The Nationals Starter Pack — BREAKing the Meta and Good Ol’ Toad

Hello fellow Beachers! I don’t know if you saw my previous article, but I’m back again with more Nationals lists! I want to thank everyone who reads my articles from the bottom of my heart. I appreciate you more than you know!

Last article, I talked about Night March, Yveltal, and Bronzong BREAK. Today, I’ll give the rest of the lists that I’m testing as well as some analysis of the different matchups my group and I have been testing. This is initial testing, and only time will tell whether or not these lists will perform. However, from discussing the meta with good players and doing a lot of theorymon, this is what I’ve come up with, and hopefully my knowledge will help you guys feel more prepared as well! Today I am going to talk about Greninja BREAK, Trevenant BREAK, and Seismitoad-EX. These decks have been doing well in the games I have played thus far, and this article will shed some light on the intricacies of these powerhouses. Without further ado, let’s move onto the first deck that I plan to discuss.

Greninja is a fairly new deck that experienced some hype surrounding its release, but that hype seemed to fall off somewhat. However, many players recognize Greninja’s strength and versatility. It is also a really durable deck in the current meta, and by that I mean that it has few if any unfavorable matchups and no autolosses. It is a good deck to choose in order to survive a 14 round tournament like Nationals.


Pokemon (20)

2x Greninja BREAK (BKP #41)2x Greninja (BKP #40)2x Greninja (XY #41)4x Frogadier (BKP #39)4x Froakie (BKT #46)2x Jirachi (PRXY #XY67)1x Barbaracle (FAC #23)1x Binacle (FAC #22)1x Octillery (BKT #33)1x Remoraid (BKT #32)

Trainers (32)

4x Professor Sycamore (XY #122)3x N (NVI #92)1x Fisherman (BKT #136)1x Teammates (PRC #141)1x Lysandre (FLF #90)4x VS Seeker (PHF #109)4x Trainers' Mail (RSK #92)4x Dive Ball (PRC #125)3x Level Ball (AOR #76)1x Startling Megaphone (FLF #97)1x Sacred Ash (FLF #96)1x Energy Retrieval (BLW #92)4x Rough Seas (PRC #137)

Energy (8)

8x Water Energy (RS #106)

The Pokemon

To start off, I would like to point out that there are multiple variations of Greninja, as with any even somewhat established archetype. Some deckbuilders prefer to use Rare Candy instead of using Water Duplicates (Frogadier‘s attack) to set up the board in the early game. In my testing thus far, I have found the Frogadier list to be stronger against the current expected metagame because the Rare Candy version struggles against Item-lock decks like Trevenant and Seismitoad-EX. Frogadier’s Water Duplicates, even under Item-lock, can set up three to four Greninja the following turn. That’s so much value out of a single card! I included the 2 / 2 split of Greninja over the 3 / 1 because the Greninja from XY works a bit better with the Frogadier version. This combo would potentially allow the Greninja XY to safely sit on the Bench and use its Ability. Of course, this is the main focus of Greninja XY, because achieving consistent use of its Ability can really weaken our opponent’s Pokemon and set up easy KO’s.

Octillery is a consistency boost that fits well in the deck along with Dive Ball and Level Ball. In addition to this, the Octillery also makes this deck’s late game N much stronger, because it will never run out of cards, even after an N to one. Two Jirachi are included to beat Night March by discarding their Energy, and can buy time in other matchups which we can use to either set up multiple Greninja or flood the opponent’s field with spread damage using all of our Greninja’s Abilities. The most unusual choice in this deck is my decision to include the 1-1 Barbaracle line. The reason behind playing it is that it can really hurt decks like Night March that heavily rely on Special Energy cards. Our opponent could play around it by playing a Stadium or using Hex Maniac, but if they can’t access these cards they might potentially miss an entire turn of attacking, and if that happens, Barbaracle was well worth the inclusion. As the game goes on and our opponent uses the vast majority of their resources, it becomes less and less likely that they will have the Energy they want to attach and either a Hex Maniac or Stadium card. In the meantime, we will also be using N to make the odds that they miss an attack even more likely. The four Rough Seas are included to completely wreck Trevenant and support Barbaracle’s Ability.

The Supporters

We have a pretty standard lineup here, with a few one-of techs. Greninja is mostly about consistency, and creating a board state with several high HP non-EX’s that our opponent’s will struggle to KO. I love Fisherman, as it gets us back those valuable Water Energy very easily, and once the board is set up, that is often all that we need. We play three N for the same reason: our board setup is so good, the card is almost guaranteed to hurt our opponent more than it will hurt us. Teammates snags us two essential cards when a tiny Froakie goes down early.

The Trainers

What we have here is a lot of Pokemon search. Greninja is a super fun deck to play, in my opinion, since the playstyle is a bit different than all the big Basic decks we are used to nowadays. It revolves much more around retrieving evolved Pokemon from the deck in a prompt manner. That’s why we play seven Balls (Dragonball reference anyone?). If we flood the board with enough frogs, nothing can stop us! The other cards are designed to help us dig through the deck for our attackers. Startling Megaphone clears out any Tools that we don’t want to mess with. Sacred Ash is amazing in this deck! When our opponent thinks they’ve gone through all the frogs, we just bring them back to life. Energy Retrieval can be clutch in a situation where we can’t play Fisherman because we need to play another Supporter.

The Matchups

The Yveltal matchup is in Greninja’s favor because Greninja is a non-EX deck that can take advantage of the fact that the opponent will almost always have to play down at least one to two Pokemon-EX. In addition to this, the non-EX Pokemon that the Yveltal deck plays, such as Zoroark and Gallade, are not very efficient in this matchup for multiple reasons. Not only does Greninja have 170 HP which is difficult for the non-EX Pokemon to OHKO, Barbaracle can create situations where the opponent might not be able to consistently attack with these Double Colorless Energy reliant attackers. In contrast, Night March is a much faster deck, and can abuse Hex Maniac to deny the Greninja deck its crucial Abilities. In addition to this, it has Lysandre to take easy KO’s on crucial Pokemon in the early game. However, even all of this is usually not enough to swing the matchup in its favor. Jirachi in combination with N and the spread damage from Water Shuriken and Giant Water Shuriken make it very difficult for Night March deck to ever take six Prizes before the Greninja deck can.

Bronzong is also a good matchup simply because of Greninja from BREAKpoint and Rough Seas. Anything that stops Abilities really hurts Bronzong decks, and not only do we shut off Abilities, we also have Rough Seas to help remove any damage done to our Pokemon. If the Greninja player gets a turn three Shadow Stitching, it will be very hard for the Bronzong player to setup and consistently attack, especially since Genesect-EX‘s attack discards Energy that aren’t very easy for the deck to get back.

The Fighting / Carbink BREAK matchup is very to similar to the Yveltal matchup in the sense that Greninja has the upper hand simply because it is a non-EX deck and can take advantage of the two Prizes that Zygarde-EX and Regirock-EX give. In addition to this, Greninja is much more resource efficient, which can potentially allow the deck to outlast the Fighting deck and make relatively impressive comebacks if things really just don’t go well early.

Another big deck that I think we will see a lot of at Nationals is Trevenant. Luckily, this is also a favorable matchup, because Rough Seas essentially completely shuts down the Trevenant deck. All the Greninja player has to do is consistently attack and manage their Rough Seas well to ensure they don’t get into a situation where the Trevenant can win the Prize-trade by spreading damage and trapping useless Pokemon such as Octillery or Barbaracle.

The only slightly unfavorable popular matchup is M Manectric-EX. This is one of those Water / Lightning versus Water / Lighting matchups that will take forever because Rough Seas is healing 30 damage a turn, and both these Pokemon put out around 30 at a time. The main problem Greninja faces is killing a M Manetric-EX due to its 210 HP and Rough Seas allowing it to heal 30 damage every turn. Spreading damage to set up later KO’s is impossible. Obviously Moonlight Slash is the optimal attack as it does the most damage, the numbers work out well in the sense that two Moonlight Slashes and a Giant Water Shruiken KO a M Manectric-EX. However, while this is happening, we can’t start to spread damage to the opponent’s Bench, and they could be retreating between M Manectric-EX to deny us KO’s without using Lysandre. All of this is not taking Hex Maniac into account, which can truly change the game.

Next up is a truly scary deck: Trevenant. No one likes to face Item-lock, especially not before even getting to play a turn. I think Trevenant will be a popular choice for Nats, probably more popular than the other turn one Item-lock deck, Vileplume / Vespiquen.

This concludes the public portion of this article.

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