck knowing that it is a risk, but I felt that the deck needed that extra something with its setup. A turn two M Sceptile-EX is important, as is attacking ASAP. If that coin flip is just too much for you, you’re more than welcome to switch to Shauna. I won’t know. I probably won’t even find out, and if I do I’ll probably only be slightly disappointed. Probably.
- Quick damage
- Locking capability
- Heals like Wolverine
- Limited damage output
- Giratina is slow
- OHKOs set you back turns
In my opinion, this deck is a refreshing, unique take on the game. It combines healing, power, and locking into a jack-of-all-trades style deck that can have a play-style as flexible as its player is creative. The deck has a durability to it that makes it special, between Giratina blocking Mega Pokemon and Sceptile healing damage, this deck certainly isn’t one to be taken lightly. However, you should worry about matchups like Vespiquen, where a non-EX can KO Giratina one for one, dominating the Prize exchange. The deck will probably end up being a meta call, and a powerful one, at the right time.
M Tyranitar-EX / Bats
Now to our last, but certainly not least, deck of the day! Coming in at a massive 240 HP, this Pokemon’s equally as massive damage output has certainly earned it the title of Destroyer King; the one, the only, M Tyranitar-EX! This Pokémon is absolutely terrifying, dealing 110 damage plus 60 more for each damage counter on the Defending Pokemon! So, if a Pokemon were to, say, have 20 damage already on it, the Destroyer King would deal 230 to that Pokemon. Wow! If only there were some way to easily deal 20 damage to a Pokemon without attacking… Oh, right.
Now, some of you might be thinking: “Look, the card does damage. But four Energy? Even with DCE, that’s a lot to ask.” Yes, imaginary reader of mine, it is a lot, which is why we have wonderful cards like Yveltal and Mega Turbo. Ain’t life swell?
Aside from being possibly the hardest Pokemon name to spell, Yveltal bears the honor of being a perfect opener for this deck. Attacking for a single Darkness Energy, it helps you both set up a Tyranitar and prepare the Defending Pokemon for a devastating 290 damage attack from the Destroyer King. Plus, being a non-EX, Yveltal can throw a wrench in your opponent’s Prize-trading plans.
Why bother with Crobat? Why not just run a 4-4 Golbat and be done with it? Well, I would first like to direct you to the people who have likely already commented about Hard Charm‘d Wailord-EXs not dying to a Destroyer King with two damage counters, which I’m sure there are plenty of. Second, it is nice to have the option to do more damage. Also, it is easier to build off of an already in-play Golbat than it is to waste a turn with evolving a Zubat. That way, you can get 2HKOs in two turns off the same Pokemon, in a way.
With great power comes great Energy cost. It’s hard enough to power up one M Tyranitar; why not make the next one easier? Plus, with M Tyranitar’s θ Double Ancient Trait, you don’t have to forgo the Spirit Link to get the Exp. Share.
No Bad (Dangerous) Energy?
Other Tech Options
Lucky Helmet (Ancient Origins)
Pokemon Tool: Attach a Pokemon Tool to 1 of your Pokemon that doesn’t already have a Pokemon Tool attached to it.
When the Pokemon this card is attached to is your Active Pokemon and is damaged by an opponent’s attack, draw two cards.
You may play as many Item cards as you like during your turn (before your attack).
If you can attach two Tools, why not play one that allows you to draw more cards? Lucky Helmet would be a solid addition for those looking for added draw-power, and M Tyranitar-EX is sure able to take a few hits, hence be able to draw a few cards. However, I felt that Exp. Share was more important considering the large Energy investment required. However, there’s no reason you couldn’t splash a few Helmets in if you really wanted to!
Yveltal-EX is a solid attacker that could certainly bring some less-expensive oomph to the deck. I’ve been trying Yveltal-EX in here, and I can’t quite decide if it’s worth the space. M Tyranitar-EX should easily OHKO most things, so I’m not sure if it’s a necessary addition. However, having a good, cheaper attacker is not a bad idea. So, honestly, it’s your call.
- You destroy literally everything
- Massive HP
- Access to Energy acceleration via Yveltal
- You get to say “Destroyer King!”
- A bit on the slow side
- Requires a large Energy investment
- Fighting decks hit for Weakness
This deck is crazy strong, however, you will need to work to power it up before you can go on a rampage. Yveltal can help with that. The Crobat line is your biggest asset, but also your biggest weakness: if your Zubats get KO’d, you’re stuck with a lousy four Energy for 110 attack. The large Energy investment means you can fall behind, but Exp. Share helps alleviate the problem. All in all, the deck is amazingly powerful and scary to behold, but it is certainly a different deck than the “blow-it-up-quick” decks we see in the current format; more like a “totally destroy it at a slightly slower pace” kinda deal.
I hope you all enjoyed these decks! I chose my three favorite decks out of testing, but there are certainly loads more of them to choose from. One thing I want to go over before I wrap this article up is the lack of a prominent card: Vileplume. Simply put, I just couldn’t find a Vileplume deck I liked. Most cards do better when they can play Items. I’m sure that we will get a card very soon that will pair well with our favorite Item-locking, petal-waving Bench-sitter, but for now, I just don’t feel like it’s playable yet.
On another note, we saw the use of XY-On Supporter cards. To tell you the truth, it was a bit difficult to figure it out at first! As I mentioned earlier, one can interchange Shauna and Professor Birch's Observations depending on how comfortable you are with the idea of flipping a coin; however, statistically speaking, Birch draws more cards on average.
Hex Maniac (Ancient Origins) is amazing. It prevents Abilities, and in doing so can get out of some Item locks, get over walls like Aegislash-EX or Giratina-EX, and can even stop your opponent from drawing with cards like Shaymin-EX or Unown (Ancient Origins).
XY-On is going to be different. Really different! But the best we can hope for is that the game keeps changing, right? It’s when we don’t have any real change to look forward to that we should start worrying, so I, for one, am excited. With that, I’m going to go ahead and wrap this baby up. Have any thoughts? Any more deck ideas? Let me know in the comments; I love hearing from you guys!
Until next time, this is Christina Pendergrast, signing off.