Around the World — Ten Strong Plays for the World Championships

Hello everyone! Alex back here with the crash course on the World Championships! For this go around, I’ll be giving you the quick hitting facts about the most popular decks heading into the weekend in San Francisco! I hope to see you all there, so make sure to come say hi! I’ll be the cute guy with the beard rocking the PokeBeach polo.

Excuse me while I talk about football again real fast. Last time I talked about the Broncos, we had just come off that Super Bowl win. I’m still holding on to that excitement, and will definitely be reminding people who the champions are in this up and coming season. That’s because the Broncos won’t be the same team as last year. We don’t have Peyton.

The Broncos have quite the difficult decision ahead of them; who will replace the greatest quarterback of all time? According to the media, the race at quarterback at training camp is dead even. I just hope that Mark “Butt Fumble” Sanchez isn’t the answer.

This decision is a big one for the Broncos, as it will determine where the next few seasons go. Sure, we still have that strong defense that will keep us in games, but without the sheriff, who knows where we’ll finish. This brings me to my decision of what to play for the World Championships. If you’re like me, you take forever to make a decision, and usually end up waiting too long and underperforming. I feel like my choice on deck is a lot harder than the Broncos decision at quarterback. If you’re like me, you’ve been researching everything possible on the internet to help in that selection process. To help you out, I’ve detailed my top picks going into the World Championships!

Excluded Decks

Now before I dive into the top ten decks I expect to see the most and be the best for the World Championships, I’m going to quickly go over why a few decks missed the cut. Don’t get me wrong, there is a very good chance that these decks will still see quite a bit of play, but in terms of seeing them in late rounds of the tournament, I think it’s almost safe to say your chances of playing against these decks are lower than the top 10.


To be honest, I’ve actually heard a little bit more hype behind this deck going into the World Championships. I’m not quite sure why, but if I had a guess, it would be to the expected shift in the metagame. I think people are jumping on the seemingly good matchup that this deck has against the top contender of Night March. I, like many others not on this mode of thinking, disagree with Greninja having a good Night March matchup. Night March players are likely to bump up to two copies of Hex Maniac going into San Francisco because of the mirrored hype of Trevenant. Night March can usually grab an early lead and then spam Hex Maniac until they win. It will see play, but I would be surprised to see it at the top tables.

M Manectric-EX

Alas, the deck that was going to be my number one pick for the World Championships was ruined by the lack of Karen. If you saw my previous article on my National Championships run, you would have read that I went 7-1 against things not named Night March, and 1-6 against things named Night March. If we had gotten Karen in our Worlds format, I would have teched a Seismitoad-EX or two into my Manectric build and been seemingly fine against my worst matchup. Since I expect to see almost 50% of the field playing Night March, I’m going to stay away from anything that has a difficult matchup against that deck.

M Rayquaza-EX

Speaking of decks that have a bad Night March matchup, I bring you M Rayquaza-EX. Not only did the lack of Karen hurt this decks chances against Night March, but the printing of Pokemon Ranger to deal with Jolteon-EX all but put a nail in the coffin of this matchup. I’m sure something like Altaria would help the Night March matchup, but I haven’t done enough testing or theory to prove otherwise. There might be a way to flip this matchup to a more even trade, but I think Night March has all the tools it needs right now to beat M Rayquaza-EX.

Top Decks For Worlds

As a disclaimer, these decks are in no order at all. If I can’t even think of what to play for myself, there’s no way I can tell you what decks trump other decks in terms of play. However, I can tell you what 10 decks to test against for World Championships. These are the decks decks that I would test my ideas against in a giant testing circle to be fully prepared for San Francisco.

For each deck I’ll be giving you the full run down of matchups, tech cards, and basically a quick overview of everything you need to know for and against the deck! For the matchup sections, I’ll be going over how they stack up against the other decks on this list. Let’s get started!

Night March

Skeleton List

Pokemon (14)

4x Joltik (PHF #26)4x Pumpkaboo (PHF #44)4x Lampent (PHF #42)2x Shaymin-EX (RSK #77)

Trainers (26)

3x Professor Sycamore (BKP #107)2x Lysandre (AOR #78)1x N (FAC #105)1x Hex Maniac (AOR #75)4x VS Seeker (PHF #109)4x Ultra Ball (FAC #113)4x Battle Compressor (PHF #92)2x Fighting Fury Belt (BKP #99)1x Target Whistle (PHF #106)1x Escape Rope (PRC #127)2x Dimension Valley (PHF #93)

Energy (4)

4x Double Colorless Energy (FAC #114)

Free Slots – 16

Good Matchups

Yveltal / Zoroark / Gallade

I’ve heard a lot of people think that this matchup is closer to even. I would disagree with those people, and it all has to do with the Prize-trade. As of late, Yveltal / Zoroark / Gallade players have been leaning toward a more non-EX centered build. Stuff like four Zoroark and multiple Gallade have rendered Yveltal-EX useless. However, those players haven’t completely abandoned Pokemon-EX, since they still play Shaymin-EX and Yveltal-EX. Night March has all the tools it needs to trade well with the big Pokemon-EX. The speed alone can be hard to deal with. You can’t out-trade Night March often.

Darkrai-EX / Giratina-EX

With the release of Pokemon Ranger, Giratina-EX is no longer a soft lock for dealing with Night March. To be fair, it never truly was, since a couple of Enhanced Hammer or Xerosic drops could get you out of the lock. Because of the reliance on strictly Pokemon-EX attackers, and Energy-acceleration based on Max Elixir, this matchup generally sways in the favor of Night March.

Bad Matchups


Turn one Item-lock is never a fun thing for Night March to have to deal with. Throw into the equation either Bursting Balloon or Hammers, and things are generally not going to swing in your favor. Without the aid of Fighting Fury Belt, a simple Silent Fear becomes a major liability in the matchup. Not to mention that Dimension Valley only clunk up your hand, since the Trevenant player will likely be dropping theirs early. No Items for Night March is really just a disaster.

Vileplume / Vespiquen

Like I said above, no Items for Night March is a disaster. Vespiquen / Vileplume has the most success of getting out that turn one and shutting down all Items. Missing the turn one can be fairly bad, since the trade doesn’t usually work in Vespiquen’s favor, since benching Shaymin-EX is a central part of the turn one lock. Recycling Double Colorless Energy is also a lot harder in Vileplume. Regardless, it’s still a favorable matchup for Vespiquen, since sitting that turn one Vileplume is rather easy.

Why Play This Deck

You want to win the World Championships. Seriously though, this deck has easily proven to be the best deck in the format by a long shot, something we haven’t had in quite some time. Even when Seismitoad-EX / Slurpuff was running through everyone, some people still held on to the belief that it wasn’t the best. With Night March, nobody can say that. Night March is the indisputable best deck in the format. At the World Championships, be prepared to play against nothing but Night March, and decks that counter Night March.

Why Not To Play This Deck

You’re scared that too many people are hyping it up. That’s the exact reason why I won’t be piloting this deck. The only way you don’t know about the success of Night March is if you took an adventure to the Moon for the last few months, and just got back and haven’t turned on your computer yet. Since everyone knows about how good this deck can be, many people are most likely going to elect to play counter decks. I’m scared that my luck will run dry and I’ll play against nothing but Trevenant BREAK and Vileplume.

Tech Cards

Oh man, where to start. The space in this deck is unreal, and with Puzzle of Time providing plenty of backup support, the possibilities are endless for tech cards. The two newest and most talked about techs are going to be Captivating Poke Puff and Pokemon Ranger. Poke Puff is going to be the alternative or supplement to Target Whistle, depending on if you want to play one or both. I’m of the belief that Target Whistle is going to be the better play, since it is guaranteed, and people will be too scared of Poke Puff to really effectively play around it. Pokemon Ranger is what takes Night March from good to great. Seismitoad-EX, Giratina-EX, and Jolteon-EX have always been the counter cards to Night March. Now that Pokemon Ranger takes away all three of those options, there is no stopping the potential of Night March.

Tech Cards Against Night March

Item-lock is pretty much the only tech at this point, and it’s not even a tech. Sure you could throw some Enhanced Hammer in your deck with hopes that the Night March player doesn’t have the response next turn, but how often does that happen? Your best bet is to use Enhanced Hammer and Xerosic in a deck that you can also tech in a Seismitoad-EX and hope you catch them with a dead hand. You have to either build your deck to counter Night March, or just take the autoloss to one of the biggest decks in the format.

Chances of Playing Against Night March

Super incredibly high! I wouldn’t be surprised to see over 50% of the players at the World Championships playing this deck. Think about that meta share for just a moment. If all the other decks on this list alone were played an equal amount, and mind you that’s not counting decks that aren’t on this list, the next highest total would be under 6% play rate. That’s insane. Pretty much, if you’re not playing Night March, you should at least play to beat it.

Alternative Versions

Straight Night March is probably the way to go for the World Championships, since Pokemon Ranger does the things that Vespiquen does for it, and then some. I’m sure there will still be a good portion of the playerbase still leaning toward playing Night March / Vespiquen, so make sure to be on the lookout for that as well. Other than that, the only other real version of the deck includes Maxie's Hidden Ball Trick and Gallade to deal with things like M Manectric-EX and Darkrai-EX. Having a bulkier attacker is never a bad thing, since most of the strategy of being Night March revolves around OHKO’ing all of the low HP Pokemon.

Other Articles on Night March

Water Box

Skeleton List

Pokemon (9)

3x Seismitoad-EX (FFI #20)2x Manaphy-EX (BKP #32)2x Shaymin-EX (RSK #77)1x Hoopa-EX (AOR #36)1x Regice (AOR #24)

Trainers (27)

4x Professor Sycamore (BKP #107)2x N (FAC #105)2x Lysandre (AOR #78)1x Hex Maniac (AOR #75)1x AZ (PHF #91)4x VS Seeker (PHF #109)4x Max Elixir (BKP #102)3x Energy Switch (GEN #61)2x Fighting Fury Belt (BKP #99)4x Rough Seas (PRC #137)

Energy (10)

10x Water Energy (GEN #77)

Free Slots – 14

Good Matchups


High HP, Rough Seas, and Item-lock, all of the things that Trevenant doesn’t like to see that Water Box has. The only thing the Water Box player has to do is draw into Supporters and Stadiums and the game is over. The low damage output of Trevenant can’t keep up with the healing of Water Box. The only real chance that Trevenant has in this matchup is to Red Card and Crushing Hammer in the same turn and hope the Water Box player draws dead from then on out.

Night March

This matchup actually swings one of two ways. If Night March plays Vespiquen, then Water Box can definitely struggle with the Grass Weakness of Seismitoad-EX. If it doesn’t play Vespiquen, then Seismitoad-EX and Articuno can turn the tides of games. An early Item-lock on Night March can be played around, but is still somewhat difficult to deal with. Articuno can take those clutch two Prizes in the mid to late game to switch the Prize-trade in the favor of the Water Box player.

Bad Matchups

Vileplume / Vespiquen

Vespiquen just cuts through Seismitoad-EX like it’s nothing. Vileplume will always have at least one turn of Items to compress all of the unwanted Pokemon so that Vespiquen can just take over games. Not having access to Max Elixir can also prove to be difficult for the Water Box player to struggle through.

Vespiquen / Bats

Just like above, Seismitoad-EX has a difficult time dealing with Vespiquen. The Bats don’t offer much to the matchup, but they can be used as early fodder to power up Bee Revenge. Or, if you’re feeling cute, you can try to use most of your Bat drops to take a Knock Out on a Shaymin-EX, since their only ways of healing off the damage are in the forms of Sky Return and AZ. Vespiquen / Bat decks also often opt to play Parallel City, another card that Seismitoad-EX really does not like to see.

Why Play This Deck

Consistency. That’s the biggest and best thing about this deck. With the high Energy count, you’re most always going to hit a Max Elixir. Playing Energy Switch is also one of the most satisfying feelings in the game. There’s just something about pulling off a cool Energy Switch play that makes this choice of deck worth running in a large tournament. Despite the same typing throughout the deck, there is surprisingly a lot of options. Even lesser cards like Aurorus-EX are viable in a deck like this to give you that one shot potential. You can tweak this deck to your liking in almost every way.

Why Not To Play This Deck

Matchups. Yes, this deck does have a lot of outs to a lot of decks, but generally speaking you don’t absolutely dominate any one matchup except for Trevenant, I would say most of the matchups hover around the 60 / 40 range. If you’re a good player, you can sway these numbers a tad in either direction, but most of the time you’re going to be fighting an uphill battle.

Tech Cards

I already mentioned Aurorus-EX as an amazing tech to get OHKO’s, but here I’m going to talk about Glalie-EX. I know that most Water Box lists like to run Fighting Fury Belt over Muscle Band, and I understand the thought process behind that. Glalie-EX does the same thing that Aurorus-EX does in providing the one shot, but Glalie-EX does it for one less Energy. Taking that tradeoff could be worth it at times, so it’s something to think about for sure. You could also tech in a random Giovanni's Scheme to hit some better numbers. Or heck, if you wanted to get really weird, you could also tech in a M Glalie-EX! Just spit balling ideas here.

Tech Cards Against Water Box

I’ve got two good ones for this matchup. The first is Pokemon Ranger to deal with the Item-lock of Seismitoad-EX. This deck relies fairly heavily on getting ahead early with Quaking Punch, tanking up the damage, then sweeping lategame with Grenade Hammer or a backup attacker. If you can break through that lock for even one turn, it will prove worth it. The second tech is Parallel City. The limited damage output of the bulk of the attackers in Water Box can really be capitalized on by reducing their damage even further. Plus, countering Rough Seas is a big part of the strategy in going against this deck. The more Stadiums you can play to counter Rough Seas, the better.

Chances of Playing Against Water Box

Honestly? I expect not very high chances of playing against this deck. The recent hype of teching in Vespiquen into Night March could really prove difficult for Water Box to find the upper tables. Taking a big negative matchup to the biggest deck in the format is something I wouldn’t do. Pokemon Ranger being released also didn’t help this deck’s chances of surviving through World Championships. I don’t think the metagame is quite properly positioned for Water Box to be a good play, and I believe a lot of people agree with me on that assessment of the meta.

Alternative Versions

This deck doesn’t get too weird too often, since consistency is the name of the game when it comes to Water Box. Outside of the occasional Aurorus-EX tech, I haven’t seen too many drastically different lists. There are some people trying to go with the Palkia-EX route, and while that may not be a terrible play, I just don’t think it’s all that necessary. I would rather Item-lock someone with my two early Energy attachments. Accelerating Energy has never been an issue for Water Box, so I feel like that version is a little redundant.

Other Articles on Water Box

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