Panic Attack — An Anti-Meta Rogue Deck for Philadelphia Regionals

Hello everyone! Alex back at you for the first time in what seems like forever! Today’s topic is going to be the most secret, top tier pick for the upcoming Philadelphia Expanded Regional Championship. I know that’s a bold statement, but if I didn’t believe in it, I wouldn’t be writing this article for you! Just remember to keep an open mind for the duration of this article. I know it may scare you to hear me say that, but I even dismissed this concept at first. It took a lot of convincing from Grady to put it together.

Speaking of Grady, if you’re a fan of the program you may have heard he is moving out of Spokane. No longer will I have my partner in crime living in the room next door to tell me I suck every day. Being the person to keep my bad ideas in check will be hard shoes to fill, but it’s for the better. I hope he goes on to be happier living with his brother in Bellingham. So, as a nod to Grady, I told him I would write up one of his ideas.

About two weeks ago, I woke up to a text from Grady (yes we text each other in our own house) that said, “what are you top five picks for Philly?” I told him that I thought that we would be seeing a lot of M Manectric-EX, Greninja, Seismitoad-EX / Bats, Dark, and Rainbow Road. As an aside, my top play for Philadelphia is easily M Manectric-EX. No surprise there. I’ll be posting my most updated list at the end of the article, so get excited. Anyway, his response to my mini tier list was simply, “let me tell you how this deck beats all of them.” With a review like that, how can you possibly pass up the chance to test this list?

To tease you even more, let me share with you some of the quotes from that chat.

  • “I believe in this idea so much, I’m actually testing online.”
  • “Just killed two Zubat turn two, then one shot Seismitoad-EX turn three.”
  • “They can’t ever Water Duplicates or bench Froakie, or else you just KO them instantly.”

Now, before I keep going further with the whole concept of a tease here, I want to first go over how much the state of out game has changed in regards to this deck I keep hyping. Do you guys remember when Landorus-EX first came out? Everyone and their mother thought it was broken because you could easily deal 30 damage for just a single Energy. Rightfully so, since it became one of the biggest decks in that format, only really losing out to Keldeo-EX.

If you remember correctly, another single Energy attacker called Thundurus-EX came out that dominated the format. The Plasma engine was always a top tier play throughout most of its life. It didn’t matter if it was TDK or Yeti, the deck always seemed to have a foothold in the meta. Thundurus-EX might have fallen out of favor during the latter half of the decks existence, but it still remained a viable staple of that deck.

So as you can see, when these two attackers first came out, the quickly rose to the top of the food chain. Since then we have had so many single Energy attackers on Basic Pokemon, that we have options for every single type now. I want to quickly take a look at some of them now.

Single Energy Basic Pokemon Attackers

For the sake of time and brevity, I’m only going to go over Pokemon that can deal 30 damage or more for a single Energy with no flips required.

Grass – Pinsir BKT

You have have to go look this Pokemon up, since it has never seen any competitive play before. The downside of having to do 20 to one of your own Pokemon is not something people are ready to jump on. Plus, it doesn’t have the same sort of damage modifiers that Thundurus-EX did in the form of Deoxys-EX, and Fighting Pokemon have nowadays with Strong Energy and Fighting Stadium. Its second attack, Heavy Suplex, is actually a little bit interesting. With a Grass and a Double Colorless, the attack deals 40 damage, plus 20 more for each Colorless Energy in the defending Pokemon’s Retreat Cost. That means with Weakness included, you can one shot a Seismitoad-EX. That’s pretty much it however. Between the relatively low HP, the amount of Energy needed to Suplex, and the super situational use, this card was and probably will never be played.

Fire – Heatmor BKP

Like Pinsir, this card never saw the light of day. It only reaches that 30+ damage requirement after a Tool has been attached. Actually, come to think of it. Heatmor‘s second attack is a mere 70 damage for a Fire and a Double Colorless, also nothing to shout about. This still probably is just sitting in a big pile of bulk in your house.

Water – Greninja-EX

Man, I know, I’m really hitting all of the good Pokemon here huh? If you’ve stuck with me so far, I am proud of you. No, this is not that weird Ash-Greninja-EX card, it’s actually Greninja-EX, a Promo released in 2014 in the Kalos Power Tins. This card is definitely not worth its value. Online you can find this card for around $7, or you can go buy the tin, which retails at $20. Either way, the first attack of being able to do 30 damage anywhere is the only reason it can be put in this category. There is only one other Basic Water Pokemon that can do more than 30 damage for one Energy, Basculin from Next Destinies. Can’t remember it? Neither did I until some research was done. It does 40 damage if the defending Pokemon already has damage on it. It’s not the world’s best attack ever.

Lightning – Jolteon-EX, Dedenne FFI, and Thundurus-EX

Finally we hit some good Pokemon! At some point or another, all three of these cards were played / playable. I’ve already gone over the popularity of the latter Pokemon-EX on the list, but Jolteon-EX is new to the party. People will definitely recognize this card for the Flash Ray attack that blocks Basic Pokemon. Its first attack, Swift, is what gets it a spot on our list. It can’t hit for Weakness or Resistance, but it does go through all effects. I’ve Knocked Out my fair share of Aegislash-EX by using swift over and over again, but outside of that, this card is mainly used for Flash Ray.

Dedenne was a fantastic tech during the time that Yveltal-EX was king of the castle. Yveltal is still incredibly strong to this day, but nowhere near the level that it was back then. I’ve seen this one single tech card win games all on its own, and I’ve seen it been dropped to take the final two Prizes of the game. Granted, it does need a few Energy on the defending Pokemon to activate the damage threshold to make this list, but I will include it for the sake of the deck that I’m hyping up.

Psychic – Mew FCO, Mew-EX, and Mewtwo-EX BKT 62

You’d think there would be more right? Well if you include all of the Psychic Pokemon that break that 30 Damage barrier using a Double Colorless Energy, there would be at least a few more mentioned here. I will admit, Mew and Mew-EX are somewhat of a cop out, as you can’t do 30 damage without something else on the field. It’s a good thing the Mewtwo-EX is one you’re actually familiar with, otherwise I would really start to look like I don’t know what I’m talking about. This is the “good” Mewtwo-EX in Standard, the one with Damage Change. The first attack, Shatter Shot, that does 30 for every Psychic Energy attached is easily the worse of the three (I’m assuming we’re talking M Mewtwo-EX with Shrine of Memories in play) but that’s the one we’re using to get this card included on the list.

Fighting – Zygarde-EX, Lucario-EX, Landorus-EX

Now we’re talking! If you’ve been a fan of the Pokemon Trading Card Game for a while, you will have definitely seen these at some point in your career. The Big Basics deck of old pairs Landorus-EX with Tornadus-EX and Mewtwo-EX. Lucario-EX has had its run with Crobat. Zygarde-EX found home alongside Vileplume to tank hits under Item-lock. All three function in a similar fashion, and all three serve a different purpose in the metagame. Each also has a different Weakness, so depending on the local meta, all three could be interchangeable, depending on the deck.

Dark – Yveltal XY

The cute little Baby Yveltal, the only Basic Dark Pokemon that hits that 30 damage needed to be featured today. For me personally, this card as been on both ends of the “Love / Hate,” spectrum. I used hate this card, seeing as how I used to spam Donphan over and over again during the Cities format when it was popular. Tanky Yveltal was super annoying to deal with. Then I grew to love this card, because of my National Championship run that fell one game short of day two with Yvetal / Bats. Now I’m on the fence about it. I’ve played it in VespiBox, but also found it annoying to deal with in other matchups. But regardless of how I feel about it, Yveltal XY has always been playable, and probably will continue to win spots in deck lists for years to come.

Metal – Cobalion-EX

Cobalion-EX has had an interesting life. When it first came out, it was used as a soft counter to Mewtwo-EX in Big Basics decks that could afford to play Blend Energy WLFM. Then after Bronzong came out, it began being used in Metal style decks as a tech one-of. It also found home in rouge Klinklang decks from all eras of the game. Up until Jirachi came out, this was the gold standard for Special Energy disruption. Now, it’s only used as trade bait and binder fodder. Such a sad story. Maybe in our secret deck it can be used once again?

Fairy – None

There’s actually quite a few that have a 30 or more damage attack for a Double Colorless Energy, but none that can break that barrier for one single Fairy. A lot of the Pokemon-EX have one Energy for 20 though!

Dragon – Latios-EX, Zekrom ROS, Rayquaza LTR

Three cards that saw unique levels of play. On one hand, you have Rayquaza that saw its day in the sun for countering RayEels mirror matches. Before the reprint came out in Dragon Vault, I believe this card was valued at somewhere along the lines of 30 to 40 dollars. It was a central part of that deck in allowing for a non-EX Prize-trade in the days of Pokemon Catcher and Mewtwo-EX. Latios-EX is a fantastic tech card in decks that can afford to play the Energy requirement and Muscle Band. So many cards can get Knocked Out early for cheap wins. And there is something left to be desired with Zekrom. Even though it was never really a solid play in the meta, I think there’s always room for a cool Zekrom idea out there, either getting buffed up by Hypnotoxic Laser or Altaria.

The Secret Deck

So why tell you all of that? What good does information about 30 damage attackers for one Energy do you?

Well, 2000 words into the article, I can finally give you the secret deck. Like I said at the top, keep an open mind here. This deck is better than you think it is and definitely has potential in the expanded metagame. The deck is Vileplume!

Wait what? Vileplume isn’t a secret deck at all! Isn’t there a deck that involves using Zygarde-EX as an attacker? Or how about walls like Jolteon-EX and Glaceon-EX? And even that silly turn one Vespiquen / Vileplume thing that was hot for a while.

Wrong Vileplume.

For those of you who are new to the game, you may not remember a time when every content creator on the face of the Earth was trying to make Vileplume from Boundaries Crossed a viable deck. It just couldn’t be done. There were too many problems with the deck. What if your one attacker for a matchup was prized? Double Colorless Energy, Blend Energy, and Rainbow Energy all in the same deck? What if you whiff the correct Energy? How could you possibly fit everything you need into a deck like this? What if your Vileplume gets Knocked Out? What if…

Back then, there were a whole heap of problems with this deck. But now, through the power of science, we have managed to fix some of those problems. By no means is this deck without issues, but against players who are unprepared, new to the game, playing certain decks, or are just plain bad, you’re going to steal easy wins, and have some fun doing it.

Vileplume BCR

If you can’t remember, or just don’t know what the older Vileplume does, it’s all about the Weakness. It has an Ability called Allergy Panic that changes all Weaknesses to x4 instead of x2. This means that with a Muscle Band and an attack that does 30 damage, you’re easily one shotting any Pokemon-EX on the field. The damage does rack up quite quickly as well. 20 damage balloons to 80, 30 to 120, 40 to 160, and 50 to that 200 damage cap. That’s why we took a look at the possible Pokemon to pair with Vileplume at the start of the article. There is one more Pokemon that I’m going to include in my list, but more on that later.

This concludes the public portion of this article.

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