Hello Pokemon community! I want to quickly thank all of you for your readership and your interest in my previous pieces. It has been a privilege to contribute to the game and the community that has taught me so many great things. It is exciting to bring you another article about one of my favorite decks, I hope it serves you well!
For today, I am going to analyze one of the longest-standing and most flexible decks in the format: M Manectric-EX. Through constant metagame shifts and rotations, Manectric decks have always had a strong presence in tournament play. With its versatile nature and consistent strategy, there’s a lot to go over with this one card. I will cover the fundamentals of the Pokemon, provide and explain different deck lists for both the Expanded and Standard formats, and give an overview of the deck’s notable matchups.
What makes a card good? High damage potential? Sure. High HP? Absolutely. An added perk, like attaching two basic Energy from your discard to a Benched Pokemon? Check! Manectric-EX stands out from other Pokemon-EX that have a companion Mega Evolved form. The majority of Mega Evolved Pokemon evolve from weaker, significantly less playable Pokemon-EX. Manectric-EX has the unique benefit of being a viable standalone card that has an increasingly competitive Mega Evolved form to accommodate it. Manectric-EX and M Manectric-EX are very straightforward, low Energy attackers. Manectric-EX’s Overrun isn’t much, but in the right situation 20 damage to a Benched Pokemon can be just enough. It has the added benefit of being able to take multiple Prizes off of weaker Pokemon like Combee or Joltik if they the opponent is having a slow start. The aptly named “Assault Laser” carries a bit more weight. The 120 damage that Manectric-EX can deliver is more than enough to Knock Out any Lightning-weak Pokemon-EX that the opponent carelessly attached a Tool card to.
M Manectric-EX is the real show stopper here, because it has the versatility and longevity to win games. Aside from a reasonable 110 damage, it has the added effect of attaching two basic Energy from the discard pile onto a Benched Pokemon, establishing a Turbo Bolt for repeated turns. As soon as the cycle of repeated Turbo Bolts begins, it is nearly impossible to stop an attack from happening at any point throughout the game.
Old Dog, New Tricks
Manectric-EX had a significant showing at the Lancaster, Pennsylvania Regional Championship on the weekend of October 10th. The Top 8 was dominated by Manectric decks, taking fifth, sixth, and eighth. All three decks utilized Garbodor in their list, but what was most unique about the Manectric decks that succeeded in Lancaster was the introduction of Trubbish with the Tool Drop attack. Including Trubbish and Psychic Energy into the deck grants you the opportunity to attack with a Pokemon that only gives one Prize upon a Knock Out. With Tool Scrapper and Startling Megaphone seeing a recent drop in play, Trubbish had the opportunity to dominate, completely unchecked.
The second noteworthy card to appear in two of the Top 8 lists was Wobbuffet. Although not a stranger to the current meta, it is a very rare occurrence in a Manectric-EX build. In the current Expanded metagame where Archeops can severely cripple Mega Evolved Pokemon on the first turn, Wobbuffet evens the score by allowing the player to evolve their Manectric-EX as long as it is in the Active position. What surprised me personally about the two decks that included Wobbuffet is that both decks included four copies of the card. Initially this seems like overkill, but considering that the deck includes Psychic Energy, Wobbuffet can also serve as a decent attacker. Psychic Assault does 10 damage plus 10 more for every damage counter currently on the Defending Pokemon, making it a great followup to a Turbo Bolt.
Garbodor’s Garbotoxin Ability has immense stopping power. Combined with Bide Barricade, this M Manectric-EX variant possesses one of the hardest Ability locks in the current format. There are very few decks that can successfully disable an opponent’s Abilities from the first turn and maintain the lock for the duration of the game.
Aside from disruption techniques, Manectric decks are capable of a seamless defensive play style. Rough Seas in particular facilitates very defensive plays by offering consistent turn by turn healing capabilities. If a player can put multiple M Manectric-EX into play, it is highly plausible to keep those Pokemon in play longer by retreating into a new M Manectric-EX, and healing 30 from all of the M Manectric-EX over the course of several turns. This rotation forces an opponent to find a way to Knock Out a 210 HP M Manectric-EX in a single turn, often a very difficult task.
Manectric / Garbodor / Wobbuffet
This first list belongs to Steven Varesko, who earned fifth place at the Lancaster, Pennsylvania Regional Championships. This list is identical, card-for-card to Azul Garcia (it’s fitting that his name would be “Blue”) who earned sixth place in the same event.
3x N (NVI #92)
This is a thinking man’s deck list. One has to know which Pokemon to attack with, when and how to start the Ability lock, and, most decisively, when not to play a card. Some decks aim to play dozens of cards in a single turn, lining the discard pile and thinning the deck. M Manectric-EX is not that kind of deck. It is important to know when it is advantageous to simply attach and attack or pass, hanging onto critical cards in one’s hand, waiting for the opponent to reveal weaknesses to exploit. It pays to be patient with this deck, and to pay close attention to the opponent’s board.
Garbodor, although not common, has been used alongside M Manectric-EX before. Grant Manley used a M Manectric-EX / Garbodor list to earn fourth place at the 2015 U.S. National Championships. Because both Manectric-EX and M Manectric-EX do not have Abilities, the deck does not suffer from Garbotoxin. Nearly every function of the deck is Trainer cards or attacks, making Abilities nearly insignificant. Instead it prevents the opponent from maintaining a smooth game, shifting unfavorable matchups. Garbodor is not to be taken for granted.
Trubbish has more to offer in this deck than being a card to evolve into Garbodor. Trubbish’s Tool Drop attack deals a significant amount of damage. With four copies of Manectric Spirit Link and Float Stone in the deck, and the addition of all of the opponent’s Tools, Trubbish is a perfect fit. Against decks that include Dimension Valley Trubbish can Tool Drop for a single Psychic Energy, a great counter to decks like Night March where maintaining an even Prize trade is difficult.
This awkward Pokemon can slow down any reasonable set up. Because players rely on several Abilities, like Shaymin-EX’s Set Up Ability to draw and search for cards, opening Wobbuffet may actually prevent the opponent from preparing their board state. While under the lock, it may be enough to set up a M Manectric-EX and prepare for a stream of Turbo Bolt attacks, gaining an early lead as a result.
Aside from offering quality disruption with the Bide Barricade Ability, like Trubbish, Wobbuffet can also be a decent attacker. It is a great attack to follow up a Turbo Bolt, easily finishing even the bulkiest Pokemon-EX.
Pokemon Center Lady
In a deck that already has great recovery with Rough Seas, Pokémon Center Lady can be the card that offers just enough extra healing to keep a M Manectric-EX in play for one more turn. Because it is a Supporter, Seismitoad-EX’s Quaking Punch does not disrupt it from being played. Additionally, Pokemon Center Lady will remove all Special Conditions from the target. This can be important if M Manectric-EX is Asleep. One of the most damaging things to a Manectric player is being forced to pass a turn without an attack, while leaving a vulnerable Pokemon Active. In a format where Hypnotoxic Laser exists, a coin flip can end a game instantly.
Manectric / Regice
Regice is a new card, released in Ancient Origins. Resistance Blizzard, it’s second attack, serves as a barrier by giving it full immunity to damage and any additional effects from the opponent’s Pokemon-EX on the following turn. Because it requires one Water Energy and two additional Energy of any type, it was too costly for most decks. But, given that Turbo Bolt accelerates Energy onto the Bench, Regice becomes more realistic as a partner for M Manectric-EX. Regice adds an even deeper defensive play element to an already defensive archetype. The noteworthy downsides to Regice, however, are that it has a demanding Retreat Cost, and will force a player to use Float Stone or an Item card like Switch or Escape Rope to remove in certain situations. It is also completely useless against any deck that does not rely on Pokemon-EX to attack, like Vespiquen. These are important factors to consider when making the decision to include Regice in a Manectric deck.
3x N (NVI #92)
Regice is a bulky Pokemon with a costly retreat. In order to maintain flexibility, Keldeo-EX with a Float Stone offers free retreat for the entirety of the game. Although free retreat is an incredible incentive, Keldeo does have its downsides. Because M Manectric-EX has no Retreat Cost, unless Regice is in play, Keldeo is unnecessary. Furthermore, it takes up much needed Bench space, and needs to remain in play for the entire duration of the game to offer the greatest impact.
In some situations, an opponent will try to face a Regice lock by stalling the game until the M Manectric-EX player decks out. Bunnelby’s Burrow attack discards the top card of the opponent’s deck. Because Bunnelby possesses the Ω Barrage Ancient Trait, it can attack twice in one turn. When the game gets to the point where the opponent is almost out of cards, and likely to play an N, suddenly playing Bunnelby and Burrowing the last cards out of their deck to win will take them by surprise.
As mentioned before, M Manectric-EX decks require very limited use of Abilities. Hex Maniac acts as Garbodor in a pinch, disabling all of the opponent’s Abilities for one turn. With the use of VS Seeker, Hex Maniac can be streamed repeatedly over the course of several turns if necessary. A sudden Ability lock at the right time can shift a poor game state back into an advantageous one.
Manectric – Standard Build
With a far more limited card pool available, players have to have to be creative to find something that functions consistently. M Manectric-EX is a great choice for the Standard format. It retains every card it needs to function with the exception of N. In a format that can be awkward for some players to build for, M Manectric-EX is a reliable and tenacious choice to lead with.
Lugia-EX is the successor to Mewtwo-EX in the Standard format. Energy cards from Turbo Bolt can be routed to Lugia-EX, compounding damage potential. Lugia-EX’s second attack, Deep Hurricane, is more than enough damage to follow up a Turbo Bolt. Lugia-EX is a strong Pokemon with good attacks to accompany M Manectric-EX.
Quaking Punch has been deemed one of the most frustrating attacks in the modern game. Item lock is a powerful strategy to prevent an opponent’s deck from functioning. Against decks like Night March in which Item cards are fundamental to the deck’s success, Seismitoad-EX is a worthwhile tech to buy time and build a substantial response to an opponent’s approach.
Head Ringer received a fair share of hype when it was first revealed. A Tool that could be attached to the opponent’s Pokemon with malicious effect, it had never been done before. The purpose of Head Ringer in this deck is threefold. It will slow the opponent’s setup, requiring them to find one more Energy attachment in order to attack. It prevents the attachment of other Tool cards, especially Spirit Link cards. But, most importantly, it can be used offensively to increase the damage output of Manectric-EX’s Assault Laser.
Seismitoad / Giratina
M Manectric-EX variants have always had decent odds against Seismitoad-EX, nothing has changed. Seismitoad-EX will never match M Manectric-EX with damage, and the majority of damage Seismitoad-EX does cause will be erased with Rough Seas. A savvy Seismitoad-EX player will be aware of this and choose to put their resources to removing Energy cards from Manectric-EX. Crushing Hammer and especially Head Ringer are cards to watch out for against Seismitoad-EX. A Manectric player needs to focus their attention into getting Manectric Spirit Link on the board fast, before the first Quaking Punch to avoid abuse from Head Ringer. Head Ringer will not only cost the player an extra Energy attachment, but additionally without the ability to attach Manectric Spirit Link, it will also cost them a turn in order to Mega Evolve.
Frequently, Seismitoad-EX players will try to wall M Manectric-EX with Giratina-EX. If the Manectric list includes Garbodor, there is little issue. The opponent will not be able to remove Tool cards attached to Garbodor and maintain an Item lock while leading Giratina-EX. If Garbodor is not accessible, things become a bit more complicated. The Manectric player will need to focus on Knocking Out Giratina-EX with non-EX Pokemon and Pokemon-EX that are not Mega Evolved, or focus on targeting the opponent’s Benched Pokemon.
Play this match patiently; limit the amount of Manectric-EX in play to the realistic amount of Spirit Link cards that can be attached that turn. The player should initially attach Energy to the Bench to avoid being targeted by Team Flare Grunt. With a bit of patience the chain of Turbo Bolt attacks can begin and will be enough to overwhelm the opponent.
Vespiquen is faster and more aggressive than any other deck in the format. Having the ability to lock your opponent out of all of their Pokemon’s Abilities from the first turn will keep them from using Shaymin-EX or Jirachi-EX to set up, but in reality they probably will not need them. Success in this matchup is all about how long the M Manectric-EX player can take consecutive Knock Outs utilizing non-EX Pokemon to maintain an even Prize trade. Unless it is absolutely necessary, it is wise to avoid benching Pokemon-EX. These Pokemon will become a quick target for Lysandre. But, if the Manectric player can keep their opponent from Knocking Out their Pokemon-EX while maintaining a lead in the Prize trade, they can win the matchup.
Besting M Rayquaza-EX is an easy task for M Manectric-EX. Although it is quick to set up, M Rayquaza-EX’s Lightning Weakness leaves it incredibly vulnerable to Turbo Bolt. Some Rayquaza variants may play a copy or two of Altaria to negate their Weaknesses with the Clear Humming Ability, but Garbodor can shut that down in a hurry. The Manectric player should have one concern: the speed in which M Rayquaza-EX can set up for an aggressive match. Knocking their Sky Field Stadium out of play with Rough Seas in order to keep their Bench space limited might cause the opponent to miss a Knock Out. With the razor thin margin in which these two decks can trade Prizes, a single missed Knock Out is easily enough to run away with the game.
Similar to M Rayquaza-EX, Yveltal-EX possesses a convenient Lightning Weakness. Unlike M Rayquaza-EX, Yveltal has alternatives with which to lead, namely Darkrai-EX. Realistically though, Darkrai-EX’s 90 damage Night Spear attack will not be enough to take down M Manectric-EX. It simply has too much HP and too many recovery options. Keep up the healing, and target Weaknesses on the opponent’s board, and this match up is likely to be positive. But be prepared for a potentially long game, Yveltal decks have a lot of surprises. A sudden Dark Patch laden counterattack is possible, and some variants include Archeops.
What it lacks in one hit Knock Out potential, M Manectric-EX makes up for in constant recovery, niche typing, Energy acceleration, and the flexibility to promote multiple non-EX attackers. Matches that begin by looking bleak and unwinnable can be turned around with careful decision making and skillful play. Possessing the ability to deny one’s opponent Prizes is the governing force that squelches their progress. So few Pokemon in the current format maintain the potential to Knock Out a M Manectric-EX in a single attack, let alone in repetition. The addition of cards like Garbodor and Regice only adds to the luster of this deck. Whatever format you intend on playing, whether it be for City Championships or League Challenges in the near future; Manectric is a deck to seriously consider. Practice hard, plan ahead, and be prepared; always be at your best.
Thank you reader.