“The Manectric Slide” — Three Ways to Play Manectric for States!

Hello everyone! My name is Matt Price, and I’m from Northeastern Ohio. In this article I’ll be discussing three different ways to play Manectric-EX for States; but first, I’d like to give you some information about myself. I’ve been playing the Pokemon TCG on and off ever since I was a child, starting back when Delta Species came out. I began playing competitively in 2012, and qualified for my first World Championships on December 31st, 2015. Often times, in past seasons, I was unable to play frequently which kept me from obtaining my World’s invite.

I was able to place second at Fort Wayne Regionals this past Fall with Seismitoad-EX / Giratina-EX and 38th at Lancaster Regionals a few weeks prior with M Rayquaza-EX. I also scored two first place finishes during the City Championships with Seismitoad / Giratina and Manectric-EXCrobat, as well as a second place finish with Seismitoad / Manectric / Crobat. I have decided to take some time away from big tournaments for monetary reasons, so I will only be playing in one more State Championship, Nationals, and Worlds in the immediate future. Regardless, I’m very excited to be able to compete in San Francisco in August!

When it comes to choosing a deck to play, I’ve always hated the “if you can’t beat them, join them” ideology. The idea of playing what other people are playing because it’s good or because it has good matchups isn’t a bad mentality to have. In fact, it’s a very intelligent and safe way to play Pokemon. That being said, it’s also the most dull and unfulfilling way to play the game. While there is merit to the “go with the flow” attitude, it only creates a stunt to the creativity involved with playing the game. Hardly anything original or groundbreaking comes from doing the same thing everybody else is doing. Fortunately, not everyone shares this same mentality. For this reason, the Pokemon TCG involves a great amount of variation and surprise when it comes to deck building and creating under-the-radar concepts.

Rogue decks can shock and surprise players because they use new or previously overlooked strategies. Some decks can even begin to thrive simply because they were written off after a poor performance during a tournament series. For these reasons alone, it’s worth mentioning that there are often decks that may not be popular, but serve as a viable option in a specific metagame. Manectric-EX variants are currently among these underplayed decks, and they show a lot of potential for States. Many people have been talking about Manectric-EX variants; however, most were automatically counted out based on a few likely matchups players would face. It can struggle against some things, such as Night March, but it’s not as difficult as you may think to find a build that can hold its own against these potential threats.

I will discuss several card combinations, techs, and deck lists with Manectric-EX and explain how it can become a driving force during the State Championships. I will also explain how to defeat the specific decks that Manectric-EX struggles against. To help you understand what variant to use in a particular meta, I will cover the pros and cons of each deck, as well as how viable each one is in the current format.

I think it’s only fitting to start with my personal favorite version: Manectric-EX / Crobat.

Manectric-EX / Crobat

What I love most about this deck is its simplicity. You use Manectric-EX‘s Overrun attack for most of the game while dealing extra damage with Golbat and Crobat‘s Sneaky Bite and Surprise Bite Abilities, respectively. Then, you can finish off your opponent’s Pokemon with Assault Laser. There are also multiple options when it comes to spreading damage or finishing off a specific target. Being able to place that extra damage on whichever of your opponent’s Pokemon you like is what makes Manectric-EX good on its own. I’ve managed to win one Cities this year with the deck, as well as a second place finish with a combination of Manectric-EX and Seismitoad-EX.

Going into the first weekend of States, I was unsure as to what I was going to play. I ended up switching to this deck the night before the tournament began. Ultimately, I finished at 4-1-2 and placed 18th at the end of Swiss, after having tied my first two rounds. Before I dive into my States matchups, here is the list I used:


Pokemon (17)

4x Manectric-EX (PHF #23)3x Crobat (PHF #33)4x Golbat (PHF #32)4x Zubat (PHF #31)2x Shaymin-EX (RSK #77)

Trainers (36)

4x Professor Sycamore (XY #122)2x Professor Birch's Observations (PRC #134)1x Judge (BKT #143)1x Lysandre (FLF #90)1x Hex Maniac (AOR #75)1x AZ (PHF #91)4x Ultra Ball (RSK #93)4x VS Seeker (PHF #109)4x Trainers' Mail (RSK #92)4x Super Scoop Up (MD #87)2x Level Ball (AOR #76)2x Head Ringer (PHF #97)2x Fighting Fury Belt (BKP #99)1x Muscle Band (XY #121)1x Startling Megaphone (FLF #97)1x Super Rod (BKT #149)1x Parallel City (BKT #145)

Energy (7)

4x Lightning Energy (XY #135)3x Flash Energy (AOR #83)

As you can see, there is nothing crazy about this list. The flashiest thing in the deck is the Parallel City, and even then, it is a common card in the meta right now. Above all else, this specific deck relies heavily on consistency. Without it, the deck won’t run properly and can often let you down. Fortunately, this list provides a high degree of consistency, and therefore has pretty good matchups all across the board.

The results of my matchups during Michigan States:

R1: vs. Durant L-W-DNF (T)

R2: vs. Entei W-L-DNF (T)

R3: vs. Night March / Vespiquen W-W (W)

R4: vs. Yveltal W-W (W)

R5: vs. Yveltal W-W (W)

R6: vs. Vespiquen / Vileplume L-W-L (L)

R7: vs. Night March / Milotic W-W (W)

I was able to perform well against the most popular decks in the format. I was, however, unlucky when it came to my Vileplume matchup. I have outs designed specifically for this matchup, but none were attainable during this particular match. My two ties were only a turn or two away from being able to win. Regardless, I’m still satisfied with both my performance and the deck list. I definitely consider it a top contender.

Key Cards

4x Manectric-EX

Playing four Manectric-EX is crucial in not only this version, but in most Manectric-EX-based decks in the current format. In this deck, it is your main attacker and the ideal starter. Having to leave a lone Zubat stranded in the Active spot on your first turn can be detrimental, especially if you lost the coin flip and have to go second. You don’t want to have to waste a Super Scoop Up or an AZ just to attack. The only time you don’t necessarily want to start with a Manectric in the Active is if you’re going first against a Night March deck, but even then, if you can get a Fighting Fury Belt on your Manectric-EX on the first turn, your opponent is unlikely to OHKO the Manectric-EX.

4-4-3 Crobat

I couldn’t imagine playing any less than this many Bats in any Crobat-based deck. Being able to swarm your opponent’s field with Golbat and Crobat is one of the main reasons why this deck is a great contender in the current metagame. This Evolution line also allows you to be less conservative with the use of Ultra Ball and Professor Sycamore because you will almost always have more Bats in the deck that you can draw into, as well as a Super Rod to retrieve them from the discard. With the inclusion of the two Level Ball, there are many resources available to get Golbat and Zubat onto your Bench as quickly as possible. Anything less than a 4-4-3 Bat line will make this crucial Evolution chain much less consistent.

2x Fighting Fury Belt / 1x Muscle Band

The first list I had for this deck played three Fighting Fury Belt so I always had one to attach to Manectric-EX in the case that I played against Night March. However, I quickly changed to two Fighting Fury Belt and one Muscle Band because Muscle Band is needed to hit certain numbers with Manectric-EX’s Assault Laser, or even Overrun. Also, Crobat cannot utilize Fighting Fury Belt, whereas Muscle Band is often very helpful, especially when you need to KO Gallade.

All throughout Michigan States, I had no issues with my choice of two Fighting Fury Belt. However, I did wish that I had another Muscle Band throughout the entire day, so I may consider finding space for another one.

Matchups Strategies Used to Win

Night March

Overall, this matchup is straightforward and can be won relatively easily. Even if the opponent plays Fighting Fury Belt themselves, Night March still suffers from swarms of Bats combined with Manectric-EX’s Overrun attack. Startling Megaphone helps you get rid of their Fighting Fury Belts so you don’t have to deal out as much damage to take a KO. Plus, with a Fighting Fury Belt attached to your own Manectric-EX, it becomes difficult for your opponent to OHKO you without sacrificing resources to get another marcher ready to attack.

Even if the opponent plays a variant with Milotic and Puzzle of Time, they will still have a hard time taking out your Bats. I’ve had a lot of turns in which I’d taken two or three Prizes off of Night Marchers on only the second or third turn of the game. You are able to setup multiple KOs at once with the proper use off Golbat’s Swoop Across attack. By managing to overwhelm the opponent’s Bench, the win becomes easy. Just be careful about how many Shaymin-EX you bench early on; they can become an easy two Prizes for any Night Marcher.

Night March / Vespiquen

The same principles apply, more or less, to that of defeating a straight Night March deck, but Vespiquen is a little harder to KO and can more easily KO your Manectric-EX. However, the opponent doesn’t have nearly as many tech cards as a regular Night March deck, and yet their strategy remains the same. It is another easy win as long as you are able to take care of all the Combee as they are put onto the field.

Yveltal / Gallade

This matchup can be particularly tricky if you’re unable to keep Flash Energy on your Manectric-EX and if your opponent is able to stream Gallade consistently. If you can prevent your opponent from using Gallade to get OHKOs, however, you will have an easy time with this matchup. After sniping the Gallade for 50 damage, you can one-shot it with Crobat and a Muscle Band thanks to Gallade’s Weakness to Psychic. Alternatively, if the Gallade has a Muscle Band attached, you can use Assault Laser and Crobat’s Surprise Bite Ability to take it down as well.

The other thing that you have to watch out for is how many Pokemon are on your Bench at one time. If you leave too many on the field, a Manectric-EX (without a Fighting Fury Belt attached to it) can become an easy KO for Zoroark. The main strategy against this deck is to snipe the Zorua before they have a chance to evolve and KO Gallade as soon as possible. Otherwise, you can use your Parallel City to remove Pokemon from the Bench, making if more difficult for Zoroark to take out your Manectric-EX. Yveltal and Yveltal-EX both have a Weakness to Lightning, so they are all easy targets to KO if they are put onto the field.

M Manectric-EX / Raikou

Here is the first “bad matchup” for Manectric-EX / Crobat. This can be a tricky one, especially if your opponent can get a Jolteon-EX out quickly. Jolteon-EX proves to be a difficult Pokemon to deal with for this deck because you only attack with Basic Pokemon for most of the game, and Crobat doesn’t have the damage output to really deal with Jolteon at all. Your best bet is to quickly put a Head Ringer on the Jolteon-EX and Assault Laser to KO it with the help of Golbat and Crobat. If you can keep up this strategy, you can pull off the win.

The other major problem this matchup has is dealing with Rough Seas. Most M Manectric-EX decks are playing Rough Seas as a Stadium. This can cause a lot of problems when you need to place damage with Sneaky Bite and Suprise Bite. If you are careless, the opponent will be able to take off most of that extra damage and prevent you from scoring KOs. Plus, M Manectric-EX can keep accelerating attackers which makes it even more difficult for you to focus on one Pokemon to KO. The main strategy is to get a Head Ringer on your opponent’s Manectric-EX and Jolteon-EX as soon as possible and take OHKOs on any Shaymin-EX that may be on the Bench. You also need to properly time Golbat and Crobat’s Abilities in order to you take KOs; otherwise, they may just go to waste thanks to Rough Seas.

M Manectric-EX / Ho-Oh-EX

This is possibly one of my favorite decks to come out of the BREAKpoint release, and it may have a better matchups than the regular M Manectric-EX variant above. That being said, this matchup is easier for Manectric-EX / Crobat than it is for M Manectric-EX / Raikou. Even if the opponent plays Jolteon-EX, this version is not as streamlined as a straight Mega Manectric deck. It is generally a bit slower, but has a lot more tricks that it can pull off. Regardless, if the opponent does play a Jolteon-EX, the previous strategy still applies. Most variants that I have seen of the Ho-Oh deck do not run Rough Seas because it just isn’t as useful as in a regular Mega Manectric variant. This means that you can more safely use your Bats to deal damage and keep damage on the board. Ho-Oh-EX can be annoying to deal with, especially if it has a Fighting Fury Belt attached to it, but a well-timed Startling Megaphone will really help you out.

M Rayquaza-EX

This is, by far, your worst matchup. Unlike a lot of other decks where you have a chance in the early game, against M Rayquaza-EX, you simply have to hope they have a terrible first turn, otherwise you’re going to lose very quickly. The Parallel City only helps for about a turn and it is not difficult for the Rayquaza player to recover from it. I’ve also tried using Jirachi as a counter, but it wasn’t enough to help.


Greninja is also a bad matchup for this deck. Greninja‘s Shadow Stitching attack will constantly turn off Golbat and Crobat‘s Abilities, making Greninja difficult to KO. It’s even harder if Greninja gets the chance to BREAK evolve. In either case, your best defense is Hex Maniac, but unless you can stream it every turn, you may be out of luck.

Going first is, once again, a huge advantage. If you can get a lot of Zubat on the field on your first turn, then you may be able to keep Froakie off of the field long enough to come out with a win. This matchup depends almost solely on who sets up better and quicker. Fortunately, Greninja decks sometimes start off slowly.

Vileplume / Vespiquen

Vileplume can be a difficult deck to play against because of how quickly and easily it can get the turn one Item lock. The consistency and speed of its lock, as well as how hard it is capable of hitting, make it one of the best Item lock decks in the format. However, like all lock-based decks, it is possible for it to miss the lock on the first turn and it does have enough matchups where it struggles for victory. For this reason, it may appear as less of a threat than Seismitoad-EX or Trevenant.

To be honest, I don’t expect to see many Vileplume decks at States, but it is something that shouldn’t be overlooked. When I played against this deck at States, I didn’t know what I was going up against. Game one, I went first against his lone Combee and expected it to be a Vespiquen / Night March deck rather than the Vileplume version. As a result, I played too conservatively and was locked out of the game on turn two. During the second game I was able to lock a Shaymin-EX with a Head Ringer in the Active and sniped his Bench with Crobat for a quick win. The third game, he was able to get the lock on turn one, and my Sycamore didn’t get the Manectric-EX I was hoping to get. I was then locked out of the game once again. The only way to win this matchup is to hope that they whiff the lock early on so you can get set up.

Getting a Manectric-EX and a couple Zubats on the first turn is crucial to winning this matchup.


Defeating Trevenant is done practically the same way as defeating Vileplume. If you don’t play several copies of Rough Seas, you’re going to struggle against this deck. It is also important to burn through as much of your deck as possible on the first turn because you won’t have long before you are under Item lock.


I still believe that Manectric-EXCrobat is the best Manectric variant in the Standard format right now. It has the most consistency and positive matchups against the top decks in the meta right now. However, if you believe that your local meta will have a lot of Vileplume and/or Trevenant, then I would stay clear of playing this deck for States.

This concludes the public portion of this article.

If you'd like to continue reading, consider purchasing a PokeBeach premium membership! If you're not completely satisfied with your membership, you can request a full refund within 30 days.

Each week we post high-quality content from some of the game's top players. Our article program isn't a corporate operation, advertising front, or for-profit business. We set our prices so that we can pay the game's top players to write the best content for our subscribers. Each article topic is carefully selected, goes through multiple drafts, and is touched up by our editors. We take great pride in our program!