Oh, it’s so good to be back! After Chemistry School beat me up until I was in the floor I was finally able to get back into a more consistent activity in my community, and sure a lot of stuff happened since I wrote my last article for PokéBeach! Sadly enough for me, my Gallade-EX / Bats deck isn’t what it used to be a couple set releases ago, specially with all the Mewtwo running free and rampant through the field; and even though a Gallade-EX-based deck got a Top 8 in the past City Championships, it flat out loses to a lot of stuff right now. With that in mind, it was time for me to go back into the drawing board, and a very specific mechanic drew me in: “Resistance ______” attacks.
Resisting Common Counters
In the current format, the Resistance attacks are the closest we have to what Safeguard was last year (or Expanded); although slightly better! Safeguard was very strong in the previous format because it was rather easy to slap down a Suicune or Sigilyph and give decks like M Rayquaza-EX a full stop forcing them to shape their strategy around those, giving some time to build up a response. However, it was easily countered by Silent Lab and Garbodor, so more often than not, those Pokémon didn’t last long enough. And in the current Expanded you can even use a Tyrantrum-EX , M Mewtwo-EX or Hex Maniac to easily go around those! But Resistance attacks have a nice little touch that turns out to be bigger than you’d think: their EX immunity is granted through an attack, rendering things like Silent Lab and Garbodor completely useless against them! The aforementioned Tyrantrum and Mewtwo, in addition to Hydreigon-EX, are the only viable options to take out the heavy beasts stopping them; or a perfect Escape Rope + Lysandre combo I’ve seen a couple times already. And talking about Lysandre and Escape Rope, those happen to be a nuisance to Resistance decks. Since Resistance takes place as an attack, your benched Regice and Hippowdon are always at risk of being Lysandre’d for the KO, which can often be a risk worth taking since that’s another alternate attacker your opponent isn’t going for.
Now that we’ve covered some of the pros and cons of the Resistance attacks, it’s time to look at the two variants of them. Both with their respective pros and cons!
Regice vs Hippowdon
- Basic Pokemon, so it’s easier to get out and also boosted by Empoleon.
- Damage + Paralysis flip as a back-up attack.
- Water-type, so is easily splashable into Seismitoad-EX and Blastoise decks.
- A [W][C][C] attack cost, compatible with DCE and acceleration from other types, like M Manectric-EX, Yveltal , Xerneas… Even Volcarona!
- Easily searchable by Ultra Ball , Dive Ball or Heavy Ball.
- If not OHKO’d, it can be healed with Rough Seas.
- 120 HP is relatively frail, considering a lot of Pokemon can hit for 100.
- A 3 Retreat Cost of [C][C][C], which makes retreating a huge risk by losing that much resources.
- Deals 70 damage. Can 3HKO Mega Evolutions at best, even with a Muscle Band.
- With a Metal Weakness and reliance on DCE to attack fast, it can get easily screwed by Jirachi.
- While the base damage is the same as Regice, it can be boosted easily with Strong Energy, Fighting Stadium and Muscle Band, allowing it to 2HKO basically all EXs and even some Mega Evolution.
- Can be accelerated by Landorus and DCE.
- Can be searched with Korrina, Ultra Ball, Heavy Ball and, being an evolution, Evosoda and Wally; whereas Hippopotas can be searched by the Korrina, Ultra Ball, Heavy Ball and Level Ball.
- Being a Stage 1, can be boosted by the Eeveelutions, specially Jolteon to deal with the Flying-type Pokemon’s Fighting Resistance.
- A bulky 130 HP, and a good 90 HP on Hippopotas, meaning it often can’t be taken out before it evolves.
- A Grass Weakness that it’s basically never relevant, since the most efficient non-EX Grass-type attacker is Vespiquen, and it can OHKO an Hippowdon with ease regardless of it.
- It’s an evolution, which means it can be slower to set up and even taken out before it reaches Hippowdon.
- An absurd [C][C][C][C] Retreat Cost, which makes it almost impossible to retreat.
- Gaining the Fighting support means it’s often not paired with another types since Energy management can be tricky.
- Its second attack is lackluster at most, working only as a finisher.
- Contrary to Regice, it needs a secondary attacker to deal damage while setting up Hippos or after one gets KO’d.
Mega Manectric / Regice
This is one of the most common ways to pair Regice with. Mega Manectric’s Turbo Bolt allows you to charge a Regice in no time while also dealing damage, and with a variety of other attackers you can deal with many threats upon you. Lugia-EX is a very good neutral attacker and can give you a hand against M Mewtwo-EX-based decks, while also having the OHKO potential on most Basic EXs with Deep Hurricane. You have many ways out from many situations, but of course one of the deck’s main attackers is Regice, which can outright stop a lot of decks while you can set up other attackers; and the free spots can be used for a variety of purposes.
Articuno (ROS 17)
Articuno can be a great tool against most non-EX decks, such as Night March, Vespiquen and Entei. In most cases, you’ll be OHKO’ing Joltik, Pumpkaboo, Combee and Entei with a Muscle Band and a single heads out of Tri Edge, turning the prize trade into your favor! With Manectric there to help with its awful Energy cost, you can power it up in a single turn with Turbo Bolt and an attachment from the hand. And to top it off, it has a rather interesting first attack in Chilling Sigh. You won’t use it that often, but when you do it’s a guaranteed Sleep and a 50% chance your opponent’s Active Pokemon stays that way, so sometimes it’s worth the shot.
Raikou can be a good player against Yveltal-EX and Rayquaza-EX decks. You might ask: “Man, I already have a type advantage, it should be easy”. Well, it could be, if you play your cards right. But those types of decks either set up at Mach 1.3 (in the case of Rayquaza) or have secondary attackers that can either deal with your Manectric or just deal a ton of damage our of the blue (like Gallade and Zoroark for Yveltal decks). There’s where Raikou comes in! Being a 120 HP Basic with a damage-reducing Ability, it will sometimes endure an attack from your opponent, and its attack lets you hit for 90 with a Muscle Band and a single Lightning Energy; so attaching a DCE is still a good call and a good way to attack right away, getting a KO on the Lightning-weak birds and dragons and forcing your opponent to either Lysandre something out to try and even the prize exchange, but leave the Raikou ready to KO again, or, to take a single prize off a Raikou, leaving you with the advantage most of the cases. With that said, Raikou won’t be the BCIF and will magically win you those match ups, but having the prize trade in your favor is always good.
Smeargle is a recent addition to the deck’s array of possibilities. Having 2 different types of basic Energy can make meeting an specific Energy out tricky. With Smeargle you can get that Energy you need as long as you have that other Energy on the discard pile, which can be rather easy with Battle Compressor and Ultra Ball. It’s a nice tech that can help you out a couple times.
Vileplume and Giratina-EX can be weird to deal with, either limiting the use of most of your resources or simply blocking the damage from your main attacker. Hex Maniac can help you get a free turn of Items, allow you to hit opposing Giratina-EX or, as I found out recently, to stop a lot of Night March, Vespiquen and Rayquaza-EX decks! If you get a Hex Maniac on your first turn you can stop all Unown, Shaymin-EX and Hoopa-EX that your opponent might use to set up, giving you a turn of advantage in most cases against them.
Crushing Hammer / Enhanced Hammer / Xerosic
You can also take the disruption through a different direction and add a couple of hammers and Xerosic to wipe your opponent’s Energy away. I’ve seen that a single Enhanced Hammer and a Xerosic can make wonders and not clunk your deck while also giving you a way out of Team Flare Hyper Gear or to change your own Tools, but two Crushing Hammer is also a valid way to go.
Or, you can make them pay more Energy to attack in the first place! Head Ringer can not only slow down certain Pokemon and force them to pay more to attack, but also slows down immensely Mega Evolution decks, forcing them to either have a Xerosic of their own or to waste a turn to evolve, which is actually quite nice and can give you a good advantage.
Primal Kyogre / Regice
Sceptile-EX. Either way, if this deck isn’t enough right now, it’ll gain a lot from the BW-BKP Expanded, being able to use Dual Splash Kyogre-EX to help in the Night March match up and Manaphy-EX to give the deck an amazing movility. It’s definitely a force to be reckoned with. Who knows? It might get some results in the future. Let’s see what can we add in those 4 free spots:
Articuno (ROS 17)
Here Articuno can shine even brighter than on the Manectric variant because it’s far easier to set up. I’d definitely run at least one of them or even 2, since it’s too good to do otherwise.
Shrine of Memories
There’ll be times when you’d like to have some Energy back into your hand to distribute them differently and also deal some damage, so with Shrine of Memories you can do just that! By using Shrine of Memories you can use Kyogre-EX‘s Giant Whirlpool, dealing a decent 140 damage and returning 2 Water Energy into your hand! It’s a nice back-up strategy that can prove useful in some situations.
Hoopa-EX is not in the skeleton list because people often like to stray from using it, since it can be an easy Lysandre bait and can leave you stumped for a while, but if you’d like to add it just Tidal Storm the Energy into it as soon as you can and you shouldn’t have any issue.
Given how easy can it be to accelerate Energy into a Kyogre you’ll rarely want more. However, adding a Mega Turbo or two can balance out your Energy attachments. You’ll often attach an Energy into a Kyogre in your first turn, and if you manage to Mega Evolve by T2 you’ll end up with three Energy on your Kyogre, still not being able to attack; and if you wait another turn to attach that’s a Growth you’re wasting. Mega Turbo can work wonders more often than not.
Thicker Trainer lines
Another way to finish up the list would be to thicken up your Switch, Ultra Ball or Dive Ball counts, or any other cards for that matter. Sometimes consistency can be a make or break deal, so there’s rarely “enough consistency”.
Lucario / HippowdonFocus Sash it’s a key card when faced against most speed decks in order to take a KO when they don’t, making them waste resources and attackers to not take a prize off of that attack. Now, into the additions!
Mr. Mime can be placed in a lot of decks for the sake of just putting it in there. I mean, avoiding snipe damage is almost always good! However, it serves a more key role in this deck. By avoiding snipe damage, you can prevent Manectric-EX, Noivern or basically any sniper from hitting your benched Pokemon to prevent Focus Sash from working. If they can’t hurt them when on the Bench, you can be sure your Sash will work unless they take it away with a Megaphone.
Enhanced Hammer / Crushing Hammer / Xerosic / Team Flare Grunt
And disruption reaches our eyes again! In this kind of decks, you’ll usually want to slow down your opponent in order for you to set up before them, so taking out their Energy can be the most efficient way of doing so.
Escape Rope / Another Switch
With a Pokémon that has a 4 Retreat Cost, having outs for switching apart from retreating in essential, so adding another switching card wouldn’t hurt at all. I’d personally add a Escape Rope just to give some variety to the deck, but another Switch is fine.
Seismitoad-EX can be another good starter Pokemon apart from Lucario, and can stop decks like Night March at least long enough for you to get something else out. It can be more helpful than you think!
Pokémon Center Lady
Having a healing card on a Focus Sash deck can be a really good asset, specially since Hawlucha has only 70 HP. If something tried to KO it and you have another Sash in hand, you can use Pokémon Center Lady, re-attach the Sash and presto! You’ve just given the brawler bird yet another life! And even outside from that, it can mess up the math of decks that rely on 2HKOs and also go over Paralysis, Sleep or whatever that can prevent you from attacking.
Adding Jolteon was a decision I made as a meta call to deal with the Yveltal-EX and Rayquaza-EX decks. With Jolteon, you can turn the struggle that taking out a M-Rayquaza could have been into a potential OHKO. As I said, it’s mostly a meta call, but it can turn out to be useful!
Decks with Hippowdon and Regice are definitely something to watch out for. If you go too heavy on EXs you might want to take some time and consider if there’s a chance of either of them showing up in the tournament in order to avoid an unpleasant surprise, or at least make sure you have a way out. Better safe than sorry, right?
So this wraps up my first article in a long, long time! I hope that you guys enjoyed it! If you have any questions, input or anything just shoot it the comments, and leave a Like below if you enjoyed it! Thank you very much for reading it and I hope to write for you guys soon! If things go according to plan, I might have the funniest deck to play with as the feature of an upcoming article, so stay tuned. ;)