What’s up Beach Nation? Steve here, back with another article to close out my City Championships run for this season. Needless to say, one deck did pretty much all the work for me over the last two months. While I played decks like M Mewtwo-EX / Zoroark, Yveltal-EX / Zoroark / Gallade, and Manectric-EX / Crobat for a few Cities, it was Night March / Vespiquen / Bronzong that did most of the heavy lifting during a grueling, eight-week-long run of tournaments that made up this year’s Cities.
Today we will be taking a look at not only the list I started with for the aforementioned Night March / Vespiquen / Bronzong deck, but also each change I made from tournament to tournament, why I made those changes, and even a look at an Expanded version of the deck, since two of my Cities were played in Expanded. The deck has given me some fantastic results at Cities this far, taking out many top players and difficult matchups along the way. I expect Night March to stay a major threat during Winter Regionals, and remaining strong for the future of States and Spring Regionals. You don’t want to miss out on my well-tested and proven final Night March list that I plan to take to Regionals, complete with in-depth analysis of my many City Championship runs!
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In my previous article, I went over the Indiana Mini Marathon, which included three City Championships, the third of which I was a semi-finalist in with Yveltal-EX / Zoroark / Gallade. But just for a quick refresher, let’s look at my list from that tournament:
I originally received this idea after watching both Kevin Baxter and Dustin Zimmerman reach the semi-finals on day one of the Indiana Mini Marathon, prompting me to ask them more about the deck and how it works in order to build my own variant for the following day. While I didn’t do so hot on day two, I was able to ride this list to four consecutive wins opening up the final day of the marathon, allowing me to intentionally draw my last two rounds to qualify for that day’s top cut. After winning a mirror match in Top 8, I was ultimately booted from the event by the combination of M Manectric-EX and Flash Energy in Top 4. Although this was the last time I would touch an Yveltal-EX deck during Cities this year, it was just the beginning of a solid Cities run overall.
While writing my last article, I discussed the Night March / Vespiquen / Bronzong deck that dominated the first day of the marathon, providing a basic 60-card list with as few tech cards as possible in means of emphasizing consistency and the bare bones of the deck. Little did I know the list I provided would end up becoming my deck of choice for the majority of the remaining Cities this season.
Mt. Summit, Indiana
Just one week after a Top 4 finish with Yveltal-EX / Zoroark / Gallade in Indianapolis, I drove back to Indiana for another City Championship. This time I came ready with my newly-built Night March / Vespiquen / Bronzong deck, using the exact list I came up with as an example of the deck I saw in the Indiana Mini Marathon. In case you need a refresher on the list, however, here it is:
One thing you may notice right away is that, with the exception of a few Supporters, every card in the deck is run in multiples. This ensures consistency in a deck list, plain and simple. Running more copies of a card means you have better chances of drawing that particular card throughout the game, making you better able to execute your strategy at a much higher rate.
This means more opening turns playing two or three copies of Battle Compressor and more 180 damage attacks as early as the first turn! Unless, of course, you’re going up against a deck that doesn’t have a bulky Pokemon-EX in the Active spot, or if you’re hitting something for Weakness (would you like your M Rayquaza-EX original recipe or extra crispy?). In these particular cases you’ll likely only need five or six Night March Pokemon in your discard pile in order to start taking OHKOs every single turn. Overall, being able to consistently set up on the first turn makes the deck that much more explosive and that much stronger. I will take consistency over a pile of techs any day of the year.
I expected to see a fair amount of Yveltal-EX / Zoroark / Gallade decks going into this tournament, and I knew how problematic that could be for pure Night March. Both Joltik and Pumpkaboo can be OHKO’d by a simple Oblivion Wing from Yveltal that simultaneously accelerates Energy onto the opponent’s Benched Pokemon. Vespiquen, however, can survive an Oblivion Wing while dishing out enough damage to potentially deliver a OHKO against the 130 HP Yveltal, forcing the opponent to either two-shot it or bring out something bigger to attack with. If you play with a limited Bench, Zoroark will also be unable to take a OHKO here. In this scenario, unless Gallade has been brought into play via Maxie's Hidden Ball Trick or an Yveltal has enough Energy attached to use Darkness Blade, your opponent will miss a KO for at least one turn. This is usually all you’ll need to take command of the Prize race and ultimately win the game.
Vespiquen is an alternate attacker capable of hitting big numbers, particularly in the late game when you’re likely running low on Night Marchers. Being able to retreat for free is an added bonus here. Vespiquen would prove her worth several times over during the period I played this deck.
Now Murphy’s Law decided to mess with me as early as the first round of the Mt. Summit City Championship, handing me a round one matchup against Kevin Baxter and his Yveltal-EX / Zoroark / Gallade deck. I knew I would be tested immediately and, although Kevin and I have played tons of games over the past couple of years, this certainly wasn’t a matchup I wanted to play in the first round of the tournament. Nonetheless, we played a close game throughout, trading Prize for Prize until I ultimately ended up one card short after he played a Judge late in the game. He locked the game up on his following turn due to Parallel City reducing my Vespiquen‘s damage output so it was 10 damage short of taking the final KO. Losing the first round is never good, but at least I lost against someone I felt could win the tournament entirely and give me solid resistance.
I got paired up to a 1-0 opponent in round two who was also playing an Yveltal-EX / Zoroark / Gallade deck, but he was only able to start with a lone Shaymin-EX and had no way to draw out of a dead hand. Needless to say, I KO’d his Shaymin-EX and won the game on the second turn. I would’ve loved to play a real game and see if I could win this matchup after coming so close in the first round, but, little did I know, I’d get that opportunity in a couple more rounds.
In round three, I went up against an unusual Primal Groudon-EX variant that ran Lucario-EX instead of using Landorus to accelerate Energy. He benched a pair of basic Groudon-EX but never evolved them or attached any Energy to them, making them easy targets for Lysandre KOs. Instead, he just attached to Lucario-EX and started swinging. I brought Pumpkaboo to the forefront and hit for Weakness, taking an easy OHKO on Lucario. Then there was Hawlucha, who couldn’t even touch my Night Marchers to begin with. I won this game without too much trouble and went on to round four. It was after this round that I learned my first round opponent was 3-0 and could reach Top 8 by intentionally drawing his last two rounds, while my second round opponent was 2-1 at the time, meaning my resistance was looking pretty good.
During round four, I went against another Yveltal / Zoroark / Gallade deck, confirming my expectation of seeing lots of Yveltal decks to be rather accurate. Much like my first round, this game went down to the wire with each of us trading Prizes one by one until I was able to Lysandre up his Benched Shaymin-EX for two Prizes. When he was unable to find a Lysandre of his own for my Shaymin-EX on his next turn, I promptly played a VS Seeker for my lone copy of AZ in order to remove it from my Bench, preventing my opponent from taking a two-Prize KO for the remainder of the game. This proved to be clutch as he did, indeed, have access to Lysandre as soon as the following turn, but was unable to regain control of the Prize trade against a field of my one-Prize Pokemon. We exchanged one-Prize KOs until I’d taken my last Prize card, winning the game and allowing me the luxury of intentionally drawing my final round of Swiss to get into Top 8 with a record of 3-1-1.
My top 8 matchup was against a Vespiquen deck sporting Flareon and Jolteon in order to hit multiple types for Weakness as well as allow the deck access to Blacksmith for added Energy acceleration. However, Night March is simply faster than Vespiquen since both Joltik and Pumpkaboo can attack without having to evolve first. This proved to be the difference between winning and losing this match, as my opponent was forced to play from behind early on in both games. The one-Prize lead I gained at the beginning of each game was enough to match him Prize for Prize throughout the two games and come out on top both times. This brought me to top 4 feeling confident in my chances to go the rest of the distance.
My Top 4 opponent was running a M Gardevoir-EX / Aromatisse deck with a couple of techs. I knew I needed to KO the Gardevoir-EX before it reached its Mega Evolution in order to win this match. Thankfully, this wasn’t an issue as I dealt out 180 damage on the first turn. With such momentum from a strong start, I costed to a win. He managed to set up a M Gardevoir-EX in game two, but his Bench was loaded with Pokemon-EX that were ripe for the picking, so I made excessive use of my one Lysandre via several VS Seekers to take my six Prize cards once again and move onto the finals.
My day ended in the same manner it began, with a matchup against Yveltal-EX / Zoroark / Gallade. I knew the matchup would be difficult, but I also knew it was winnable. It mostly came down to who took the first Prize and if either of us could avoid benching any Pokemon-EX — or starting with them. That didn’t work out so well for me in game one, as I was forced to use an Ultra Ball for the dreaded Shaymin-EX to draw out of a dead opening hand. While I planned to dig for AZ so I could get Shaymin-EX off the board as quickly as possible, my opponent used a Lysandre to KO it before I could find the aforementioned AZ. From there on out, I trailed in Prizes and ultimately lost the game. Game two went much smoother for me, particularly because he opened with an Yveltal-EX and had a limited supply of Supporters for the first two or three turns, until he was eventually able to stream KOs against me. By that time, I was up by three Prizes and had multiple attackers set up along with a pair of Bronzong equipped with Float Stones. I couldn’t ask for a better setup than that. However, he didn’t whiff attackers in game three, while I whiffed a Double Colorless Energy on the first turn and fell behind by one Prize. Throughout the game, that proved to be the difference, with each of us benching a single copy of Shaymin-EX during the game. He used Sky Return to KO one of my Joltiks, while I was able to bring mine back to my hand with the use of AZ. In the end, he claimed his last Prize while I still had one remaining.
This was a close game; one slight hiccup proved to be all that was necessary to decide who won. That said, reaching second place with a “bare bones” deck list is pretty darn good, and it gave me more than enough reason to keep playing this deck throughout Cities.
This concludes the public portion of this article.
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