Hello, everyone! I’m Luis F. López, finally back with another article for the site. I really appreciate all the comments and support both from the PokeBeach Staff and members alike! So, before going into any details, those of you who know me either in real life or around the forums, I’m a fan of non-meta decks. One of the reasons being that the metagame here in Costa Rica varies a lot from other ones since two players rarely play the same deck, and we often like to use something different to what everyone else does. Another reason is because the player base across the whole country is around 50 players, with only about 23 that are considered active and are constantly taking part in sanctioned tournaments. But also, and perhaps the main reason, is that I love to use crazy decks that either nobody plays because they’re too bad, or things that people didn’t even think about, which you might have already seen from my previous article about M Gallade-EX. A few decks I remember playing were Pyroar / Seismitoad-EX / Forretress, back when Beartic was good because Pyroar was too; and more recently a Bibarel / Mew-EX / Victini deck that was goofy enough to actually work. However, the decks I’m here to talk about are way more competitive and are the ones I’ve been testing the most, and with some pretty good results. I’m also going to talk a bit about a recent sanctioned tournament I attended with one of the following decks, in a small tournament report.
Mew-EX / Shedinja
This is a deck that a lot of people have been testing with and has shown a lot of success, basically because its strategy is fairly straightforward and is relatively easy to set up. Before we move on to discuss the deck, let’s look at a list:
Free spots – 4
This deck’s focus is to inflict yourself damage in order to maximize Hopeless Scream’s power, but doing so with Mew-EX in order to do so reliably, since poor Shedinja only has 30HP. The cards we’re using to damage ourselves are Frozen City and Rainbow Energy. After attaching a Rainbow Energy with Frozen City in play, you’re already hitting for 150 with Hopeless Scream, a Muscle Band away from OHKO’ing most Basic Pokemon and every non-EX in the format (excluding Training Center shenanigans and Mega Evolutions)! Also, the versatility this deck brings is lovely, because playing Rainbow Energy lets you use practically any attack in the field if you need to, and I included a single copy of Dimension Valley just to take advantage of this. However, another route you might want to take is to use Team Magma's Secret Base in order to get up to five damage counters in one turn. If you have the Stadium since the beginning of your turn, you can put down a Mew-EX and receive two damage counters, then replace the Stadium with Frozen City and attach a Rainbow Energy to Mew to achieve 50 damage, resulting in potentially 270 damage with Hopeless Scream, which OHKOs everything in the format, including that pesky Wailord-EX! The Team Magma’s Secret Base can come in very handy when dealing with Mega Evolutions. And one of the things I like the most of the deck is the fact that if you have a Frozen City in play and attach a basic Grass Energy to a Shedinja, you OHKO a Seismitoad-EX without the risk of leaving a Mew-EX in the Active spot. Trevenant-EX is there to have a backup attacker or even as a good starter, and Virizion-EX to prevent Special Conditions from affecting our Pokemon.
This deck’s basic focus is already covered, and I’ve tested a lot of different combinations to fill in those four missing spots. Here’s some cards that might help you out and can give you an edge depending on your local metagame:
2-2 Floette FLF
This card might sound like too much of a setup to get going, and you’re probably right. However, if you’re afraid your poor 30 HP Shedinja is going to get KO’d by anything that does the lamest snipe damage, or even have a lot of Crobat decks in your area, you might want to try Floette. With this card, your Shedinja won’t be as fragile as before, giving you a bit more of a fighting chance against things like Landorus-EX or Manectric-EX.
With the recent ban of Lysandre's Trump Card, discarding Special Energy is even more dreadful than before, as fellow PokeBeach writer Treynor Wolfe stated extensively in one of his most recent articles; and it’s really easy to do so with Enhanced Hammer. With no way to recover Special Energy except by crazy things like Bunnelby or Milotic, you can ensure Special Energy are gone once they hit the discard pile. This is something that doesn’t benefit this particular deck, but I can already see most decks, if not all, running at least one of them.
Sometimes when testing, I could see myself having a lot of dead draws or missing a single Trainer that could give me a win or a crucial KO. With Trainers' Mail, you have the chance to look a bit further into your deck for that final piece of the puzzle that this deck certainly is. Its added consistency is amazing, as a lot of other decks have proven.
Let’s be honest here, more than one Shedinja can, and will, die as the battle goes on. That’s certain, given the low HP it has. Sacred Ash can give you a recycling option if you lose too many of them, or if you had to play an awful Professor Sycamore discarding a lot of Pokemon.
Wally is a nice tech if you want to attack turn one and can’t copy any other attack in the field for whatever reason that is. It can even be useful against Seismitoad-EX to KO it when under Item lock. It’s a nice thing to have for sure, and it never hurts to have it.
Is this a competitive, tier one deck? Definitely not, that I can assure you. However, it’s a rather fun deck to play with and it’s a nice gimmicky attack that’s not difficult to pull off (unlike something like Cradily‘s Lifesplosion), so I’d say that if you have the chance to build this deck at least for Leagues, go ahead and do it!
Aegislash-EX / Klinklang
Aegislash-EX has always been a force to be reckoned with. As the modern re-incarnation of Scizor Prime, Aegislash now stands in a format where practically every deck that’s viable relies on Special Energy, or at least has them in their deck. However, we can take Aegislash’s damage denial a step further with an old favorite. Let’s take a look at a list.
This deck’s main skeleton was built by my friend Joshua S. (who I played in the tournament I’ll talk to later), who has quite a lot of experience when it comes to Metal decks, We were talking about some popular decks that we’ve heard of and we came to the conclusion that this particular deck might work pretty well, so he decided to give it a shot and we worked on the list. The results were both hilarious and impressive, since more often than not the opponents were unable to attack at all! If set up properly, this deck can be devastating and can be a greater wall than Wailord-EX is (Wall-ord? Get it?). Actually, Dylan Bryan managed to get top 8 at the U.S. National Championship using a deck with a focus really similar to this one, so you know this deck can really make a good performance. There are quite a lot of decks that will be stalled for a while waiting to charge any non-EX attacker with basic Energy, such as:
- Colorless M Rayquaza-EX relies on Double Colorless Energy to pull off attacks faster, and the few non-EX attackers it runs are too fragile to waste two plus turns attaching to.
- Dragon M Rayquaza-EX, which often uses Double Dragon Energy to cover its single Lightning Energy cost or play only a single basic Lightning; and Reshiram isn’t the most ideal attacker even if it’s loaded manually.
- Night March, Flareon, and Raichu decks runs very few basic Energy cards, since they attack with Double Colorless Energy, and Night March also bases mostly in Mew-EX.
- Seismitoad-EX decks run almost no basic Energy at all, and the other Pokemon in those decks are either EXs, like Yveltal-EX or Manectric-EX, or support Pokemon that still can’t handle Aegislash, such as Slurpuff, Crawdaunt or Crobat, with the latest being the only one that can have a chance IF it runs any basic Energy and dares to 5HKO it (not counting other Bat’s damage).
- Primal Groudon-EX decks often use Strong Energy to boost damage, and the only non-EX attacker that’s worth something in this matchup is Hawlucha, since Landorus would deal damage way too slow. And still, even if the opponent sends in a Hawlucha, it would be OHKO’d immediately.
This deck definitely has potential as a somewhat competitive alternative to the main decks currently around, and only things borderline playable like Wobbuffet / Crobat can have a chance against this sort of deck. Will it be any good as a tier two deck, at least? Doubtful, because it really struggles to set up properly fast enough to avoid everything. But if you’re looking for a hard counter for the current metagame, this could be your deck of choice.
Reshiram / Crobat
Both this deck and the next one are the ones I believe are the more competitive of the four. At first, Reshiram was a card highly used because of its sheer power, coupled with things like Emboar and Typhlosion Prime. You could simply attach to Reshiram and unleash 120 damage of fiery flames, and Outrage is a great attack even to this day. However, with more and more Pokemon-EX and, furthermore, Mega Evolutions being released in the last years, Reshiram’s damage output just wasn’t enough. However, on one of my crazy theory nights before the Lavaridge Gym League Season began, I came across my old Reshirams while looking for Emboar. I tested for a couple hours, and before giving up, I tried something just for fun, but it turned out to be fairly viable:
This deck is crazy enough that it works quite well! The basics of the deck is to hit hard with Reshiram, who can deal 140 with a Muscle Banded Blue Flare. From there, you use Golbat and Crobat to take those numbers to the 170-180 you need to OHKO a Pokemon-EX, and repeat with the Super Scoop Ups. The deck has the sheer power Reshiram gives and the added bonus from the Bats’ Bites, plus the pivot the free retreat gives when you get KO’d or your opponent plays an Escape Rope.
Now, how does this deck does currently in the metagame? I’d have to say not that great. Needless to say, this is an auto-loss to Seismitoad-EX decks, mostly because of the Water Weakness. Also, the last couple of months gave this deck a hard time with the rise of Mega Evolutions, mostly both Mega Rayquazas: one rolls it over and another one resists it. The deck does well against a Metal-heavy metagame or one with a lot of Landorus-EX based decks; the damage they deal isn’t going to be enough to OHKO a Reshiram on most cases, so a big Outrage can 2HKO, or even OHKO with enough luck. I don’t really recommend to play this deck if you know your metagame is highly competitive, but if you want to have some fun or all you ever see are M Aggron-EX or Dialga-EX decks, this might be for you.
Seismitoad-EX / Manectric-EX / Garbodor / Drifblim
This could be the most competitive deck out of the ones I discuss in this article. From the last U.S. Nationals, we saw that Manectric-EX proved to be a great partner for Seismitoad-EX because of the coverage it gave against M Rayquaza-EX and Bronzong decks. And don’t forget the disruption can go past the Item lock by playing Garbodor to cancel the opponent’s Abilities. But I felt the deck could go a step further, so there’s where our forgotten Balloon buddy comes in.
I can’t say how much of a joy I had when I found Drifblim going through my binder. I remember when I once played a Flareon / Stage 1’s deck a year ago with Drifblim and it saved me more than once. Now, with the great amount of Dragon-type decks that could abuse Double Dragon Energy, a lot of decks with Double Colorless Energy, and even the Fighting decks with Strong Energy, Drifblim could have a great time as a late game sweeper or as a surprise attacker. During playtesting, I found myself hitting for 170-220 really often thanks to the heavy Energy disruption this deck has. We all know that Seismitoad-EX‘s Item lock combined with Garbodor‘s Ability is a great combination, especially with Jason Klaczynski taking first place piloting a deck focused on them, and it’s what really makes the deck shine. Another thing I wanted to maximize was consistency, and as you can see, the deck has really thick lines of Trainers. This ensured me I could have a Hypnotoxic Laser, Muscle Band, or Crushing Hammer every time I needed one. And speaking of Hammers, the heavy Crushing Hammer line really helps out, since you can potentially leave your opponent without any Energy in play almost indefinitely. And the Silent Lab really helps out with decks that have a lot of support from Basics, like M Rayquaza-EX that needs Reshiram‘s Turboblaze and Hydreigon-EX‘s Dragon Road to function properly. And if you ever need to hit something big for the game, or a revenge KO after a Toad goes down, there’s where Drifblim comes in, hitting for a lot of damage thanks to the Energy disruption.
From recent U.S. Nationals, we saw that in all three age divisions, four decks were a Seismitoad-EX / Manectric-EX variant. It’s rather surprising that one of those are in the Masters division, though, especially since the winner of the whole Championship was a Seismitoad-EX deck. However, seeing that many Toad / Manectric decks did so well in a big tournament like U.S. Nationals can give you a nice idea of how good the deck is. If you happen to play this deck, add Drifblim if you’d like to have some fun. I definitely did in the tournament I played!
Grassroots Tournament Report
Our local league likes to run a sanctioned tournament every month or two in preparation for when we get League Challenges in our country, and these tournaments are the most competitive and hyped our community attends, with people coming from over 100km to attend (with Costa Rica being a small country, that distance is considered long), and it was to be run July 19th in the Expanded format. Most of us couldn’t see benefits for decks other than Dark with the addition of Dark Patch, so most of us played roughly Standard decks with slight modifications (like changing a Startling Megaphone for a Tool Scrapper). The attendance was quite standard for our zone, with 12 players playing in a single age division (just two Seniors that have always played at our level), and was four rounds long. I decided to play Seismitoad-EX because it was the deck I had the most confidence with and I knew how to play almost perfectly, when my other choices were Night March, M Gallade-EX, or M Manectric-EX, and I couldn’t feel comfortable playing any of those. So without further ado, let’s go into the rounds.
Round 1 – Pablo R. w/ Dragon M Rayquaza-EX: WW
I almost felt bad for him the moment we got paired up, since the time I tested the deck with him it didn’t go quite well for poor Ray. First game he went first, I begin with a Drifloon and a Shaymin-EX as my only Basics, so I open with Drifloon; while he opened with a Reshiram and placed a Rayquaza-EX on the Bench. He played another Reshiram, benched a Hydreigon-EX and loaded a Rayquaza with a Fire from Turbo Blaze and a Double Dragon Energy. Once in my turn, I was lucky enough to draw a Float Stone off the top of my deck and I attach it to the Balloon, I Enhanced Hammer away his DDE and a Crushing Hammer heads gets rid of the Fire Energy before I Set Up, draw the Seismitoad and promote it to the Active spot. I attach a Muscle Band to the Active Seismitoad-EX, Professor Sycamore for the Double Colorless Energy, a Head Ringer goes into the same Rayquaza and attach a Float Stone to a Trubbish I bench before I Quaking Punch for 50. My opponent does barely nothing the next turn and passes, and I proceed to evolve to Garbodor for a full lock to his deck, and eventually win. A hilarious turn of events was when I used Hypnotoxic Laser, his M-Ray fell Asleep, didn’t wake up for four turns and when he woke up going into my turn, I HTL again and a heads sent the Dragon back to bed.
Game two he begins as well and starts the same, while I started Toad with a Trubbish and a Drifloon in the Bench. He gets a turn quite similar to the one in the first game, except he played a Fire as his turn attachment instead of a DDE before he passed. On my turn, I attach a DCE to the Toad, a Band, and N to get more cards, and I find the Float Stone for the Trubbish. The lock went on smoothly since I had my sole Silent Lab in play, but in a great turn from him he replaced the Stadium with a Scorched Earth, Lysandre‘d my Garbodor and KO’d it with Rayquaza’s Dragon Strike and got himself out of the Ability lock for the rest of the game. I still went and Enhanced Hammered away a DDE he had in the Active, Poison him and Quaking Punch, but he got the chance to attach a DDE to a Benched Rayquaza and evolved the Active for the turn. I however, see the opportunity of a lifetime by Switching to Drifblim, Hammer away the DDE he had in play, attached a Lightning to Drifblim and hit a 120 Shadow Steal. He promoted the other Rayquaza and Mega Evolved once again, but I had a Lysandre in hand to bring up his Jirachi-EX and take my final two Prizes and the game. I do want to note that I was Pablo’s only loss, and he came in 3rd in the end of the tourney by overcoming a difficult mirror match, so congrats!
Round 2 – Alonso C. w/ Yveltal-EX / Seismitoad-EX / Garbodor: LL
I was playing next to him my previous round, so I knew immediately that Garbodor would be useless in this match. First game he opens with a Seismitoad-EX and an Yveltal-EX, while I start with a lone Manectric-EX. He attached a Double Colorless Energy and a Muscle Band to the Toad, benched a Darkrai-EX, placed a Head Ringer on my Manectric, and passed, while my hand was quite dead. A Crushing Hammer that I missed, a DCE to Manectric and I N hoping to find another Basic and what I get is a Trubbish. I bench it and hit both the Active and an Yveltal-EX I placed a Head Ringer on. From there, things get really nasty, since he proceeded to lock me with his own Toad. It came a time where I had 11 cards in my hand… and nine were Items. By the time I managed to KO his Toad he is already on top of me and, with Dark Patch at his disposal, managed to set up two Yveltal-EX, and a Darkrai-EX was on its way as well, so I concede and move on to game two.
Game two I begin with a lone Drifloon, but with a Float Stone in hand, and he opens with a Seismitoad in the front and an Yveltal-EX on the Bench. On my first turn I immediately Ultra Ball for Seismitoad and attach a DCE and Muscle Band I had in hand, then Professor Sycamore to find a Head Ringer to place on his Seismitoad, bench a Manectric, and pass the turn. I thought I saved myself from the lock on turn one, but he managed to get a Switch and another Toad, played a Supporter to get a DCE and Quaking Punched me into the lock. Even though the match went a bit like the last round for me, the fact that he was locked too was really helpful. We trade Prizes evenly, Toad after Toad keeps falling, until I whiff a crucial attachment onto a Manectric, which gave him a chance to use a Cassius and heal off all the damage his Toad had, taking away my chances of taking at least a tie. It was quite a tough match, and Alonso played wonderfully.
Round 3 – Alberto S. (Ratpool on the Forums) w/ Primal Groudon-EX / Wobbuffet / Hawlucha: LL
If there was any deck that I wanted to avoid that day, this was it. The match was literally a wreck, and not even under Item lock I managed to go on top, and the fact that he didn’t even need a Stadium to OHKO the Manectric-EX I started both games with wasn’t helpful for me either. Both games went up like this: we start the match, I discard an Energy or two before he evolves into Primal Groudon-EX, I try to do something to the Wobbuffet he has Active and once he has the Groudon ready he literally steamrolls me. A bit short of a match, but that was all that happened. He then went to win his fourth match against a M Rayquaza-EX / Raichu and win the tournament undefeated, so congratulations, Alberto! And sorry that my Toads stained your Groudons, by the way.
Round 4 – Joshua S. w/ M Latios-EX / Greninja-EX / Absol: WW
After I resigned myself with the fact that I won’t be making the top three, we get the final pairings of the day. Game one was painfully slow, with me getting some subpar hands and he getting slowed down by the Head Ringers on both of his Latios-EX. He still managed to KO the only two Pokemon I had in play with another Latios before I got to search for another one, so he took the first game.
Game two I had a decent start at last and kept the disruption going, even though he started really strong drawing cards with a Deoxys; and we exchanged Prizes evenly until I manage to stop him by removing all of his Energy and has to promote a lone Absol to gain some time, but I just keep attacking until the game is over.
Luckily for me, the third game went pretty much the same way, and managed to apply pressure since the very beginning. I ended up taking all my KOs with Seismitoad-EX and Quaking Punch my way into my second victory of the day. While his deck had a nice strategy, he didn’t manage to set up consistently, and he ran out of Energy most of the time because M Latios-EX‘s attack isn’t easily streamed (especially under Item lock) and Latios’ second attack isn’t as Energy efficient as you’d like.
At the end of the tournament, I ended up 7th, way below of my initial expectations of the day. I have to say that I don’t regret playing what I did and I’d do it again if I were to participate in that very same tournament. However, luck did ended up weighing a lot, and I would have probably ended up at least 4th if my second round match went a little bit better. Still, I learned a lot from the tournament and I’m looking forward to another one of these!
All of the decks I discussed in this article have strong points in their favor, but they’re mostly meant for League play or a very specific metagame. But still, this decks can surprise you. Actually, if I were to go to the World Championships this August, I’d personally play the same deck I played on this last tournament. I can assure you they are the decks I’ve had the most fun playing with, and I hope that with future releases more of this type of strategies can come to life.
Thank you all for reading my article! It really means a lot to me and I hope to keep bringing more content like this. Hope you all enjoyed the article, and if you have any comments or even suggestions on my next article you may drop by the comment section below and leave all you have to say, and I’ll be glad to answer any of your questions. Thanks again, and I’ll see you next time!