Why Item Lock Shouldn’t Be Counted Out and Other Anti-Meta Shenanigans

Hey again! I’m back again with more deck ideas, this time involving the anti-meta which usually always consists of things Energy removal, mill/stall, and other little things that people overlook. Just because it’s anti-meta doesn’t mean it’s bad by any means though, it’s just a deck more focused on taking on the big threats, and most of the time, anti-meta decks are rogue decks, M Audino-EX at worlds is a good example. That is until everyone starts playing it, and it becomes a meta deck.

So in order to create an anti-meta deck we need to observe the current meta. Let’s start with why M Audino-EX was a good play for worlds! Basically the entire meta at the time of worlds consisted of Pokemon with pretty low HP, and that means things like Joltik, Phantump, and Froakie. I’m mentioning this because M Audino-EX hit the bench for 50 if you played a supporter, and you’re more than likely always going to play a supporter, and furthermore, it did 110 base damage to active. That’s exactly enough to knock out a Shaymin-EX, so an ideal turn was to Lysandre up a Shaymin-EX and Magical Symphony for a knockout on the Shaymin-EX, and hitting a weak bench Pokemon normally resulting in 3 prizes. That’s why M Audino-EX was good at that time, but because of rotation and all of those decks involving low HP Pokemon got major losses due to rotation, the lowest HP Pokemon you’re likely to encounter will probably be Trubbish, Zorua, or Unown. Even then they don’t get OHKO’ed by the bench damage from Magical Symphony, so the only thing M Audino-EX is missing from rotation is the decks that it did well against.

If the 2015-2016 Standard meta consisted mainly of low HP 1-Prize Pokemon, then what does the beginning of the 2016-2017 Standard meta consist of? It mainly seems that because Night March, Tool removal, and almost all Item lock is gone, everyone feels safe laying down spirit links without having to worry about having them removed because of Xerosic or Startling Megaphone. Because most of these mega evolution Pokemon hit hard and relatively fast, majority of people are going to be playing them. It seems the most popular choice for right now are M Rayquaza-EX, Xerneas, M Gardevoir-EX, M Scizor-EX, Volcanion-EX, and M Mewtwo-EX. So what does this mean for the meta and how do we counter it? Let’s start analyzing!

Why Are People Playing What They’re Playing?

M Rayquaza-EX

We’ll start with the big flying snake himself, M Rayquaza-EX! Now lots of people are looking to play M Rayquaza-EX because of a few factors, starting with his speed. Because his ancient trait allows him to evolve on his first he is put into play, meaning if you go first against it, play a few cards, and then pass, the opposing M Rayquaza-EX player is more than likely going to knock out your active Pokemon with Emerald Break because of things like Hoopa-EX, Shaymin-EX, Sky Field, Double Colorless Energy, and more importantly Mega Turbo that allow them to get that third Energy in order to pull off the Emerald Break for 180+ turn 1. It hits fast and hard and sounds pretty much unstoppable right? Well we’ll get into that later when I start on the anti-meta cards.

M Mewtwo-EX

Okay, now for the alien cat I’m assuming it is,  M Mewtwo-EX. It doesn’t move as fast as M Rayquaza-EX because there is no way to evolve immediately. However that doesn’t stop it from being a major contender! M Mewtwo-EX’s Psychic Infinity attack is much like the old Mewtwo-EX, or perhaps an Yveltal-EX since it has base damage, but this one does 30 for each Energy on each Active Pokemon. That means combined with things like Mega Turbo, Double Colorless Energy, and perhaps Puzzle of Time, you can get multiple Energy on M Mewtwo-EX in a single turn, and as if it couldn’t get any more annoyingly strong, it has a healing option. With Shrine of Memories  as the Stadium of choice it can use the attacks of the Pokemon it evolved from, meaning that it can use Mewtwo-EX‘s Damage Change.

M Scizor-EX

Time for the clamps! M Scizor-EX seems to be a popular anti-meta choice, but it looks like it’s less anti-meta and more meta right now seeing as how a lot of people are deciding to play it because of how versatile it can be. Paired with Crushing Hammer, Garbodor, and a resistance against a few important decks such as M Mewtwo-EX and M Gardevoir-EX, this deck is kind of a nuisance to face. It’s a lot of fun, but has a hard time against our next deck we’re going to feature.


Sure, the steam machine doughnut dog. It’s good, and has an okay match-up against almost any deck, but why are people playing it? Well baby Volcanion does only 20 damage and gets two fire Energy from the discard pile and attaches to two of your benched Pokemon. So Energy acceleration and damage, it’s good right? Of course, but the damage output is kind of weak, and that’s what Volcanion-EX is for! Every fire Energy you discard from your hand means your Basic fire Pokemon’s attacks do 30 more damage. That means you discard 2 fire Energies and little Volcanion is already hitting for 80 damage for just one Energy, and you get to attach those two fire Energies you just discarded to two of your benched Pokemon! Then to finish things off you can hit with Volcanion-EX for 130 base damage, and still use its Steam Up Ability to do much more damage.

M Gardevoir-EX

Ah, the white walking stick with a dress. One of my favorite Pokemon because of its grace, but let’s get into why people are playing the deck! It seems a bit odd at first seeing has how it doesn’t seem all that great, but when you see how well it does against M Mewtwo-EX, you’ll probably want to try it too. It does 110 base, and 10 more for each Pokemon on your Bench you discard, meaning now you can get rid of your Shaymin-EX and Hoopa-EX to both free up bench space and get rid of Lysandre bait! It does well on its own with 2HKOs, but does better when paired with the older M Gardevoir-EX from Primal Clash! (I went undefeated in a League Challenge last week with a M Gardevoir-EX/Giratina-EX deck and the only Energy acceleration was Double Dragon Energy, Max Elixir, and Mega Turbos, and I was able to hit for 180+ on my second turn, so that’s something you guys to try out)


Finally, the rainbow deer. Doing 10 base damage and 30 for each extra type on the bench sounds a bit hard to pull off, but not as hard as you’d think! Thanks to Hoopa-EX he can grab us three more Pokemon-EX, and that allows us to grab three different types as well, such as Volcanion-EX, Jolteon-EX, and Shaymin-EX for example. Meaning counting Hoopa-EX’s typing, we’re already doing 160 because of Volcanion-EX’s dual typing it counts as 60 damage rather than 30. Put another Xerneas down on the bench and a Fighting Fury Belt on the active Xerneas, and we’re hitting for 200 damage! However a major downfall to this deck is the fact that you have to attach three Energy, and because of how tightly packed it is, most players find it hard to make room for proper Energy acceleration.

We Know the Big Decks and How They Work, Now What?

Now that we’ve looked at all the big decks, how they work, and why people are playing them, let’s look at what cards we should play to counter them. We’re going to be going over the basic anti-meta cards such as, Energy removal, Trainer lock, and some new tricks. Time to become that one kid that nobody likes!


Probably expected, right? This is the last Item lock card we have left ever since the loss of our friends Trevenant and Seismitoad-EX. Item lock has always been a very annoying and disruptive way of gaining an advantage, but in this case it seems both players suffer the fate of no Items, but because you know it’s coming, you’ll be prepared for it. However Vileplume can have many partners, so let’s take a look at them!


It’s probably the most standard attacker to go with Vileplume, as it’s a good attacker with a lot of HP and because there aren’t many grass decks being played, it is at a pretty good standpoint as an attacker in the current meta. However due to the loss of Korrina for that search consistency this deck loses a bit of viability, but it’s still worth a shot to try and plenty fun to play!

Glaceon-EX and Jolteon-EX

The infamous eeveelution duo that got Sam Hough to Top 4 at the World Championships, and I can’t really say they’re losing anything from rotation, but Glaceon is gaining a bit more use with everyone raving about Mega Evolutions. Jolteon will single-handedly take on Volcanion decks as they run no evolutions. What about Pokémon Ranger? Well with Vileplume locking Items, they’ll only get the chance to use him once seeing as how majority of players only play one copy and they can’t VS Seeker it back.

Regice and other Water Pals

Regice is just as useful as the eeveelutions, but he blocks all damage coming from Pokemon-EX with his useful little Resistance Blizzard. However he will have a hard time blocking damage (because he can’t) from Xerneas, but because of Vileplume, Xerneas will have an equally hard time hitting for higher numbers. Probably important to mention Manaphy-EX will find a lot of use in this deck, along with Glaceon-EX and perhaps an Articuno.


Sure it takes a bit longer to set up even with Double Dragon Energy, but when you’re locking your opponent out of Items, Special Energy, and Stadiums, you’ll find it’s very worth it. It really only leaves them the option to play Basic Energy, Pokemon, and Supporters, and while they may find an occasional Hex Maniac or Pokemon Ranger, they’re going to have a hard time keeping up with all the Trainer lock going on. If they use Hex Maniac they’ll be free to use almost all Items, but not Tools, Stadiums, or Special Energy. If they play Pokemon Ranger they can use Stadiums, Special Energy, but not Tools, because Vileplume is still active. However, because not all decks are mega evolution decks, and this deck doesn’t fair well against Xerneas because of weakness, you’ll find that there may be better options.


No, not the Yveltal-EX that had seen so much play in the past. The Fright Night one! That’s right, when you’re locking your opponents down with Items, you can be hitting them here and there for spread damage all over. It 2HKOs Shaymin-EX on the bench while damaging the Active. It shuts off Tools meaning if you do start with Yveltal and a deck like M Rayquaza-EX goes first their spirit link won’t have any effect due to Yveltal’s Ability, and my favorite part about his Ability has to be the ability to pin a Pokemon in the Active Position even if they have a Float Stone. So pin those Hoopa-EX and snipe those Shaymin-EX for prizes all around, but while it can be great on its own, it is just as good partnered with Umbreon-EX, Yveltal-EX, and perhaps the Darkrai from the Mythical collection box, and because this is a deck you’re probably not familiar with, I’ll give you a list to mess around with!


Pokemon (16)

4x Yveltal (BKT #94)1x Umbreon-EX (FAC #119)3x Oddish (AOR #1)3x Gloom (AOR #2)3x Vileplume (AOR #3)2x Shaymin-EX (RSK #77)

Trainers (28)

4x N (DEX #96)3x Professor Sycamore (BKP #107)2x Lysandre (FLF #90)2x Ninja Boy (STS #103)4x Trainers' Mail (RSK #92)4x Ultra Ball (PLB #90)3x Float Stone (PLF #99)2x Level Ball (AOR #76)4x Forest of Giant Plants (AOR #74)

Energy (11)

7x Darkness Energy (DP #129)4x Double Colorless Energy (NXD #92)

There are 5 open slots for you to edit, but besides that it’s a lot of fun to mess around with and you can pull off so many little tricks, and unexpected moves. Some cards I’d recommend adding would probably be a third Lysandre, Pokémon Center Lady because healing in a Lock-down deck is very frustrating, and another Shaymin-EX for added consistency.

In conclusion, it looks like Item lock still has a place for another year or so with so many options to choose from, not even including the vast amount I have already mentioned. So don’t get too comfortable with your Items, Vileplume still has it’s room in the meta, and it doesn’t look like he’s ready to leave anytime soon.

Anti-Meta Tech Trainers

It seems Vileplume isn’t the only way to be hated! There are many other ways you can annoy your opponents I still haven’t gone over, and some of which can also be included in Vileplume archetypes to make for an even more annoying deck. We’ll be going over cards that are rarely played, overlooked cards that deserve a second chance because of rotation, and very unexpected cards that will make your opponent furrow their eyebrow and say “Let me see that card.” So let’s take a look at some of the basic anti-meta cards starting with Energy removal! 


One of my all time favorite Item cards, whether it be Enhanced Hammer or Crushing Hammer, Energy removal is always very annoying. Especially even more so with Puzzle of Time! Allow me to elaborate, imagine you can knock out your opponent’s Active Pokemon and they have another Pokemon on the bench powered up and ready to go. They only need one more Prize cards to win the game. You draw into a Crushing Hammer, use it, flip tails. Sycamore into 7 fresh new cards, draw into two Puzzle of Time some other cards, and another Crushing Hammer, you use the Hammer, get a tails again. You’re kind of frustrated at this point with that damn coin flip, but wait, the Puzzle of Time takes you back into the deck to take any two cards! You use them and go for two Crushing Hammers and flip 2 heads putting you on even ground with your opponent. Nice. There are even some games where it seems you hit nothing but heads. I also recommend running 1-2 Enhanced Hammer in every deck you play due to so many decks running Double Colorless Energy, Double Dragon Energy, and possibly many other Special Energy! So the next time you have some open spots in a deck and can’t figure out what to put in the empty spaces, consider a play-set of Crushing Hammer, or maybe even a few Enhanced Hammer!

Annoying Supporters

Of course with every anti-meta deck you’re going to need some anti-meta Supporters! So let’s take a look at one you’re probably already familiar with, Team Flare Grunt. Yep, another Energy removal, but rather than requiring a coin flip, you can VS Seeker and use it later on in the game for some clutch plays! However it only removes from the Active Pokemon, so maybe if you’re not planning on knocking out the active this turn, it can always slow them down a bit! But that’s not all, we still have Hex Maniac which is normally included as a one of in just about every deck, it turns off Abilities just like Garbodor does! However it only does it for one turn, and is probably best used on your first turn especially when your opponent forgets about it, uses Ultra Ball for Shaymin-EX or Hoopa-EX, and they can’t do anything with their Abilities. However a more experienced player will more than likely not forget so don’t count on that to always happen. Last but not least of these annoying Supporters is definitely Delinquent. Why Delinquent? First off, it’s extremely useful when your opponent isn’t expecting it (and more than likely they won’t expect it seeing as how no one plays it) and has their hand at three or less cards with one of those cards usually being a Professor Sycamore or a Vs Seeker. Second off, it discards a Stadium in play, whether it be yours or your opponents. So you can pull off some tricks like healing 30 damage off your Pokemon with a Rough Seas  you put down a turn ago, playing Delinquent, playing another Rough Seas, and healing another 30 damage. However in order to use the card there has to be a Stadium in play.


Before we get into Pokemon let’s take a look at Stadiums! Probably one of the more obvious options for annoying Stadiums would be something like Parallel City to force a deck that uses Skyfield to its full advantage like M Rayquaza-EX or Xerneas to remove 5 benched Pokemon, and you can just as easily use the other side by reducing 20 damage from Volcanion-EX, Glaceon-EX, and whatever other Grass, Water, or Fire decks are popular. But now for another Stadium card that my girlfriend had brought to my attention about a month or two back when we started looking at the rotation, Faded Town. It sounds crazy at first, but when you really think about it, it’s better than Virbank City against Mega Pokemon. It hits the benched Mega Evolution Pokemon, hits active Mega Evolution Pokemon, and it even hits your Mega Evolution Pokemon, and it’s 20 in-between turns! I say pair it with Fright Night Yveltal and Hammers and see what happens. You can even add it to a Giratina-EX / Vileplume deck to ensure they won’t be replacing Stadiums anytime soon!

Anti-Meta Pokemon


Another one of my favorite Pokemon, probably cliche, and I hate cliches, but whatever. So earlier when I was talking about the meta and whatnot, and then I started talking about Vileplume, and then I started talking about that Yveltal / Vileplume decklist, and you probably saw I included Ninja Boy and 1 copy of Umbreon-EX  and thought “cool.” Well it’s much more than just “cool,” it’s an amazing feeling when you’re slamming with Pitch Black Spear, already knocked out a Shaymin-EX last turn, just hit the active for another 60 and 60 to another Shaymin-EX on the bench, and they have an active Mega Pokemon with 180 damage on it, and only a bit of HP left. Play a Ninja Boy, and turn that Yveltal into Umbreon-EX and take the game for 4 prizes. It makes it even better since Yveltal has the same Energy requirements as Umbreon-EX.


This is the third time I’ve said this, but this is one of my favorite Pokemon, and I’m going to say it again just a heads up for the next Pokemon I feature. Now you’re probably a bit confused, wondering how much use it could really be? Well as long as you’re not facing Fright Night or Garbodor, you should be good. “But is this good enough to earn a spot in my deck?” Well if you’re playing a Mega Pokemon such as M Scizor-EX, M Mewtwo-EX, or even M-Gardevoir, it may be useful to you! Weavile could potentially give you a chance against any deck, removing Spirit Links, replacing them with Weakness Policy, Assault Vest, or even Bent Spoon. A couple of fun decks involving Weavile include: M Scizor/Weavile/Weakness Policy, Primal Kyogre-EX/Weavile/Heavy Boots, and M Mewtwo-EX/Weavile/EXP Share. Primal Kyogre-EX seems to have the most fun options though, what with Healing Scarf allowing it to heal 20 every time an energy card from hand, and it pairs well with it’s alpha trait allowing you to attach two per turn, and pair that with Rough Seas. It also benefits from Wide Lens against Volcanion-EX. Here’s one of the lists I’ve been testing that involves Weavile.


Pokemon (15)

3x Kyogre-EX (PRC #148)3x Primal Kyogre-EX (PRC #149)2x Manaphy-EX (BKP #116)2x Shaymin-EX (RSK #106)2x Weavile (STS #61)2x Sneasel (STS #60)1x Hoopa-EX (AOR #89)

Trainers (31)

4x Trainers' Mail (RSK #92)4x Ultra Ball (PLB #90)4x VS Seeker (PHF #109)3x Kyogre Spirit Link (PRC #132)2x Healing Scarf (RSK #84)2x Professor's Letter (XY #123)1x Assault Vest (BKT #133)4x Professor Sycamore (XY #122)2x N (DEX #96)1x Lysandre (FLF #90)4x Rough Seas (PRC #137)

Energy (10)

10x Water Energy (XY #134)

Because of its naturally high HP as a Primal, constantly healing 30 with Rough Seas was annoying enough, but pairing it with a Healing Scarf, or the Assault Vest, it becomes much much more difficult to knock out. I’d recommend adding a Pokemon Center Lady just for those turns where you take a bit extra damage. But let’s look at the next Pokemon!


I’m sure you all saw this coming by now. This is another one of my favorite Pokemon. Good old abandoned stuffed toy that came to life because its rage was too much. And before you ask, no this does NOT shut down Garbodor, however it is a very fun card to use when your opponent tries to Mega Evolve with a Spirit link on thinking you’re not going to to notice, or when they try retreating a Pokemon with Float Stone on it. It can be paired with just about any deck that isn’t using Mega Evolutions such as Xerneas, Zoroark, Lucario, Xerneas BREAK/Giratina-EX, or Raichu. It might put a bit of a hindrance on you, but not nearly as much as it will on your opponent. Their best bet is normally going to be either desperately search for a Hex Maniac or Mega Evolve which ends their turn. Banette may have hope to find a loving owner!


I shouldn’t even have to say it this time. Anyways, with all the mega hype going around, and everyone raving about high HP Pokemon, this is where Gengar steps in to give Mega Pokemon a bad time. It is probably best paired with Latios-EX to get some early game damage, and 2-3 Lysandre for Gengar to bring slightly damaged Pokemon up to the Active position and take 2 prizes. Latios-EX is most likely not going to be donking any Pokemon though due to low HP Pokemon though due to almost no one playing them, and to make it worse, the loss of Muscle Band. I haven’t tested it much, but it’s a lot of fun. Perhaps pair it with Faded town.


Alright, well it seems that we’ve already reached the end. Hopefully now you have a different outlook on the Meta and understand that every deck is beatable, and there are still plenty of viable decks to make appearances. It also seems that even with Garbodor, Vileplume will still have plenty of room to shine in the format.

Until next time,

Melancholy Fairy