Hey everyone! This is Treynor Wolfe again with another article for the Subscribers here at PokeBeach. I’ve had an exciting weekend at Nationals, just like the past years. I have to say that every year I go to Nationals, I love Pokemon even more. It sounds impossible, but even when I do poorly I’m always more excited to play more Pokemon after Nationals. Planning for Nationals is always stressful, but when I’m there I always enjoy my time bonding with my friends, and the Nebraska crew had a great time, even though we didn’t do as well as we had hoped in the main event.
I played Empoleon / Dusknoir / Miltank in the main event. Overall, I didn’t feel bad about my deck choice at all. It had solid matchups with a lot of the decks that did well at foreign Nationals, and I did test it quite a bit, but I found out at the main event that it suffers against decks that heal. I will talk about my list and my matchups, and expand on a few mistakes I made in my preparation for Nationals.
Aside from that, the main focus of this article is draw-pass / stall decks. Mainly the ingenious Wailord-EX deck that has the entire Pokemon community bubbling. I want to talk about the deck’s strategy, strengths and weaknesses, a bit about the final match between Jason Klaczynski and Enrique Avila, the argument about the morals of the deck, how to beat it with conventional decks, techs that may help against it, and whether or not it will be a solid choice at the World Championships.
Even though Nationals is over, now is a good time to curb your “Post-Nats Depression” by reading all of our thoughts for Worlds. Our writers are some of the best players out there! Three of our writers, Grant Manley, Chris Collins, and Kyle Haverland all have Day One byes for Worlds after this weekend, and Grant even made top four at Nationals with his Manectric-EX deck! See my thoughts and theirs’ by reading our Premium Articles, which you can only get full access to with a PokeBeach Premium Subscription. You will also gain access to all of our writers in the Subscribers Secret Hideout, where you can ask us any questions you might have or simply have us touch up your deck list. Sign up now to access all this great content and so much more!
Thoughts on Nationals and Preparing for a Tournament
Prior to Nationals, I thought a lot about what would be the most popular deck. We talked a bit about it on BeachCast, PokeBeach’s TCG Podcast. I normally don’t like to counter-deck the metagame – it’s just not my style of play – but I don’t want to play mirror matches all day, so I tend to select a deck that has a great game plan, and doesn’t have terrible matchups against the best decks in the format.
Even after the tournament I don’t think that Empoleon / Dusknoir / Miltank was a bad play. It did well last year when Ishaan Jagiasi piloted it to a Senior division first place finish last year. I figured even though Tropical Beach and Level Ball are gone, Shaymin-EX and Sky Field are solid replacements. The deck got Empoleons out incredibly consistent in testing. I even beat Night March pretty often, which told me that this deck could play against the fastest decks in the format.
Here’s the list I used at Nationals.
4x N (NVI #92)
It has a solid matchup against Landorus-EX, but I admit that I did not test that matchup very well. I figured as long as I avoided Manectric-EX all day, I’d be fine. I beat Seismitoad-EX / Crobat 70 percent of the time in testing, and I tested primarily against this deck to see if it could set up well under Item lock, which it did. So what was the problem?
When I played against Kyle Warden in round two of Nationals (I had a round one bye), I figured I had a good matchup. Kyle took game one by using Lysandre to pull up my Dusknoir when I was out of switch cards and couldn’t attach three Energy to Dusknoir. Then he used Crobat’s Skill Dive to attack my Bench. I scooped pretty quickly when I saw that.
In game two, Kyle used Lucario-EX to great effect and consistently healed it with AZ and Super Scoop Up. I then realized a huge weak point in the deck, that if I had tested enough, I would have realized. This deck has a hard time against decks that heal. This was further evident when I lost to Fairybox in round five, after which I dropped from the tournament.
What I learned is that I should even test the perceived auto-win matchups. It’s something you’d think I would know by now, but I always try to focus my testing time to master 50 / 50 matchups and bad matchups. Initially when you think about your deck and your matchups, what if your perception is flawed? Maybe that matchup isn’t an easy win. Most of us that played Empoleon were surprised I lost to Landorus-EX / Bats, but then again, none of us really tested against it.
This isn’t a mistake I will make in preparation for Worlds, that’s for sure! So long story short, test every matchup! Your perception of a matchup may not actually be that way. This is something you need to consider when making your deck choice.
Onto the main topic of the article! Here I will discuss everything there is to know about the Wailord-EX / Suicune deck that took second and ninth place at U.S. Nationals, including how the deck works, what each card’s purpose is, how to play it, strategies and decks that beat it, my thoughts on the deck, and if I expect it to see play at Worlds. A lot of players have no idea how this deck works, but after reading this article, you’ll be completely prepared to beat or play this deck going into the World Championships, or any similar deck that comes up in the future.
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!