Testing for Worlds has been interesting to say the least. With Worlds’ awfully stale format without the printing of Karen, we’re left with a format that Pokemon attempted to get us to think creatively in with the release of Steam Siege for Worlds, however, Night March decks and the Item-lock decks that counter them still reign supreme.
I’ve been testing all sorts of stuff, however, my standbys are always going to be either Trevenant or Night March. I feel that Night March has been written about quite enough and I think that Trevenant and the way that it is built is interesting and can be looked into quite a bit. These past few weeks I’ve been testing Trevenant variants and I’ve been very impressed with this deck. With two finishes in the Top 8 at Nationals, and with consistently good performance ever since Trevenant BREAK came out, Trevenant is a deck that will be a solid play especially because of its good match up against Night March.
Of course, we should probably discuss the topic of Night March’s dominance at this year’s World Championships and what it will do to shape the metagame. The release of cards such as Pokemon Ranger, Special Charge, and Captivating Poke Puff has turned Night March into a monster. I will leave the discussion of Night March to our two newest writers, Nick Robinson and Eric Gansman in their upcoming articles. For this article, I’ll write about the deck that should theoretically counter Night March.
The Dominance of Night March
Night March has been a force all season that has adapted to using more than four Double Colorless Energy in different ways. At Cities, it was Milotic, at States, it was Puzzle of Time. However, it seems with each new set coming out, Night March had something to gain. Obviously Puzzle of Time‘s inclusion in BREAKpoint is what caused Night March to be the truly dominant deck at States, however, it didn’t stop gaining from the inclusions of different cards in sets. Mew making an appearance in Fates Collide surely didn’t hurt the deck and now with Steam Siege, we have more ridiculous cards that addresses Night March’s struggles against specific cards. Pokemon Ranger is just absurd since it gives Night March an out against cards such as Jirachi and Giratina-EX. It even helps against attackers such as Jolteon-EX. Those cards that Night March struggled against were still beatable for Night March however. So Pokemon Ranger’s inclusion should make it even harder for those cards to counter Night March and should make Night March all the more dominant.
Special Charge is a potentially broken card. I don’t feel that Special Energy should ever be recycled like that. Special Energy always had an achilles heel in that they were limited to four in any deck. Special Charge is an incredibly good card, even with Puzzle of Time in a Night March deck, however, I don’t feel like its inclusion is absolutely necessary. With four Double Colorless Energy, you should easily be able to take a Pokemon-EX Knock Out or two. Even if your Energy is being knocked off by Jirachi and Enhanced Hammer, you can always chain a Puzzle of Time to get back two more Double Colorless Energy. Your four copies of Double Colorless Energy alone should be able to net you six Prizes through Pokemon-EX Knock Outs, especially since you can force Shaymin-EX down with Captivating Pokepuff.
Captivating Poke Puff is however, the most interesting card that will be an addition to this deck. I think it is incredibly valuable in the mirror match since it provides many benefits.
- It allows you to look at your opponent’s hand.
- It allows you to burn their Shaymin-EX.
- It clogs their Bench with Pokemon they don’t want for the matchup.
This sort of acts like Target Whistle in that it allows you to force a Pokemon-EX Knock Out, even if your opponent is playing the matchup very well and not benching Pokemon-EX gems for you to Knock Out. I play both Target Whistle and Captivating Poke Puff in my Night March list. This makes it very hard for a Shaymin-EX that ends up in someone’s hand to get away.
Night March mirrors will become very interesting with the inclusion of Captivating Poke Puff. Scouting an opponent’s hand alone is a solid use of Captivating Poke Puff. An N and a Pokepuff play could net a Shaymin-EX being wastefully benched.
This article isn’t about Night March though like I mentioned before, I’ll let the other talented writers on our staff write about that. This blurb was more of an introduction to the Ghostly Tree that this article is really about.
The Variants of Trevenant
Trevenant was a nice wall to hide behind in the past for cards such as Gengar-EX and Donphan, but with the Trevenant BREAK evolution, it has evolved into it’s own incredibly solid attacker. Using Dimension Valley, you can spread three damage counters across all of your opponent’s Pokemon for only one Energy. You effectively put your opponent on a timer, Silent Fearing until all of their Pokemon get Knocked Out. Trevenant also slows the game state down to achieve this goal with its Forest Curse ability.
There are two schools of thought with Trevenant decks. The first one uses Energy denial to slow the opponent down. Crushing Hammer and Team Flare Grunt are the stars of this version. This variant of Trevenant took two spots in the Top 8 of U.S. Nationals, so it is for sure something to consider. This version denies your opponent the ability to attack you and makes your opponent draw poorly with cards like N and Red Card. By combining those two with the Item-lock in the deck, it’s very apparent why this version of the deck is so potent.
The more “standard” version of the deck that did incredibly well at State Championships is the version that incorporates Bursting Balloon. This version does more damage and speeds the game up in a way, since Pokemon that attack a Bursting Balloon‘d Trevenant essentially put the damage from two Silent Fear attacks on them. This even sets themselves up to getting Tree Slammed for a Knock Out. This version is especially good against Night March, since Bursting Balloon hurts that deck so much with their low HP. You also remove their outs to remove the Bursting Balloon with cards like Startling Megaphone because of the Item-lock.
Trevenant in the Meta
Since Karen wasn’t printed, we need to go back to the old tools that beat Night March decks. There is no doubt at all that Night March will be the dominant deck at Worlds. It will be played everywhere. Night March’s dominance in the past will surge into Worlds as it gains added techs to make its bad match ups better.
However, Night March has some weaknesses that can be hard for some decks to exploit. I think I can narrow a list down to four bullet points that can give a deck a good matchup against Night March.
- The ability to take advantage of low HP Pokemon
- Removing or locking Special Energy
- Being able to trade with one Prize attackers
I think a solid deck now needs to hit a couple of those bullet points now that Pokemon Ranger is out. Luckily for us Trevenant hits three of them. Item-lock prevents Puzzle of Time plays by the Night March deck, which limits them to four Double Colorless Energy and restricts the use of over half of their deck. Trevenant‘s damage spread and usage of Bursting Balloon takes full advantage of the small numbers that it has to hit to Knock Out Night Marchers.
The highest HP in a Night March deck is Shaymin-EX and that is 110 HP. Trevenant decks that play Crushing Hammer and even the Bursting Balloon version that plays Team Flare Grunt can remove a Double Colorless Energy under Item-lock, which puts pressure on the Night March player to attach another Double Colorless Energy. Also, Trevenant is not a Pokemon-EX, which forces a longer game. It’s hard for a Night March player to take Shaymin-EX Knock Outs with limited use of their VS Seeker.
It also is great that at Worlds, since Night March is so popular, you are very likely to have a lot of good matchups. I expect almost 50% of the playing field at Worlds to be playing Night March. At Nationals it was close to 30%, but with Pokemon Ranger and Captivating Poke Puff, I can totally see that number skyrocketing to 50% at Worlds. Now, this first variant of Trevenant is more suspect. Its Night March matchup is very questionable. Let’s breakdown the version that earned two Top 8 finishes at U.S. Nationals.
This concludes the public portion of this article.
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