A Day at a Time — A National Championship Review and Commentary on Time

Hello PokeBeach readers! With the National Championships coming and going once again, I am here to write about my experience at the 2016 National Championships, review some of the successful decks from the event, and go on a short rant about time and its effect on Pokemon as a whole. I hope all of you guys enjoyed your Nationals weekend, whether you spent it in Columbus battling it out, or watching the action from home! I know I really enjoyed it, it truly is an incredible experience. Anyways, without further ado, lets dive right in.

My Nationals Water Box List

Pokemon (11)

3x Seismitoad-EX (FFI #106)3x Shaymin-EX (RSK #77)2x Manaphy-EX (BKP #32)1x Hoopa-EX (AOR #36)1x Articuno (RSK #17)1x Regice (AOR #24)

Trainers (38)

4x Professor Sycamore (XY #122)2x N (NVI #92)2x Lysandre (FLF #90)1x AZ (PHF #91)1x Hex Maniac (AOR #75)4x VS Seeker (PHF #109)4x Ultra Ball (DEX #102)4x Trainers' Mail (RSK #92)4x Max Elixir (BKP #102)3x Energy Switch (RS #82)3x Fighting Fury Belt (BKP #99)1x Super Rod (BKT #149)1x Startling Megaphone (FLF #97)4x Rough Seas (PRC #137)

Energy (11)

11x Water Energy (DP #125)

Card Choices

Three Shaymin-EX

This usually isn’t so I can Set Up three times in the first turn or two, but I have done that before for sure. The main reason as to why I included an “extra” Shaymin-EX is to avoid only having one to work with in the early game if I start or prize a Shaymin-EX. In addition to this, having the third Shaymin-EX around at the end of the game helps to play around cards such as N, Judge, and Delinquent. I will end this short explanation by saying I think three Shaymin-EX was absolutely correct in the format Nationals was played in and will probably always be the correct amount in Water Box.

Hex Maniac

It actually blows my mind when I see Water Box lists that don’t include this card. It has a bunch of clutch uses, such as slowing down Night March decks, opposing Water Box decks, and Vespiquen decks. In addition to this, it makes it pretty hard to lose to Metal because you can Hex Maniac on the turn you clear their board of Energy. Another reason I have found Hex Maniac to be so strong is because it gives you a turn of Items against Vileplume and Trevenant decks, which is usually all you need to secure a win.

Trainers’ Mail

This card is one that wasn’t in all of the Nationals deck lists, which I personally think is just wrong. It removes a lot of consistency and explosiveness from the deck. In this situation, I actually think the explosiveness is actually the more important piece that is being lost, which some people don’t seem to realize.


Night March

This is pretty favorable as long as you manage the board correctly. This means retreating between Seismitoad-EX at the right time while manipulating damage with Rough Seas. In addition to this, aiming to use Hex Maniac if you go first is definitely something that should be done. Finishing the game off with Articuno is a viable strategy, but honestly it doesn’t happen as much as one might think. I personally play pretty defensively though so a more aggressive player might be willing to use Articuno a bit more often.


This is a matchup that you want to abuse Lysandre and Hex Maniac in. They are key for preventing your opponent from taking Prizes, and allow you to build up quite the board while you Quaking Punch a Bronzor or Bronzong for two to three turns. In addition to this, whenever you take a Knock Out and clear your opponent’s field of Energy, Hex Maniac can be used to prevent Metal Links from powering up another attacker that turn. Another key card in this matchup is Startling Megaphone, as Float Stone sitting on their hefty Bench sitters really swings the matchup if they get a good enough start.


This is the matchup that I wish I could have played against every single round. I ended up only playing against one, and got the expected outcome of a 2-0 win. It is just really hard for the Trevenant player to overcome Quaking Punch while you are able to heal a ton of the damage they do via Rough Seas and Manaphy-EX‘s Mineral Pump.

Darkrai-EX / Giratina-EX

In theory, this matchup actually seems like it should be pretty favored for the Darkrai-EX deck, however, when the matchup is actually played, it is in favor of the Water Box deck. Some of the finer details and seemingly minuscule interactions between these decks are pretty key when it comes to the damage output of the Darkrai-EX deck. Rough Seas and Fighting Fury Belt make it so that your Seismitoad-EX are much beefier than they seem, in addition to this, Startling Megaphone reduces your opponent’s damage output while also making it significantly easier to take KO’s yourself. Quaking Punch is definitely the way to go in the early game, and it should always be used when setting up for a KO with Grenade Hammer. Water Box also has the option of using Lysandre on a Pokemon-EX with no Energy attached, and trapping it by repeatedly using Quaking Punch. The Pokemon will always be stuck there for at least one turn, unless the opponent happens to have the one AZ they sometimes play. This allows you to get a few more Energy on the board before having to combat their scarier attackers, which can make all of the difference if you start trading attacker for attacker.

My Nationals Recap

I would like to start by saying that if you want to watch me play some Pokemon, I played three matches and gave an interview on the official Pokemon stream last weekend. You can watch all this action and more under the past broadcast section on Twitch. Here’s how my National Championship run went.

My final record was 9-1-5. Even if I could do it over again, I would 100% play the exact same 60 cards I played the first time around. I absolutely love Water Box, and think it was the strongest play for the event.

Naionals Overview

The most popular decks of day two of U.S. Nationals were Night March, Trevenant, and Water Box. With these decks having the most success, they will be the ones I take a look at in this article. Since I have already shared my Water Box deck list and gave some analysis on it, I will now go over Trevenant and Night March.

This concludes the public portion of this article.

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