Metal Linking It Together – A Complete Look at Tyrantrum-EX / Bronzong and a States Recap
Hello everyone! For those of you that don’t know me (which is probably most of you, as this is my very first article), my name is Dalen Dockery. I am 17 years old and from Sevierville, Tennessee, and I have been playing the Pokemon TCG competitively since 2008. From 2012 – 2014 I took a semi-hiatus from the competitive scene since I had an extremely busy schedule during my later High School years. However, now that I’m a freshman in college, I have more free time (I know, I can’t believe this myself either) and also have a lot more trust from my parents, allowing me to go to most of the events I want to go to and try to get a Worlds invite. This is the first season I’ve been extremely active in since 2012, and I hope to be able to continue doing so for many years.
At this point I’m sure you’re already bored, so let’s get into some Pokemon! In this article, I’m going to give an in-depth discussion of a deck that’s very near and dear to my heart, Tyrantrum-EX / Bronzong. This deck alone earned me 140 Championship Points in Cities this year, giving me two 2nd place and two Top 4 finishes. I’ll look at the deck in both the Expanded and Standard formats as well as briefly detail my Top 4 finish at Tennessee States. So without further ado, let’s get rolling with the Expanded format!
The Expanded format is where this deck first originated, so I find it most fitting to start with this format. Tyrantrum-EX was released as a promo card in its own special box, and when I first saw its scan on PokeBeach, I quickly disregarded any potential for the card, but boy was I wrong. I heard about the deck making an impact (pun partially intended) during the first two weekends of Regionals and never thought twice about the deck being serious, but at Fort Wayne Regionals I got to face it. My Seismitoad-EX / Giratina-EX deck barely managed to pull out a victory (due to a little luck), but I really saw the power of the deck and immediately wanted to build it after this extremely close set (in fact, I had already ordered two Tyrantrum before I evern made it back home).
Although Tyrantrum-EX gets most of the credit in the name of the deck, Giratina-EX is another attacker that is equally as important. Both Pokemon make wonderful use of Double Dragon Energy, and when Tyrantrum-EX‘s whopping 190 damage Dragon Impact isn’t worth using, Giratina-EX‘s Chaos Wheel provides a ton of disruption to slow your opponent down. Bronzong combos very well with both of these Dragon-type Pokemon, as its Metal Links Ability allows you to attach a Metal Energy from your discard pile to a Benched Pokemon every turn, and having multiple Bronzong in play allows you to accelerate Energy at a very fast pace. Let’s take a look at a deck list for the deck in the Expanded format.
Deck List and Card Choices
2 Tyrantrum-EX / 2 Giratina-EX
These counts are both very typical of this deck. You rarely ever need more than two of either main attacker in a game, but Sacred Ash allows you to recover Pokemon if you need them back. Tyrantrum-EX really shines against large-HP Pokemon since there’s only a small handful of Pokemon that can survive a Dragon Impact, and Giratina-EX is particularly strong against low-HP, non-EX Pokemon. Together, there’s almost no situation you can find yourself in where you don’t have a solid attacker.
3 Bronzong / 3 Bronzor
Bronzong is the crux of this deck, with its Metal Links Ability providing consistent and quick Energy-acceleration for the attackers. Some Bronzong decks opt to use four Bronzor to make it easier to draw them as well as to make Prizing one negligible. However, this deck never needs all three Bronzong in play at once to function, so the fourth Bronzor isn’t that useful. One card that the Expanded format gifts this deck with is a 70 HP Bronzor. Extra HP is always nice to have, and the three Retreat cost that comes with the added health doesn’t matter, as Keldeo-EX and Float Stone give you mobility between Pokemon during the whole game.
Against decks that rely on Special Energy, Cobalion-EX is a very strong attacker in tandem with Giratina-EX. Although its Righteous Edge attack only does 30 damage, it discards one of your opponent’s Active Pokemon’s Special Energy. This is particularly useful against Seismitoad-EX decks, as they have to attach another Double Colorless Energy to maintain the Quaking Punch-lock, but Cobalion-EX can just discard that Energy on your next turn! Eventually the opponent will either not have another Special Energy in hand to attach or will rather choose to not attach a Special Energy to prevent it from being discarded. When this happens, you can begin to use Giratina-EX ‘s Chaos Wheel, which will lock them out of attaching any other Special Energy they may have. Cobalion-EX is also extremely useful against other Giratina-EX, since your opponent’s Giratina can prevent you from ever attaching a Double Dragon Energy if you can’t attach one before they use Chaos Wheel. However, Cobalion-EX can discard their Double Dragon Energy, eventually breaking the Chaos Wheel-lock and letting you start the Chaos Wheel-lock on them.
Keldeo-EX is absolutely amazing in Bronzong decks in general, but especially in the Tyrantrum-EX variant. After your Tyrantrum uses Dragon Impact and discards three Metal Energy, you can Rush In with Keldeo, Metal Link those Metal Energy right back on to Tyrantrum, Retreat using Float Stone , and immediately attack again! Keldeo-EX also prevents your hefty retreating Pokemon like Bronzong and Hoopa-EX from getting trapped in the Active spot if they are targeted by a Lysandre.
Shaymin-EX is found in almost every deck, and this deck takes full use of it. Shaymin-EX lets you refill a hand that is low on cards, and with Shaymin, this deck has incredibly fast starts. Three Shaymin and Sky Field allow you to draw a large number of cards on your opening turn, setting up for an incredible turn two (when playing this deck, I quite often manage to have two Bronzong on the field and either a Tyrantrum or Giratina attacking by turn two).
Hoopa provides this deck an insane speed boost with its Scoundrel Ring Ability. Rather than playing Ultra Ball to find one Pokemon, you can instead get Hoopa-EX and use it to find three Pokemon-EX, turning a single Ultra Ball into three Ultra Ball! This is extremely useful, as you can find either Tyrantrum-EX or Giratina-EX to start powering up, a Keldeo-EX to Retreat whenever necessary, and a Shaymin-EX to fill up your hand after discarding from Ultra Ball.
Seismitoad may seem like an odd inclusion in a deck that doesn’t run a single copy of Double Colorless Energy, but it serves a very specific purpose – without Seismitoad-EX, this deck has almost no chance of beating the Sableye / Garbodor deck (discussed in the matchups section). Seismitoad isn’t necessarily useless in other matchups, but attacking with much more powerful Pokemon is typically preferable.
Although Bunnelby is the last Pokemon listed here, it is most certainly not the least. Bunnelby has single-handedly won me almost a dozen games, as it can both recycle important resources like Double Dragon Energy and VS Seeker and deck opponents out who leave themselves with one or two cards in their deck after their turn. This card is rarely seen in competitive play now that the Wailord-EX deck isn’t popular, but its utility more than warrants including it in this deck.
3 Colress / 2 Professor Juniper
This deck almost always fills the Bench very fast, even up to eight Pokemon with Sky Field, so Colress generally draws you more cards than Professor Juniper. Professor Juniper can also discard important cards that get stuck in your hand, whereas Colress avoids doing so by shuffling your hand back in the deck. After your first turn, Colress is almost always better than Juniper, but Juniper is still a very strong Supporter card.
2 Lysandre / 1 N
These counts of N and Lysandre are very typical for an Expanded format deck. N is a very powerful disruption-Supporter in the late-game and provides a good shuffle / draw ability during the early game. Lysandre is played at two copies for consistency to avoid Prizing a lone copy, as being able to drag up any Pokemon on the opponent’s Bench is often too good to go without for a game.
1 Xerosic / 1 Hex Maniac / 1 AZ
All of these one-of Supporters give this deck a nice situational boost. Hex Maniac allows you to ignore any Ability for a turn, such as Eelektrik‘s Dynamotor or Archeops‘s Ancient Power. Xerosic ‘s main function is to discard a Float Stone off of an opposing Garbodor so that you can use Abilities again, yet it also has a very niche use in discarding Special Energy from your opponent’s Pokemon. AZ lets you pick up a damaged Pokemon nearing a KO or a liability on the Bench like Hoopa-EX or Shaymin-EX. Finding these Supporters when you need them isn’t difficult at all either since you can discard them with Battle Compressor and reuse them with VS Seeker.
Sky Field is a wonderful Stadium card for this deck that lets you use two or three Shaymin-EX and a Hoopa-EX to set up extremely quickly while still benching multiple Bronzor and attackers to power up. Then, once a different Stadium card is played, whether by you or your opponent, you get to discard those Shaymin-EX and Hoopa-EX you used to set up, cleaning up the Bench to only important and useful Pokemon. You can even play another Sky Field after the first one gets discarded to play down more Shaymin-EX or attackers.
Although there is only one copy in this deck, Parallel City is an incredibly powerful Stadium card that can single-handedly swing an entire game in your favor. Parallel City is a new type of special Stadium that provides a different effect for each player, rather than a single effect like previous Stadiums. The red side deducts 20 damage from any Fire, Water, or Grass Pokemon of the player it faces, and the blue side limits that player to three Bench spaces. So or example, against a M Rayquaza-EX or Raichu deck that relies on having a large Bench to increase damage output, you can play Parallel City with the blue side facing them, and then lock the Stadium in play using Giratina-EX‘s Chaos Wheel. This maxes their damage at 90 per attack while also prevents them from attaching the Double Colorless Energy that both decks rely heavily on. Another very strong use of Parallel City is facing the blue side toward yourself so that you can remove useless Bench Pokemon, like Shaymin-EX and Hoopa-EX, that both take up precious space on the Bench and give up easy Prize cards. No matter which way you spin it (pun slightly intended again), Parallel City is an incredibly powerful Stadium card that should not be underestimated.
Mega Evolution decks are not at all uncommon in the Expanded format, with M Rayquaza-EX, M Manectric-EX, and Primal Groudon-EX all being rather popular archetypes, and Faded Town greatly helps these matchups. Tyrantrum-EX ‘s maximum damage is 200 (with a Fighting Fury Belt attached) so Faded Town gives Tyrantrum-EX just the extra damage it needs to KO these M Manectric-EX and M Rayquaza-EX with a single Dragon Impact. Primal Groudon-EX is a slightly different story, since Dragon Impact with both Fighting Fury Belt and Town only deals 220, but this anti-Mega Stadium still works wonders in this matchup. Primal Groudon-EX decks are incredibly slow, so you can punish that sluggishness by locking Faded Town in play with Giratina-EX . If you can get the Chaos Wheel and Faded Town lock going by the third turn, you can rack up upwards of 100 damage on every Primal Groudon on their field before they even attack, leaving them in range of a Tyrantrum-EX KO.
Just like nearly every other deck in the Pokemon TCG, Tyrantrum-EX / Bronzong takes advantage of Battle Compressor. This card’s main use is to discard Metal Energy out of the deck so that Bronzong can accelerate them to Benched Pokemon. You can also use Battle Compressor to discard one of the many one-of Supporter cards so that VS Seeker can grab them at any point in the game.
Float Stone combos nicely with Keldeo-EX, since the two together allow you to Retreat for free every turn. In a deck that plays so many hefty Pokemon, this saves you from wasting multiple Energy every turn just to swap attackers. Two Float Stone suffices in nearly every game, as once attached to a Pokemon it rarely gets discarded, and there are other ways to switch Pokemon in a critical situation.
Fighting Fury Belt
In this deck and format, Fighting Fury Belt is vastly superior to its common counterpart, Muscle Band. While Muscle Band provides 20 extra damage, only 10 of the 20 is useful. There aren’t any relevant Pokemon in the Expanded format that have 120 HP (Giratina-EX plus Muscle Band), and the 10 damage from Fighting Fury Belt is just enough to let Giratina-EX take a KO on Shaymin-EX or Wobbuffet. Also, since M Manectric-EX has lost almost all popularity, Tyrantrum-EX doesn’t need the extra 20 damage either. However, Fighting Fury Belt gives the Basic Pokemon it’s attached to +40 HP in addition to the +10 damage, which makes it much more valuable than Muscle Band.
Computer Search is the preferred Ace Spec in this deck, as it lets you grab any card from the deck. You can get Battle Compressor to throw Metal Energy or Supporters into the discard pile, Sky Field to have a more explosive start, Double Dragon Energy to attach to a Giratina or Tyrantrum, or any other card. Computer Search simply provides the deck with more consistency, a very important factor for a Regional Championship.
Double Dragon Energy
Double Dragon Energy (DDE) is what allows Tyrantrum-EX and Giratina-EX to attack at all, so it’s no surprise that we play four of them. This may seem a little scary, having only four Special Energy that let you attack, but it turns out to be not so bad. Most games, four DDE is enough to let you take all six Prize cards, but if that doesn’t happen, Bunnelby can shuffle back a DDE or two to let you take those last few Prizes.
Giovanni's Scheme is a powerful Supporter card with two separate effects – when you use Giovanni, you can either draw cards until you have five in your hand or add 20 damage to your attack’s damage that turn. Giovanni’s can be used to take Knock Outs on high-HP Pokemon-EX with a Fighting Fury Belt, but Xerosic would work just as well. Giovanni's Scheme also serves as a draw-Supporter, although it is outclassed in this regard by many other Supporters in the deck. What makes Giovanni particularly useful is its versatility, serving as both a damage modifier and a draw card.
Smeargle and Fighting Energy
One alternative to Bunnelby is the Smeargle / Fighting Energy combination. After using Dragon Impact, you can use Rush In, Metal Links the Metal Energy discarded back onto Tyrantrum-EX, Retreat into Tyrantrum, and use Smeargle’s Second Coat to swap one of those Metal Energy for a Fighting Energy (serving as a substitute for a Double Dragon Energy). Although Smeargle does not have to attack to recycle resources while Bunnelby does, Bunnelby is usually superior since Smeargle can only let you reuse non-Metal Energy and can also only recycle those Energy to Tyrantrum (no other Pokemon needs Fighting Energy to attack).
Your Personal Preference
Everybody has their own likes and dislikes when it comes to the Pokemon Trading Card Game. Some people choose to play typical archetypes with off-the-wall decklists, while others choose simply to play unusual and often unheard-of decks in general. All of the cards I’ve discussed here are the ones that I personally like to use, but that doesn’t mean that other techs would be bad. So, if you think that card x would be great in a deck like this, go for it and test it! After all, you may end up finding that one unexpected card or combo that takes this deck to the next level.
What to Cut?
All of the techs listed above would be wonderful to include in the deck, but there is unfortunately not enough room to fit them all. The important question then becomes, “what do I cut to add in [insert card]?”, so let’s look at the first cards to be removed in such a case.
Although running two copies of Lysandre is very powerful, as having your lone copy stuck in your Prize cards all game is extremely painful, the second copy is only a luxury, not a necessity – with Battle Compressor to discard Lysandre from your deck and VS Seeker to grab Lysandre from the discard pile, you can often find Lysandre when you need it (assuming the only copy is not Prized). Because of this, Lysandre is the first card I would remove to make room for a tech.
As much as I really love this card, this deck functions perfectly fine without Parallel City. If you wanted more consistency or a tech specifically designed for a certain metagame, Parallel City is, like the second Lysandre, just a luxury.
The general theme in this section is “luxury versus necessity”, and like all of the other cards here, Tool Scrapper is merely a luxury. These luxuries that I’ve included in the main deck list are ones that I feel would serve the deck well in the general Expanded metagame, but your local metagame might warrant entirely different techs. Don’t fret about removing cards like Tool Scrapper (or even Parallel City) – you’re just swapping one luxury for another.
Contrary to the general theme of this section, Faded Town isn’t a luxury card in the strictest sense. Faded Town alone significantly improves the Primal Groudon-EX, M Rayquaza-EX, and M Manectric-EX matchups, but it’s practically useless in other matchups, only serving as a counter-Stadium to your opponent’s Stadium cards. However, if you don’t expect any of these Mega Evolution-based decks to be popular, it would be very wise to remove Faded Town and instead use a different tech.
This concludes the public portion of this article.
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