The Psychic King and the Overlooked Legendary – Your Guide to M Alakazam-EX and Zygarde-EX
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Now, let’s get back to Pokemon. Since I have a full time job now, it’s hard for me to find time and energy to play. I don’t know how other people do it! I still love the game and look forward to every set’s release. As a player, I’m more likely to reserve judgment on a new set until it’s been tested in tournament play. I come from a skeptical mindset for the most part, but I also keep my mind and options open as far as new cards and decks. In this article, I’ll combine the two perspectives, discussing two entirely new decks born from the new set.
Awakening of the Psychic King
…is the Japanese title of our next set, XY10 (Forces Awaken for us). It’s a bit of a puzzling moniker, leading me to expect to see Mewtwo. But didn’t we just get a bunch of new Mewtwo cards? But no, apparently the Psychic King is actually Alakazam. It could have fooled me, but I’ll go with it! Before I get into any deck lists, I’d like to take a look at individual cards in the new set. Here we go!
Delphox / Delphox BREAK
Let’s ignore the fact that Delphox is a Stage 2, just for now. By itself, the card is kind of crazy. It does 20 damage times the number of Energy attached to all Pokemon. This includes both our own Pokemon and our opponent’s. It does this for three Colorless Energy. The thing that makes this dangerous is Delphox BREAK’s Ability, which lets us search our deck for a Fire Energy and attach it to one of our Pokemon. This means that we need the three Energy required for Delphox’s attack, plus six more either on our board or on our opponent’s to OHKO most Pokemon-EX. It’s pretty likely for someone to have three Energy on the board at a time, and getting six onto ours with Delphox BREAK’s Ability and Blacksmith is pretty easy. The only thing that sets it back is the set up time, but in the future it could see play.
Alakazam-EX / M Alakazam-EX
This little duo is a very interesting combination. I’ll talk about it more later in this article, since one of my new decks is based around the Psychic King. Basically, Alakazam uses his psychic prowess to eat away at our opponent’s Pokemon, and then the Mega takes over and finishes them off. It’s all about placing damage counters. To that end, the deck also uses Crobat. I think this strategy has a lot of potential!
Since the old Mew-EX is no longer in Standard, Night March needs a replacement! Or does it? The would-be newcomer only has 50 HP to the old Mew’s 120, but it’s not a Pokemon-EX, so it has that going for it. It essentially does the same thing, but it can only use attacks of our own Basic Pokemon. It may not be as versatile (pun intended) as its predecessor, but it can serve as an extra body in Night March, and a way to attack without sacrificing a Night Marcher. It’s worth noting that it can search the deck for Shaymin-EX using its attack if you’re in a Supporter drought.
This is my favorite of the new cards, but I don’t know how practical it is. It’s capable of putting out 190 damage. That’s a lot coming from a 90 HP shell. Reuniclus has had a useful but tricky effect in the past (think “The Truth”), so it’s no surprise that it’s bringing a new mechanic to the table. If we have a Solosis on our bench, for a Psychic and a Colorless Energy, Reuniclus dishes out 40 damage. If we have a Solosis and a Duosion, the attack does 100. If we have a Solosis, Duosion, and a second Reuniclus on the Bench, the attack does a full 190. Needless to say, it can also do any combination of those amounts. So, if we have a Solosis and another Reuniclus, our boy is dealing 130. We can Muscle Band / Assault Vest it, and use Dimension Valley to make it do more damage for less Energy. I’ll definitely be building this as a fun deck to try out.
I have never seen a card like this before, so naturally Carbink caught my attention. Prevent all effects of attacks, Abilities, and Trainers on our Basic Energy? Yes, please! If we were in the midst of the Reign of Hammers, this card would be a godsend. However, Hammers aren’t as prevalent now, but it’s still a really nice Ability. This would have made VirGen over-powered, so it’s probably a good thing that we haven’t gotten it until now. I play this in the other deck I’ll talk about in this article, Zygarde.
Lucario is a lone wolf. Let’s sound this one out because it’s a bit wordy. If we have less Pokemon in play than our opponent, Lucario’s attack does 30 damage plus 60 more, times the difference in the number of Pokemon on both sides of the field. For example, if we have one Pokemon and our opponent has six, the attack does 30 + (60×5) = 330 damage. However, our opponent probably isn’t going to have six Pokemon to our one? We can limit the amount of Pokemon we have on the field at any given time, and we can add to our opponent’s Bench. I could see a deck featuring this card that plays Parallel City to limit its own Bench to three. It would also play four Target Whistle to bump up the opponent’s Bench count. If our opponent has five Pokemon in play and we have three, Lucario’s attack does a base of 150 damage. That lets us add Muscle Band for the KO. I can see the potential although I doubt it will be higher than tier two!
Ah yes, the Dreaded Green-haired Harbinger of Doom is back in action, whether we like it or not. Bring on the baiting and salty Sycamore top-decks!
I like to heal status conditions. I’m not about being Poisoned, Asleep, Paralyzed, or Confused. I’m just not into that life. This card acts as a cure-all, because you can choose the side you need at the time. It’s good in decks that aren’t planning to affect their opponent with status conditions, because they don’t care if the opponent has immunity. It’s also only good against decks that inflict status conditions, which aren’t very many at the moment. This is another card to keep in the back of your mind.
There are three Zygarde, two Basic and a Pokemon-EX. The Pokemon-EX is probably the standout among them, but I don’t mind the 90 HP Basic one either. It has a catcher attack for one Colorless Energy, and for a Fighting and DCE, it deals 70 and blocks any Dark or Fairy Pokemon from attacking the next turn. I could see it as a tech if either type becomes big. The 120 HP Zygarde has an attack that doesn’t allow the Defending Pokemon to Retreat in the next turn, which could also come in handy.
The overlooked Legendary got a mediocre Pokemon-EX card, it’s true. All three attacks are pretty terrible. It does have 190 HP, which is good for a Pokemon-EX. But, wait! TPCI has saved this disgrace of a card with a Tool.
This is the saving grace Zygarde-EX was looking for. I see why they made this attack an add-on, because it’s pretty freakin good! For two Fighting and a Colorless Energy, the Cell Pokemon can now deal 200 damage. He has to discard three Energy to do so, making it basically a copy of G-Booster, but without the Ace Spec caveat. A deck made around trying to quickly power up Zygarde and also to recover Energy when lost could be effective. I’m thinking something like Zygarde-EX / Landorus / Max Elixir.
There is definitely some interesting potential in this set. I haven’t tested the two decks I’m about to talk about, they’re just all in theory. If you want to try them out, let me know your testing results in the comments! However, before I get into the new stuff, I want to give a version of Night March that Igor Costa and I have been working on. I know, another Night March list?! Hey, I had to chime in and give my opinion on it! I’ve been playing Night March for a while, ever since I made day two with it at Virginia Regionals last year (I piloted a different deck to Top 8). Yeah, I played Night March before it was popular (said in mock hipster voice). I also played it at Worlds this year. This version is pretty straightforward and consistent. Here’s the list.
I’m just going to go over this quickly because I think everyone knows how to play Night March and what goes in it at this point. I remember when it was kind of a crazy thing to bring Night March to a tournament. Oh, well. I do think Night March is a relatively skill-less deck, but if you’re looking for points, it’s a great play that gives basically anyone a chance to win.
Of course we play all the Night Marchers we can. That’s not really an option when building this. We play Unown to give us more draw-power. This list is meant to be ultra-consistent, without playing things like Milotic, Bronzong, or Vespiquen. I played Teammates at Worlds, and it’s great in the mirror. It allows us to chain Double Colorless Energy and Night Marchers. All the four-of’s in this deck help it churn through at a fast pace. However, we do also play a fair amount of one-of’s. Xerosic is our only hope against Giratina-EX, since we don’t play any Basic Energy. Technically, we could play nine Xerosic in a game by using all of our VS Seeker and Puzzle of Time, but I don’t think that will be absolutely necessary. If we can break the Giratina-EX-lock even for a turn, it’s huge for us because we will likely be able to take two Prizes each time we do. Float Stone is obviously handy for retreating, and we can use it more than once with Puzzle of Time.
Target Whistle lets us put another Shaymin-EX on our opponent’s Bench so we can Lysandre it. Just make sure you don’t use the Whistle a turn too early and allow your opponent to Sky Return it back to his or her hand. Town Map is in the deck to let us choose which Prizes to take, which is often essential. We can get a second Puzzle of Time for our hand or that DCE we will need so badly if we are return KO’d, which, let’s face it, happens all the time to poor Joltik. He’s basically trading his life so that we can have two Prizes. How nice of him! We only play one Dimension Valley because not only can Puzzle of Time get it back, but we don’t really need to attack with Pumpkaboo anymore. We can solely use Joltik and DCE. Startling Megaphone helps us clear the board of Tools like Float Stone, Muscle Band, Assault Vest, and Fighting Fury Belt. Playing one Dimension Valley is a bit risky, but we think it really is better. If you’re uncomfortable with that, you could play two.
Enough Night March. Now, onto the fun stuff!
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