World Domination — An Analysis of State Championships and the New Legacy Format



Welcome Beach goers! Let me introduce myself: I am in the Senior division in the United States of America. I have been playing since around the release of Plasma Storm and competitively since the end of City Championships this year. My only major achievement is piloting a Seismitoad-EX  / Greninja  / Archie's Ace in the Hole  deck to a 9th place finish in PokeBeach’s February Tournament. Without further adieu, let me introduce the topics of the day: an analysis of weeks one and two of State Championships and some predictions for the legacy format.


States Analysis

What comes out of the first weeks of State Championships? If we take some statistics, Night March is by far the best deck. In weeks one and two of State Championships, there were 20 events. Night March won half of the events in the Masters division. It is insane that a deck can have a 50% win rate! All of the other decks that won an event won two events, making a 10% win rate. Week one saw a major 50% presence between Night March and Yveltal-EX  variants in the Top 8. Week two saw different decks do well, with the combined presence of the two aforementioned decks dropping down to about 42%. Out of 48 cuts, 15 went to Night March and 5 to Yveltal-EX variants.


Interestingly, there are currently 11 decks with one Top 8 appearance. The deck that stands out the most to me is the Wailord-EX deck that  made cut. At its core, it is the same deck that showed up nine months ago to take the U.S. National Championships by storm. It aims to simply deck the opponent out by using the speed of the format against the format. The deck has gained a new tool in the form of Fighting Fury Belt. This tool gives Wailord-EX a whopping 290 HP! This brings the amount of pokemon that can realistically one-shot the whale down to a single pokemon: Vespiquen. The most troubling and fast variant, Vespiquen / Vileplume, is extremely reliant on the special Double Colorless Energy (DCE). This means that Aegislash-EX can wall against it. One of the proposed counters to this would be to tech in a Silent Lab. One of the only counters to that counter would be Ninetales to lock a different stadium in place and then deny your opponent the ability to play down Silent Lab. Another strategy employed in order to beat this deck is to just stockpile cards in their hand and then play a shuffle supporter; Judge for example, to put all of those cards back into the deck. A counter to this would be to play Durant to discard an opponent’s hand down to 4 cards.


So, how has the Night March deck gone about winning the many State Championships it has? It uses Battle Compressor to discard the number of Night Marchers needed in order to score an OHKO on its opponent. Battle Compressor can also be used to discard targets for VS Seeker, Puzzle of Time, and, if it is teched, Maxie's Hidden Ball Trick. It has abused the popular engine of Ultra Ball, Shaymin-EX, Professor Sycamore, and Trainers' Mail to get almost any card it needs. After a KO, it can use Teammates to find revenge KO, and if it can already be achieved with the cards on the board, a Lysandre to take out a benched Shaymin-EX to put itself even further ahead in the prize exchange. It is a common sight to see the deck abuse Puzzle of Time late game in order to retrieve its precious DCEs and Night Marchers if necessary. If everything goes well for Night March, it well attack starting on Turn one going second or Turn two going first and it will attack on three consecutive turns for three EX knockouts. If you are planning on attending any week 3 or week 4 State Championships, it would be foolish to appear without an answer to Night March.


On top of that there are few good ways to counter it. There is no consistent way of never giving Night March any items for the entire game without having a bad match-up elsewhere or being extremely prone to bad starts. Trevenant is very iffy on hitting a T1 Trevenant, and even then, there is still only a 50% chance of the deck going first in the first place. Trevenant can also lose relatively easily if any player loops sky returns on a Shaymin-EX. The only other consistent option is Vespiquen / Vileplume, which is prone to having extremely bad starts. It is an extremely strong deck if it goes first and starts with a good hand. In his first place report, Josh “Squeaky” Marking talks about a game where he starts a hand of 3 out of 4 DCE, his only energy, and a Sycamore, so, in order to have even a chance of getting set-up, he would be down to a single DCE, if the last one was not prized. However, if Night March goes first, they have a good shot at winning because they usually only need one turn of Items to truly go off.


Possibly the only other counter in the format is using Giratina-EX to block special energies from being played, however, the Night March player can simply play an Enhanced Hammer, and then use Puzzle of Time to reuse the Enhanced Hammer if they are playing a ToadTina build. In a Metal/Dragons build, Night March can Enhanced Hammer to get rid of Double Dragon Energy  and, if the Metal/Dragons misses a Chaos Wheel and Night March takes a KO, the Night March can also use Hex Maniac to shut off an Aegislash-EX that the Metal/Dragons player might send up and Bronzong so they can not set up a Giratina EX in a single turn. Against FairyTina, you can use Enhanced Hammers to discard their special energies.


Another strategy that is possible to use non-EX pokemon to swing the prize trade away from Night March’s favor. This is extremely difficult to do because of Fighting Fury Belt. This make Pumpkaboo have 100 HP and Joltik have 70 HP. While these numbers are not extraordinarily high, it prevents a lot of important strategies employed against Night March. This makes Yveltal have to hit a Pumpkaboo once with a Muscle Band or twice without and it makes so a Joltik can withstand 2 hits against a Yveltal with Muscle Band or 3 hits without one! Shaymin-EX can never Sky Return for a KO. Greninja BREAK uses abilities, so a Hex Maniac can shut that down. One of the only other options is to use Garchomp and Focus Sash, but Night March usually runs a Startling Megaphone and/or Xerosic so it can keep up in the prize exchange if an opponent tries to cheat the prize trade in this way.


The Great Compressor Debate 


In order to quell the intense power of Night March, some players have suggested banning Battle Compressor. I disagree with this option. At this point, Battle Compressor has become a consistency card. How often do you see someone Battle Compressor a draw or tech Supporter with VS Seeker later on in the game! Also, with any strategy that aims to accelerate Energy from the discard. Cards like M Manectric-EX, Bronzong, Dark Patch, and Eelektrik would all be far weaker without Battle Compressor. Night March would also, obviously, disappear off the face of the earth, along with the Vespiquen variants.


I do not believe this would be healthy for the format. Seismitoad-EX and Manectric-EX / Crobat variants would become extremely over-powered because the format would slow down. Without Battle Compressor, Night March wouldn’t be able to take the Toad down on turn one. Vespiquen variants, Seismitoad’s other big threat, would also become significantly weaker. Even though I entered the game after the dominance of Seismitoad-EX, I have come to dislike the card and would highly appreciate not having another format dominated by Seismitoad.


I do; however, believe that Night March is a problem. My solution is to ban Pumpkaboo, Joltik, and Lampent. This would rid the world of Night March without disturbing the rest of the Meta too much. Vespiquen / Vileplume would see a decrease in play as there is no need to counter Night March. The combos involving Archie’s Ace In The Hole and Maxie’s Hidden Ball Trick would remain mostly unharmed and whole giving many of the tier two decks like Greninja BREAK see play. Trevenant would still not see play due to Yveltal still existing, unharmed.


Legacy Format

As the new Legacy format, I believe it is appropriate to go over a bunch of the cards that I predict will be good. For those of you who do not know, this is a new format that is replacing the Unlimited format as the “fun” format online. It is going to be from the Hear Gold Soul Silver set to Black & White: Legendary Treasures.


The Good


This card is just so good. For two Colorless Energy, it deals 20 times the amount of Energy attached to both active pokemon. It can do so much damage on just a Double Colorless Energy (DCE). Additionally, a player could just load a whole bunch of energy onto one Mewtwo to sweep if the opponent cannot come up with a response in a few turns. Even in the extremely fast Expanded format, it has been able to find a place in a successful deck.


Shaymin UL / Pachirisu CL / Zekrom-EX


These are a bunch of cards that come in pairs. This idea is similar to the ZPST deck of late 2011 and early 2012. The entire game plan is to use Pachirisu’s Poke-Power, Self-Generation, to attach two Lightning Energies to itself and then use Shaymin’s Poke-Power, Celebration Wind, to move the Energies to the Zekrom-EX. Then, you can attach a DCE to Zekrom and play a Hypnotoxic Laser and a Virbank City Gym. You can then use Zekrom’s attack, Strong Volt, to deal 150 damage. After adding the 30 poison damage, your opponent will be at 180 damage, instantly KOing any EX pokemon. Now remember that this is all on the first turn of the game, assuming you go second. The problem is that Zekrom’s attack forces you to discard 2 energy attached to it, making for a difficult after the first turn of game if your opponent gets more than one basic by the end of their first turn. This could possibly be fixed by using Eelektrik to reattach Lightning Energy, but by that point, your Bench is clogged.




This card has seen major success in the past with Eelektrik NVI and Emboar. For a Lightning Energy and a Fire Energy, you can use Dragon Burst to deal 60 damage times the amount of basic Fire Energy or basic Lightning Energy you discard. So with Eelektrik, you can use Keldeo-EX to get Rayquaza-EX to the bench, attach 3 Lightning Energy with Eelektriks, and deal 180 damage to KO an EX every turn. With Emboar, you just make it rain Fire Energies to do however much damage you need.


Keldeo-EX / Blastoise / Black Kyurem-EX


This is a relatively simple combo. Get out a Blastoise and use Deluge, its ability, to attach as much Water Energy as you need. Then, use Keldeo-EX for good mobility with Rush In and Float Stone. From there, you can either use Keldeo-EX’s Secret Sword attack to do 50 damage plus 20 for each water energy attached. To do much meaningful damage, you need six Water Energy, so you will probably be using more of Black Kyurem-EX. For a Lightning Energy, two Water Energies, and a Colorless Energy, you do 200 damage, but have to discard three energy. You can use Superior Energy Retrieval to get them back after you attack so you can stream attacks more easily. Back when it was popular, during 2013 and 2014, most variants of this deck used the Topical Beach Stadium to set up well. Garbodor could also cause you problems due to your reliance on abilities, but Tool Scrapper could be used to alleviate this problem.


Magnezone Prime


This card defined the end of the 2010-2011 season, so it must be good. It has the incredible Poke-Power, Magnetic Draw, which allows you to draw until you have six cards in your hand. As if that weren’t enough, it also has the attack Lost Burn. For a Lightning Energy and a Colorless Energy, it allows you to send any energy on your side of the field to the Lost Zone. It then does 50 times the number of Energy Cards sent to the Lost Zone. For those of you who do not know, the Lost Zone is like the Discard Pile, except once something is in there, it can not be recovered. I believe that this is best played with Rayquaza-EX and Eelektrik NVI. Rayquaza allows for an alternative attacker if you fear running out of energy to Lost Burn. I believe that Silver Bangle is going to be huge in this type of deck because it will allow a Magnezone to achieve two prizes for a three energy Lost Burn, or a one to one and a half prize to energy ratio. This makes it possible to win with only nine Energy. I still believe most decks of this type will run around 12 Lightning Energy and three Fire Energy.


Darkrai-EX / Sableye

This is a card so strong, it won two World Championships (2012-Igor Costa and 2013-Jason Kaczynski). Darkrai has the ability called Dark Cloak, which allows any pokemon with a Dark Energy to retreat for free. It has the attack, Night Spear, for two Dark Energy and a Colorless Energy deals 90 damage to the active and deals 30 damage to a benched pokemon. With Dark Claw, a Muscle Band for Dark pokemon, and Hypnotoxic Laser, it becomes 140 damage and adds up to 170 damage coming back into your turn if your opponents does not switch or retreat. Dark Patch (attach a discarded Dark Energy to a Dark pokemon) allows you to power up quickly as well. One of the only drawbacks about this card is the bad weakness to fighting; however, it has a beefy 180 hit points. Sableye allows you to reuse the Item cards like Hypnotoxic Laser, Dark Patch, Energy Switch, or Dark Claw that you have played. One common counter is Terrakion. It can be played around through the use of poison damage, as it only activates when damage from an attack KOs a pokemon.




This was a basix pokemon that Darkrai decks had to play around for the longest time. For a Fighting Energy and a Colorless Energy it could deal 30 damage. However, if a pokemon were knocked out by damage from an opponent’s attack, the aptly named Retaliate attack does 90 damage. And, don’t forget that as a fighting type, 90 times two equals 180, enough to KO any fighting weak EX pokemon. If you attach another Fighting Energy, you can use Rock Tumble to deal 90 damage and get a KO on another fighting weak EX pokemon. It hits all of the perfect math!


Ho-Oh-EX / Attackers / Shaymin UL / Ninetales HS


This is going to be good because both Junk Arm and Ultra Ball exist to get Energy and Ho-Oh into the discard to abuse Ho-Oh’s ability, Rebirth. On a coin flip, it puts Ho-Oh with three different types of basic Energy onto the Bench. It can also use Rainbow Burn to do 20 damage plus 20 more damage for each different type of Energy, but usually, Ho-Oh is just used for Energy acceleration. After you hit heads on Rebirth, you use Shaymins to move the Energy onto an attacker. Ninetales has an ability that allows you to discard a Fire Energy and draw three cards. This could be used as an additional way to get Energy into the discard.




This card will probably be good so long as it can be played. To put in perspective how good it is, it won US Masters National Championships in 2013 and it won Senior World Championships in 2014. For a DCE, it can use Deck and Cover to deal 50 damage and inflicts auto poison and paralysis, however you must shuffle it into the deck. Typically, it has been used with Vileplume, Gothitelle, and Trevenant to block switching items. One of the only card to ever cause Accelgor problems was Virizion-EX because it blocks status conditions.




This is probably the most Meta dependent card I am going to talk about today. The attack that will be used most often is Hammerhead, which deals 30 to the active and 30 to the bench for a single Fighting Energy; however, its second attack, Land’s Judgment, could be used to nuke a threat off the field you need gone that very instant. It could be good as a sort of attacker against a Darkrai-EX, or early pressure against any evolving deck.




This could be good. Why? LaserBank and Garbodor. This card can do Blow Through for a DCE to deal 30, with an extra 30 if there is a stadium in play. It can also use the attack Power Blast to deal 100 damage with an energy discard off a coin flip. During States of 2013, it was often paired with cards like Mewtwo-EX and Landorus-EX in a Big Basics deck. Garbodor could make any deck that relies on abilities rather clunky and could slow the opponent down


Eelektrik NVI


This card has so much potential because of its ability, Dynamotor. Once per turn, Dynamotor allows you to attach a Lightning Energy to a benched pokemon. This allows you to consistently hit a three Energy Lost Burn with Magnezone Prime or a three Energy Dragon Burst. It also allows you to drop a surprise Terrakion and power it up in one turn or drop a five Energy surprise Mewtwo-EX.



It allows you to rain down as many Fire Energy you like on any given turn. It’s good if you can set it up.




This one is another simple one. If you have a tool attached, you block all abilities, but not Poke-Powers and Poke-Bodies. It’s so disruptive it’s good!


Vileplume / Gothitelle


These are the two forms of item lock in the format. Vileplume does it to everybody as long as it’s on the field and Gothitelle does it to your opponent, but only when it is in the active position. I feel Gothitelle / Accelgor will be popular if neither Garbodor nor Virizion-EX is popular.


Dusknoir / Reuniclus


Dusknoir moves damage counters around your opponent’s board and Reuniclus does the same for your side of the board. I predict that Dusknoir will be big and Reuniclus will not. This is simply because Dusknoir allows you to force a situation were you opponent will be eternally locked due to a paralysis chain and then being never KOed due to Dusknoir. Reuniclus cannot do that.



Due to the use of Junk Arm and Ultra Ball in the format, I almost guarantee this card being at least a one-of in every single deck.




This card will be played in any deck that does not require extensive bench space, and will once again be a huge card.


Smeargle / Cleffa


This is a case where you either play one of them or the other. Smeargle’s Poke-Power, Portrait, allows you to take a look at your opponent’s hand, choose a supporter card, and play it. This gives a constancy boost to any deck, however, you must be careful when you use Portrait because you must choose a supporter if you find one. This can cause you to Professor Juniper away hand you want to keep or even N yourself to 1 card. Cleffa is a much safer option. It’s attack, Eeeeeeeek, for no Energy, allows you to shuffle your hand into your deck and draw six cards. Then you fall asleep. This, however, is a good thing because Cleffa’s Poke-Body, Sweet Sleeping Face, makes it so that Cleffa cannot be damaged when it is asleep.




This Ninetales pretty much has Lysandre in the form of an ability. I am almost certain this will be good because it is the only card in the format that will always be able to pull out a benched pokemon without a coin flip. It will also be good in decks that use the other Ninetales.




Ditto has a Poke-Body that allows your opponent to have only 4 benched pokemon. This card is an interesting tech card for decks that do not require much bench space. It would make it so that your opponent could 3 eels and 2 attackers, which could be awkward for them.


Level Ball / Ultra Ball / Dual Ball


Level ball will probably be run in evolution decks and Ultra ball will probably be played in other decks. Dual Ball will probably be played in the Zekrom deck I was previously talking about in order to get the pokemon you need without using a supporter like Pokemon Collector.


Silver Bangle


I feel that his card will be crucial to any Non-EX deck just because it is one of the only good ways to deal extra damage.


Switch / Float Stone


Float Stone gives a pokemon free retreat. Switch switches your active pokemon with a benched pokemon. This is simple: if you run Keldeo, run Float Stone, if not, run switch. The reason: Switch is more Junk Armable than Float Stone (Switch goes to the discard after you play it, Float stone does not)


Computer Search / Dowsing Machine


There is almost no reason to play Dowsing Machine. It is a slightly better version of Junk Arm. Computer search; however, is a huge consistency boost.


Junk Arm

It lets you discard 2 cards from your hand in order to get back any trainer (item) card in your discard. It is just to good to not play four of them. Period. Too Good.


Hypnotoxic Laser / Virbank City Gym (LaserBank)


It’s like three plus power in one card that has a chance of sleep. It is really good a making numbers match, simply put.


Plus Power


Another damage modifier, this one just adds 10 damage BEFORE weakness/resistance. It can help a lot with making weakness math work.


Lost Remover


This card just works. It sends a special Energy immediately to the lost zone. I believe it will be big, but it will be equal to Enhanced Hammer.


Random Receiver

This card allows you to flip over cards until you find a supporter card. I expect this to be a 2-3-of in every deck due to Junk Arm. It will be a big boost to consistency due to Junk Arm being able to get it back.




This is going to be a major draw supporter. Early game, you draw 5 or 6 cards and late game it can force your opponent down to 1 or 2 cards before their draw.


Professor Oak’s New Theory (PONT)


I expect this to be another major draw major draw supporter of the format because it consistently allows players to shuffle-draw 6 cards no matter what the circumstances. It is good, consistent, draw.




This card has you shuffle in your hand and draw one card for every benched pokemon in play. This will probably be the strongest draw supporter in the format because most of the decks have many support pokemon in them.


Professor Juniper


It makes you discard your hand and draw 7 cards. It is really, really good.




This card will probably be played in stage 2 decks in order to grab a crucial rare candy or another crucial combo card.


Pokemon Collector


This card will probably be played in almost every deck because it allows you to get any basics you need. Need your attackers? Sure. Need some basics? Go get ‘em. It is a perfect fit for any deck!



Skyarrow Bridge


This will probably be played in every deck that does not run LaserBank. It allows for the easy retreat of most of the format giants. It also allows Smeargle to be a viable starter by giving it free retreat.


Double Colorless Energy (DCE)


The energy I have been talking about throughout the entire article, it is just too got to pass up. Back in the day, you could drop a Mewtwo-EX, a DCE, and a plus power to OHKO a Mewtwo-EX with a DCE.


Rainbow Energy / Prism Energy / Blend Energies

These Energies will probably be useful regardless of the format in which they exist. The just power-up a huge variety of attackers quite simply. Rainbow counts as any Energy, but the pokemon it gets attached to takes 10 damage when it is attached. Prism Energy counts as any Energy, so long as the pokemon the Energy is attached to is a basic pokemon. There are two Blend Energies. One is the WLFM (Water, Lightning, Fighting, and Metal) and the other is GRPD (Grass, Fire, Psychic, and Dark). These Energies always count as just those four types of Energies, no matter the pokemon.


The Maybe


Kyogre Groudon Legend (KGL) / Blastoise BCR


This deck is purely a fun deck, it seems. KGL has an attack that discards the top 5 cards of your opponents deck and then does 30 times the number of energy discarded to the benched pokemon. You would spam this attack to deck-out your opponent, or you could use Dusknoir BCR in order to create KOs. Blastoise would be used to pay for the hefty Energy cost of two Water Energy and two Colorless Energy. You could also abuse Life Dew, Rescue Energy, Junk Arm, and Energy Recovery cards to force your opponent to take six prizes on 150 HP pokemon, and deal a total of 900 HP. It seems like a fun idea…


Plasma Variants


I do not believe these will be very popular because they fail to hit numbers like it does with Muscle Band. Lugia-EX will probably need four Deoxys-EX and at least a single PlusPower to be effective. Thundurus-EX and Kyurem deal an awkward 70 damage and need Hypnotoxic Laser to be very effective. It could be the BDIF, but I don’t see it that way.


Virizion-EX / Genesect-EX

This is another deck I fear will not hit numbers well without Muscle Band. Emerald Slash plus Megalo Cannon only hits for 150, not the sweet 170 damage mark it hits with Muscle Band.




This one could easily shake up to be in the Good Category. It has the ability Diving Draw, which allows you to discard a card from your Hand and draw two cards. It’s attack, Attack Command, does 10 damage for every pokemon in play for a single Water Energy. Slap on a Bangle and a play a LaserBank combo with two full Benches and you are taking a KO with a non-EX on EXes for a single Energy.


Tropical Beach

I do not think that this card will see much play due to Cleffa. It is still a very good card; I just believe Cleffa outclasses it.


Pokemon Communication


This one is just awkward. Maybe it will work in evolution decks to be able to get the correct stage, but I doubt that will happen since we have better search options in this format.


Rescue Energy

I feel that his energy will be good if stage 2 attackers become a major thing as being able to return the whole evolution line is a very useful ability.


The Bad (That was previously good)


Yanmega Prime


This card has a Poke-Body that allows it to attack for free if you can match hand sizes with your opponent. This is good. It has two relatively mediocre attacks, however. Its first attack, Linear Attack, deals a 40 damage snipe and its second attack, Sonic Boom, deals 70 damage, unaffected by weakness, resistance, or any other effects on the defending pokemon. In the current format, it just does not deal enough damage to keep up.


Donphan Prime


This card falls for the same problem as Yanmega Prime. Donphan can be a good tank because of its Poke Body, Exoskeleton, which reduces all damage taken by 20, but it has a rather mediocre 120 hit points. It has Earthquake, which deals 60 for one fighting energy and then deals 10 damage to all of your benched pokemon. It also can deal 90 for three, but I doubt it will often see the field for that long to power it up. It could offer fighting type coverage, but Terrakion NVI or Landorus EX is almost always better.


Dragons (AKA Reshiram, Zekrom, Kyurem)


The very simple reason these guys are bad is just because they are outclassed by other cards that deal more damage. 30 damage spread is not too useful, and 120 damage is not a huge number when there are drawbacks like Reshiram and Zekrom do.


Typhlosion Prime

It has the Poke-Power Afterburner that is pretty much Dynamotor. So why is it so much worse? It is a stage 2 where Eelektrik is a stage 1. While Typhlosion can attach anywhere, the pokemon that the Energy gets attached to takes 10 damage. Logistically, Typhlosion is much worse than Eelektrik.


Super Scoop Up


There are no cards that need to be picked up to heal or reuse Poke Powers. It might be good if you are running Shaymin UL.


Initial Thoughts


This format seems to be one of the most balanced format we have had in a while. It has minimal Item lock, strong stage twos, and powerful basics, and good draw support.


Best Regards and good luck in the new format,