Once again, Hello PokeBeach! Today is going to be a bit different; instead of analyzing the prices of cards or their viability, I’m going to show you a deck that got me 10th place at MD States.
Yeah, 10th. I’m a scrub. Go home and drink a nice glass of scrubby bubbles. All of my efforts do not matter to the establishment majority just because it’s not in the top 8. But I finished with a 4-0-3 record – the same amount of points as some who made it into top cut. If we constantly downcast those who “almost made it,” think of how many results we overlook from the bubble placements! There could be dozens of important decks that did just as good as other top players, but are disregarded simply because they didn’t win the fate-oriented resistance game!
Okay, fine, whatever. Here’s my salty explanation of how the deck functioned.
How it works
Much like Manectric-EX/Bats, the goal here is to deal heavy damage while being backed up by bat damage to take 1HKO’s, or subtle 2HKO’s. The deck even runs a Manectric-EX to the same effect. The main differences between the two decks are:
- Dragonite-EX lacks a popular Weakness
With questionable appearances of Garchomp, a somewhat standing archetype of Lucario-EX, and a definite appearance of Gallade, you don’t want to be risking you hand at “autolosses”. And if you think a few copies of Flash Energy are going to completely swing around a matchup, remember that Fighting oriented decks have Korrina to search out techs like Enhanced Hammer as well as the the ever-so-popular Xerosic tech that has met a huge increase in popularity thanks to Fighting Fury Belt. Dragonite-EX is weak to Fairy-type Pokemon, which has seen little appearance so far outside of a single Aromatisse/M Mewtwo-EX placement. Still, Fairy is something that is be afraid during the first few rounds or with a low record – you never know what you’ll run into.
- Dragonite-EX’s main attack can be set up in one turn without the need to retreat a Pokemon
With all the draw support we currently have in format, you can practically get any card you want on your first turn if you try hard enough. Take for example Float Stone. I constantly have sat through Night March March matchups where they start with a Shaymin-EX, and as their Night Marchers stack up in their discard, I have that constant thought seated well in the back of my mind, “Ha! He still needs a Float Stone to even attack this turn!” Suddenly, bam! Float Stone is on the Active, he retreats, and hits my Pokemon for 220 damage while I cry on the floor. Night March is unique and magical in such the way it can do that. Yet, DON’T YOU DARE EVEN THINK WE ARE GOING TO BE PLAYING THAT PUTRID DECK. We’re bypassing the “magic” factor with self sufficiency. No need to cheat your way through your entire deck to search out your magical one of tech that always saves the day. Dragonite-EX can switch into the active almost at any time with it’s “Bust In” ability, so if you want to get a quick attack out, or maybe protect a Zubat, just attach an energy somewhere on the Board and “Bust-In”.
- Dragonite-EX has 10 more HP
For some reason, with the launch of Fighting Fury Belt, peope have shifted their standard of the “magic numbers” from 180 to 170. Most notably, Night March decks aim to get 170 instead of 180 with 8 Night Marchers in the Discard. As Dragonite-EX tanks a hefty 180 hp, it likely can stay on the field a little bit longer. And if you attach a Fighting Fury Belt to Dragonite, the average Night March deck will need Every single one of his other night marchers in the discard.
- The deck is not reliant on using disruptive tools to reach necessary numbers.
Sure, everyone plays tools in their lists, especially Fighting Fury Belt (am I tiring out that term yet?). But rather than against the declining number of EX heavy decks, there is no way to force a tool upon the defending Pokemon. In this way, the run-of-the-mill Manectric-EX will have to take quite a few attacks before KO’ing a Trevenant, Gallade, or even a Greninja. Because Dragonite-EX’s “Jet Sonic” attack already hits around 80-130 damage without any factors from the opponent’s Pokemon, you don’t need to rely on your opponent being some scrub who plays tools on their Pokemon when they shouldn’t. It completely reverses the matchup around – their 110-130 HP Pokemon become little 1HKO targets that they can’t stream fast enough.
The deck does have a few definite weaknesses. Some can be worked out, others come from just how the deck plays. Take for example the growing amount of ability hate: we’ve got Hex Maniac, Garbodor, and even a revival of Silent Lab – all things that prevent the quick “Bust In” combo and massively disrupt your Shaymin-EX oriented draw support. That brings me to the second main weakness: inconsistent draw support. With only 4 Sycamore, you can’t always trust that you will have enough resources to draw through your deck in your opening hand. Ultra Ball, Shaymin-EX, Battle Compressor, and even Trainers' Mail may help you draw into that vital supporter , but the chances that they actually get what is needed to continue the game are still untrustworthy. In fact, my recent run at VA States supported this entirely: almost every other game I had to scoop from an awful start. If only there was a way to draw into the needed resources for the deck to operate and have enough room for things like Max Elixir combos.
How is it done? In a perfect world, you would start by successfully using Max Elixir on a benched Pokemon (it doesn’t matter who you choose), bench Dragonite-EX, use Dragonite-EX’s “Bust In” ability to not only put the energy on Dragonite-EX, but also put it into the active position ready to attack. Then search out a Double Dragon Energy from your deck with draw cards like Professor Sycamore and Shaymin-EX, as well as cards to cycle Shaymin-EX such as Super Scoop Up and AZ, and attach it to Dragonite-EX. Slap on a Fighting Fury Belt to Dragonite-EX and now you’ve got a 220 HP beast who can consistently hit 130 damage – enough to OHKO a Yveltal or a Shaymin-EX. With any combination of 2 Golbat or Crobat, you can even reach numbers like 170-190, enough to KO huge threats like Manectric-EX, Yveltal-EX, or Greninja BREAK!
Of course, you aren’t going to hit the combo every time, especially on the first turn. Using a “Bust In” becomes much more possible late game when half of the resources are already put into play. Let’s say you hit a Max Elixir on a Zubat one turn while you stall with Manectric-EX’s Overrun attack. The following turn, even if Manectric-EX is KO’d, you can make a comeback just by searching out a Dragonite-EX and a Double Dragon Energy. Unless your opponent streams Hex Maniac, it becomes very hard for him to determine whether you have the resources to attack or not.
That said, the deck is very fun to play as you always feel like you have some sort of out to win. You can feel the adrenaline rise as you pull off each piece of the combo like an MLG pro and see your opponent’s face melt as his Shaymin-EX he thought was safe in the active fall to the mighty power of a surprise Dragonite-EX. It’s like the “Combo Wombo” of Pokemon Decks. At the same time, it can be easy to go overboard on the combos and pull off a “Bust In” when you really shouldn’t. Furthermore, all the searching needed to complete the puzzle can take a lot of time, especially with the repeated inclusion of cards which look at the top of your deck and require a shuffle afterwards, such as Max Elixir or Trainers' Mail. If you decide to ever try your hand at Dragonite, make sure that you keep calm, only do combos necessary to win the game, and play your cards fluidly and quickly. If not, you may end up with 3 Ties like I did.
Against Night March
Now this is what you really came here for. I bet you are right now scrolling down on your page looking for the Night March match-up. You know, not everything is about Night March. You can easily play around it if you tech a few toad and just use Lysandre’s Trump- no wait, this is 2016. Without any definite counter, it has created a perfect chaos in the current format. The night march apocalypse is upon us. Shadows and dark creatures fill the streets, people run for shelter, questioning “what’s going to happen to us?”. Cities are blazing, the shadows keep attacking, little children are crying – All that’s left is confusion and hopeless anger. You don’t know what it can be, but it just drives you crazy! All of it’s cunning tricks make you sick, you just won’t let it have it’s own way! Can’t hold on much longer, but you will never let go, looking for some sort of new deck, something to beat this monster. You know it’s only a one way track, and even I can’t tell you how long it will last. You just gotta not think this way, or count on other match-ups. You can even close your eyes and feel the burn. Just open your heart, and you will see!
Okay, enough with the Sonic Adventure references…
55/45 – The matchup is slightly in your favor. I would argue it is even better, but as I do not want to mislead anyone nor make unjustified claims, I’m leaving it up for you to decide.
Despite it being a huge EX-heavy deck with whopping triple energy costs and plenty of Shaymin, I still have the audacity to say it’s a decent match-up. Why? Dragonite-EX’s HP and sheer speed is amazing. Let’s say the Night March deck goes turbo to OHKO your Dragonite-EX (with a Fighting Fury Belt) on the first or second turn. If it misses the Startling Megaphone or Xerosic, then the only way to KO it is to discard every single Night Marcher from the deck. This is not only a nearly impossible action to do thanks to the prize card system, but it leaves them in a bad position, demanding a Buddy-Buddy Rescue or a set of Puzzle of Time to keep on attacking. Let’s say they do KO your Dragonite-EX… if you had a spare Basic Energy out on the field thanks to a random Max Elixir, all you’ve got to do is send out another Dragonite-EX, Bust In, attach a Double Dragon Energy, and you’re back in the action! Also, There isn’t often going to be a moment where your attack won’t KO a Night Marcher or Shaymin-EX – Dragonite-EX always can hit for 120 or more.
Other little tidbits are the Bats the deck plays. With some intelligent bat drops and Xerosic Combos, you can KO multiple Night Marchers without attacking due to their low HP. Add in Manectric-EX‘s assault laser, and you’ll be spewing damage in no time.
Needless to say, Night March is getting very agressive with its Hex Maniac count. Often times a First Turn Hex Maniac will shut you off from ever attacking, and one timed just right may prevent you from taking a KO on a Joltik with Crobat‘s Suprise Bite. That said, this deck also runs a disruptive supporter: Delinquent. If the Night March Deck starts swinging with a Pumpkaboo, they need to put a Dimension Valley in play in order to attack. Delinquent rids them of their stadium they need to attack and severely limits the resources they have in their hand. If, perchance, your Dragonite-EX absorbed an attack thanks to Fighting Fury Belt, they won’t take any extra prize cards. and there’s a good chance your Delinquent will either severly impact or exterminate the Night March Player’s hand.
Not the best run, but you know what they say, practice makes perfect! But who ever has time for that? Surely not you, clever reader! Instead, let me give you the “experience” of practice by explaining how my tournament run went.
Despite it being a few weeks since the actual event has happened, it was still so fun that the event has nearly been burned into my memory.
Round 1 – Night March/Vespiquen
I begin the day with my most hyped matchup. I had playtested against Night March/Miltoic dozens of times against my brother the previous night, and found myself in victory after victory. I was more than ready to take down any small attackers who stood in my way.
My opponent was apparently the guy I stat right next to during the player’s meeting. Unfortunately, during that meeting, I got carried away in my hype of having a rather rogue deck at the tournament that I had shown my opponent my inclusion of Dragonite-EX before the match. I hope that did not bias my opponent’s perception of my plays, but I knew I didn’t have the element of suprise on my side.
Game 1 came and went as expected. As much as he tried, he could not KO Dragonite-EX in one hit. I was able to set up very smoothly, and got to the point where i was taking prizes left and right from Shaymin-EX and bat drop KO’s. Much opposite to my expectations, he did not agressively use Hex-Maniac or Startling Megaphone as much as I feared.
Game 2 was in my favor thanks to a bad start from my opponent, but I slipped up. Going overboard with Bust-In, I had brought out Dragonite-EX without attaching a DDE. To get that Dragonite, I also had Ultra-Balled my last VS seeker away, thinking I would have enough resources to finish the game. I don’t believe I even got a Fighting Fury Belt attachment that turn. My opponent responded with 180 from a Bee Revenge and proceeded to KO everything I had while I drew nothing.
Game 3, time was called just a turn or two in because both me and my opponent did not make haste in searching cards out of our decks or shuffling. My opponent benched 6 Pokemon, and there was no way I could take enough prizes within 6 turns (I didn’t have enough bats out to do the impossible either).
Round 2- Florges-EX/Florges/Aromatisse
Okay, before you go ballistic saying this was an unusual “non-meta” matchup, the guy did pilot the deck very well and the concept was quite solid. Problem was, the Fairy-Type Weakness on Dragonite-EX made the matchup more than an uphill battle. It was pure suffering! Winning the coin flip, my opponent was able to set up a Florges before I could KO any benched Flabébé. Once it was in play, he would begin attacking with a Florges-EX and it’s “Bright Garden” attack, an attack that deals 20x the amount of Fairy and Grass type pokemon my opponent has in play, multiplied by 2 for weakness, and costing only one [Y] energy thanks to Florges’ ability. Furthermore, he played Fighting fury Belt and Max Potion, so it became really hard to hit a KO with bat damage in the same turn, and even harder to keep the damage on the board!
Game 1 went just as described. I lost miserably.
Game 2, my opponent puts out an early Fairy Garden in order to retreat a Flabebe early. Leaving himself with 3 cards in hand, he ends his turn. With a smirk on my face, I pull my copy of Delinquent from my hand and proceed to leave my opponent with no cards in hand. Yet, all that really did was delay my opponent for a single turn as he was easily able to grab another supporter using Florges-EX’s “Lead” attack. I still become a turn ahead in the game and find myself capable of taking KO’s before my opponent can do much in his defense. He scoops when I see I’m too far in.
Game 3, Almost went the same as Game 1, but time was called once more early into the game. No one could take 6 Prizes in 2 turns, so its yet another tie
L-W-T 0-0-2 (Feeling very insecure)
Round 3 – YZG
I didn’t quite know how this matchup would go, but I percieved it as DECENT. Dragonite-EX can manipulate it’s energy count by choosing to discard a Double Dragon Energy – a neat little combo that can be used to avoid 1HKO’s from an Evil Ball. Furthermore, Yveltal-EX only has 170 HP, something that can be taken down in one turn via 2 Bat drops and a Jet Sonic. Even Baby Yveltal can be KO’ed much too early with a Jet Sonic and a Fighting Fury Belt.
Game 1. My opponent flops his set up and leaves 2 Shaymin-EX on the field, nothing more. I, on the other hand, draw like a god and Pull off the trade-mark Max Elixir > Bust In > Jet Sonic combo that I’ve been hyping, on the first turn! I KO his active Shaymin-EX and leave him with yet aother Shaymin in the active. My opponent pulls through another turn and then scoops.
Game 2, my opponent has a much better set up this time around, but it still was too slow. I luckily am again able to pull off a KO on his active baby Yveltal and pile on the pressure. It went a bit back and forth until one point in the game where he pulls off a Maxie's Hidden Ball Trick, grabbing a Gallade from the discard and putting it in play. He makes his way to attacking with it and I believe KO’ing one of my Shaymin-EX. I return KO him thanks to a Golbat drop and a Jet Sonic, and he is only left with a Yveltal-EX and Shaymin-EX with no energy attached prior. Because of this, I practically get a free turn and was able to finish of the game from that point.
W-W 1-0-2 (feeling a bit better)
Round 4 – Greninja BREAK/Octillery
Ok, I never really was expecting Greninja to be too good, especially when it ran no Shaymin and took 2+ turns to set up its main attacker. Furhermore, Greninja has that magical number of HP – 130, a number just within the damage Dragonite-EX’s Jet Sonic given it has a Fighting Fury Belt. I actually was almost judging my theoretical Trevenant matchup in the same manner, shame on me for theorymonning. Even when it came to test the matchup in action, I still wasn’t that surprised.
Game 1, my opponent goes first (oh no) and plops down a silent lab. Unable to do much, I simply attached to Dragonite, “Sycamored”, maybe plopped a few more Bats down, and passed. The next turn he would surely get me! I was a turn behind! I didn’t do anything! Suddenly he evolves into Frogadier and just uses Water duplicates. LAME. I punish his lameness by answering with a Jet-sonic to his Active. He answers my rudeness by evolving into Greninja and pulling off an 80 damage Moonlight Slash. I keep using Jet Sonic, Knocking out another Greninja. Eventually it gets to the point where he brings out a Greninja BREAK, but thanks to a few nice Bat Drops, I’m able to take out the 170 HP with, you guessed it, Jet Sonic! My opponent wasn’t able to consistently stream any more Greninja after that because he had to use Super Rod early game. He scooped.
Game 2. My opponent, because he is running only Greninja and Octillery, suffers horrible dead draw and is unable to get anything going. I on the other hand am able to set myself up to take early KO’s on any of his Remoraid before they evolve. Several turns in, he still doesn’t draw anything, and I am able to sweep up the game pretty quickly.
WW 2-0-2 (maybe I’ve got hope!)
Round 5 – M Manectric-EX/Jolteon
Prior to going into the tournament, and reading how good the deck was in John Mostowy’s Y’all Got Anymore Of Them Basics? Jolteon-EX And Why He’s Getting Hype, this was my most feared matchup. I had no answer to a Flash Ray rather than to Lysandre another target, and even then, I wouldn’t be able to take A OHKO half of the time. And that’s exactly how it went, just excluding the fact that they won’t ever OHKO Dragonite or Manectric-EX in the oncoming future. The matchup is essentially a slow game of 2HKO’s against Mega Manectric, or rather a quick rush to get early OHKO’s when Jolteon-EX comes out. A Jet-Sonic and a Crobat drop would finish a Jolteon off, but there was also the very serious problem of Rough seas. No matter where I put my bat damage, I had to use it on a Pokemon alongside additional attack damage or else it would all be healed off.
Game 1. I go second (I believe) with a Zubat, I use trainer’s mail, and grab nothing. Scoop.
Game 2 is where the fun begins. I get early damage on his M Manectric-EX while he tries setting up his Jolteon EX. By the time Jolteon-EX is set up, I KO M Manectric. But get this: Jolteon can’t even produce enough damage to KO Dragonite-EX with a Fighting Fury Belt, nor does my opponent have the Xerosic or Startling Megaphone to make something like that happen. And so, as I set up backup attackers, I proceed to take the majority of my prizes from Lysandres to benched Pokemon. I think I even remember using Lysandre to pick off Mega Manectric despite needing a 2HKO. I win out the prize trade before my opponent can even scoop.
Game 3: The structure was very similar to Game 2. Ultimately it came down to my last Lysandre I pulled on my opponent’s Hoopa-EX alongside 2 Bat Drops for the KO. I feel a bit bad for my opponent in the round as he misplayed the previous turn, attaching a random Manectric Spirit Link attachment to Hoopa, thus allowing me to get a KO with my own Manectric-EX’s “Assault Laser”. Still, I had the resources in hand to pull off a final “Bust In > Jet Sonic” combo and do the same amount of damage whether he attached the spirit link or not.
L-W-W 3-0-2 (Feeling overwhelmingly confident)
Round 6 – M Manectric-EX/Jolteon
Twice in a row I have to face my most frightening matchup, but this time around I know I can do this. This build of Megman/Jolteon was very similar to the previous round, except that my opponent played a single copy of Head Ringer and Silent Lab.
Game 1. I don’t remember too much of what happenend, although it played much like Game 2 and 3 of my last round. I think I even used a very potent Delinquent at some time in the game just to get rid my opponent’s stadium (Don’t remember which one). Head Ringer wasn’t much of a threat thanks to Super Scoop Up and Dragonite-EX’s “Bust In” ability, allowing me to switch out attackers at rapid pace. Again, I lucked out the Lysandre game and took game 1.
Game 2, besides a bit of dead draw, my opponent was applying quite a bit of early pressure via silent lab. I couldn’t set up nor Bust In. Being ahead a turn one way or another, I couldn’t find the resources to pull through the game. The game is played through till the very end, leaving only a smidgen of time left for game 3.
Game 3. I get a great start. Plenty of bats come out, and I even score a KO on my opponent’s Jolteon-EX before he can use it. Sadly though, time is called, and I have to take 4 prizes within 4 turns. The only things within KO range are a single copy of Shaymin-EX and a damaged Mega Manectric-EX. Despite getting 80 damage in bat drops in a single turn, I’m left 10 damage short of KOing the damaged M Manectric-EX. On the final turn, my opponent uses a Hex maniac and shuts down all my other chances at getting enough damage to win the game.
W-L-T 3-0-3 (At this time, I knew my next opponent would face my ultimate wrath so I could get in Top Cut)
Round 7 – Garchomp BKP/Hawlucha
Surprise, surprise! This is the one deck whose concept I had given a special focus to in my previous article, which you can find here. The two most important things I mentioned are that: 1) Garchomp will really have to dig in order to get a KO on something with a Fighting Fury Belt and 2) Garchomp’s HP is very dismal at 130. This dismal HP also contributes towards a focus on items like Focus Sash to keep Garchomp alive, and at the same time it limits the amount of damage Garchomp can dish out at once because it is ran over a Muscle Band. Thankfully, with a deck full of bats, the Focus Sashes can be easily worked around as a single bat drop will nullify a focus sash from taking effect.
Round 1. I’m actually in the second worst moment of dead draw I’ve had for my entire tournament. I topdeck a Xerosic and discard my opponent’s Strong Energy. He follows up with a “Flying Press” from his active Hawlucha. Then, I must have pleased the topdeck gods that day because I drew right into a Professor Sycamore and proceeded to gain all the resources to attack. A Jet-Sonic without even needing to discard an energy KO’s his Hawlucha. He tries to follow up with a “Turbo Assault” from a Garchomp that he just evolved that turn, but still can’t reach a KO thanks to my Fighting Fury Belt. I proceed then to drop a Golbat, Jet Sonic to KO his Garchomp, and it proceeds downhill from there.
Round 2. It happened so quick I don’t fully remember it, but I believe my opponent had hit a small spike of dead draw. I was able to pull off a few Jet Sonics and KO all of his Pokemon. I remember even trying to apologize to my opponent afterwards because I felt so bad, but the message came out with too much of a touch of arrogance.
WW 4-0-3 (Enough to make Top Cut)
(But I didn’t)
Dragonite-EX/Bats sounds like something you’d see on a video titled “Bad Deck Monday”, but it’s strength against a wide variety of matchups certainly disprove that. If you are looking for something maybe just a bit more fun than the autnomous Night March, The casual Yveltal, or even the risky Vespiquen/Vileplume variants, look no further than your bulk binder. That’s where you put these things, right?
If that’s the case, it won’t really take any effort to build such a unique deck. If you already have the essentials and the Bat lines on hand, it should only really set one back in the realm of $12. Even then, everyone, even the Juniors, has them sitting in the back of the binder ready to trade. It’s not like when your best friend tells you “ZOMG! YOU SHOULD PLAY LANDORUS-EX/BATS” when a single copy of Landorus-EX is 30 dollars, or when you are told that “Mega Rayquaza-EX is BDIF! Buy four copies of M Rayquaza-EX, Rayquaza-EX, and Shaymin-EX!”
Go with the cheap, end with the cheap. The only thing that can break a world filled with the same thing is something different. Those are my philosophies. Thanks for reading.