Night March in Standard – What It Is, Why It’s Good, and How to Counter It

Hello Pokebeach!!! My name is Noah Shaw and I am very excited to bring you this article. I have been collecting Pokémon cards since I was four, but I just started getting into competitive play. Today I am going to talk to you about Night March, the deck that has had a whopping performance at Week 1 of States. It’s not invincible though, because as you will read it can be taken down. There are different ways to play Night March in Standard, the two main ways being with or without Vespiquen. I will cover both of them later on. Enough with the small talk, let’s get into the decks!!!

The Run Down of Night March

Before we get into how Night March functions, here’s a basic list of it without Vespiquen.

Pokemon (14)

4x Joltik (PHF #26)4x Pumpkaboo (PHF #44)4x Lampent (PHF #42)1x Shaymin-EX (RSK #77)1x Jirachi (PRXY #XY67)

Trainers (40)

4x Professor Sycamore (BKP #107)1x Lysandre (AOR #78)1x Hex Maniac (AOR #75)1x Xerosic (PHF #110)1x Skyla (BKT #148)1x Giovanni's Scheme (BKT #138)4x VS Seeker (PHF #109)4x Battle Compressor (PHF #92)4x Ultra Ball (FLF #99)2x Muscle Band (XY #121)2x Fighting Fury Belt (BKP #99)3x Acro Bike (PRC #122)3x Trainers' Mail (RSK #92)2x Roller Skates (XY #125)4x Puzzle of Time (BKP #109)3x Dimension Valley (PHF #93)

Energy (6)

4x Double Colorless Energy (XY #130)2x Lightning Energy (XY #135)

As you can see, this is a traditional Night March list with the new inclusions from BreakPoint. For those of you who don’t know, the Night March attack does 20 damage times the number of Pokémon in your discard pile that have the Night March attack. There are three Pokémon that have this attack, Joltik, Lampent, and Pumpkaboo. Assuming you run four copies of each, the attack can do up to 220 damage, and 240 with a Muscle Band!!!  Next, let’s take a look at Night March with Vespiquen. There are many tech cards, such as Giovanni’s Scheme and Skyla. They are there for situations when they can be the deciding factor, such as doing 20 more damage or grabbing a Muscle Band from the deck. One important inclusion is this list is Puzzle of Time. This allows for a player to grab back two Double Colorless Energy, which is huge as you can only run four. Another weird inclusion is Roller Skates, but flipping heads on one could change the entire game around.  We also run the Jirachi Promo card. It’s first attack, Stardust, helps against decks such as Seismitoad-EX / Giratina-EX , and other decks that use special energy. The extra turn of protection is also very helpful as well. This list runs a 2/2 split of Muscle Band and Fighting Fury Belt because both are useful in different scenarios, and both have their pros and cons. Next, onto Night March with Vespiquen.

Vespiquen Joins The Party

In Ancient Origins, Night March got a new friend, that friend being Vespiquen. Let’s take a look at our Night March deck when Vespiquen is included.

Pokemon (18)

4x Joltik (PHF #26)4x Lampent (PHF #42)4x Pumpkaboo (PHF #44)1x Shaymin-EX (RSK #77)2x Combee (AOR #9)2x Vespiquen (AOR #10)1x Jirachi (PRXY #XY67)

Trainers (36)

4x Professor Sycamore (BKP #107)1x Lysandre (AOR #78)1x Hex Maniac (AOR #75)1x Xerosic (PHF #110)1x Skyla (BKT #148)1x Giovanni's Scheme (BKT #138)4x VS Seeker (PHF #109)4x Battle Compressor (PHF #92)4x Ultra Ball (RSK #93)3x Trainers' Mail (RSK #92)3x Acro Bike (PRC #122)2x Muscle Band (XY #121)2x Fighting Fury Belt (BKP #99)4x Puzzle of Time (BKP #109)1x Dimension Valley (PHF #93)

Energy (6)

4x Double Colorless Energy (XY #130)2x Grass Energy (XY #132)

As you can see, the Roller Skates and two Dimensional Valley were dropped for the 2-2 line of Vespiquen, along with switching the Lightning Energy for Grass Energy. This is pretty straight forward strategy wise, using Night March most of the time, and sometimes coming in with Vespiquen in certain scenarios. There’s not much more different than that, so let’s get into why Night March is as successful as it is.

Why Night March Dominated States

In general, Night March works so well because of two words: Speed, and Prize Trade.


Night March has so much acceleration to it, it’s not even funny. Battle Compressor easily gets rid of many cards, leaving the specific few you want. Next comes the 3 Acro Bike, getting you more cards, and 3 Trainer’s Mail, getting you more cards to draw with. Shaymin-EX easily gets you at least three more cards, and four Professor Sycamore allow you a hand refresher at any time. The real cherry on top though, is Puzzle of Time. Not only can this card bring back Double Colorless Energy, but you can use it to recover acceleration cards, such as Acro Bike, Trainer’s Mail, or even VS Seeker to grab a supporter. In general, this deck moves a lot quicker than decks such as Toad (Seismitoad-EX), MegaMan (M Manectric-EX), and Mega Ray (M Rayquaza-EX).

Prize Trade

Besides speed, this is truly the key to this deck. The main attacker Joltik, only gives up one Prize Card when defeated. Normally, you will be able to kill an EX Pokémon with one Joltik. You get two Prize Cards while your opponent only gets one. Now, you are closer to winning the game, and you can send out another Joltik if your current one dies, and have a guaranteed second Knock Out. Sometimes, it’s not that hard to get a Knock Out. With only seven Pokémon in the Discard Pile, Vespiquen can get a OHKO on Seismitoad-EX and any other water type Pokémon that dares show its face around Vespiquen. To conclude, Night March normally takes two Prize Cards, giving up only one in return.

How To Counter It

Night March has two main weaknesses, the inability to play items, and the fact that their main attacks all have less than 100 HP. Reading on, you will see many possible counters that provide for a very strong matchup against Night March.


You know him, you love him, you hate him, the big bad Seismitoad-EX. This card has sparked much debate over the past year, but one thing we can agree on, it’s powerful. For one Double Colorless Energy, this card stops Night March from playing item cards, and will Knock Out a Joltik at the same time. With Crushing Hammer and Enhanced Hammer , this card is a force that Night March has trouble stopping. One down side though, is that you give a Night March player one turn to get set up before you can use Quaking Punch, but that doesn’t make this card useless. Seismitoad-EX is also very powerful on it’s own as well.

Vileplume and Trevenant

Vileplume and Trevenant are both amazing counters to Night March. Their abilities both stop your opponent from playing item cards, and the best part is, is that you can get them in play on the first turn, using cards such as Forest of Giant Plants , and Wally. If you are going first, and are able to get these cards out that turn, a Night March player won’t be able to play items at all. After that, their whole strategy goes down the drain.


One card that might not seem like a Night March counter, is Crobat . His ability says that when you evolve, you may put three damage counters on any one of your opponent’s Pokémon (equivalent of 30 damage). This would instantly Knock Out a Joltik, getting you one Prize Card without even attacking. Even better, Crobat’s pre-evolution Golbat , has the same ability, but places two damage counters instead of three. If you are able to stream these evolutions, with cards such as AZ or Super Scoop Up, you will be doing tons of damage every turn without even attacking. One down side to this strategy is that you will have to make room for 10 cards in your deck, so it’s best that this card is paired with another Pokémon, and is not a tech.

Trevenant BREAK

If you do not know, this is Trevenant BREAK. The reason I see this card as a good counter is for three reasons. First, it has 160 HP, which is a lot of health for a Pokémon that only gives up one Prize Card. Second, it’s attack, only one psychic energy with Dimensional Valley, puts three damage counters on all of your opponent’s Pokémon. If your opponent has and Joltik out, it will instantly knock them out. Third, you can use the Trevenant from before. Because Trevenant BREAK retains the abilities from it’s pre-evolution, Trevenant’s ability that stops your opponent from playing item cards will still be in effect. This combo is one of the best Night March counter’s in my opinion.


This, in my opinion, is the hardcore Night March counter. For those of you who don’t know, this is Pyroar. Its ability stops any damage done to it by Basic Pokémon. Because Joltik and Pumpkaboo are Basic Pokémon, they can’t hurt Pyroar, without Hex Maniac. Even if you play Vespiquen, you would have to be able to stream them as fast ans your opponent streams Pyroar, as Pyroar will OHKO Vespiquen. In my opinion, Pyroar only beats decks that centralize around Basic Pokémon, so it’s not vey powerful against decks that mainly use evolved Pokémon.


In conclusion, Night March is a very powerful deck that is amazing for many reasons. With or without Vespiquen, it is always a force to be reckoned with. It’s not unbeatable though, as there are some cards that can stop it dead in it’s tracks. Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed.