Hey everyone! It’s Charlie, and I’m happy to be back with another article. With Charlotte Regionals coming up, I’ve been working on a few different decks to try and counter the new meta. One thing I’ve been focusing on recently is control concepts. While Snorlax Stall has been very successful recently, it has a notoriously bad matchup against Giratina VSTAR decks, which just took first and second place at the Portland Regional Championships. With such a bad matchup against the likely best deck in format, Snorlax Stall needs to adjust if it wants any chance to succeed. However, this isn’t as easy as just adding a few techs and making the matchup an auto-win. Lost Zone Giratina has a very specific set of tools at its disposal that makes dealing with control decks pretty easy. With multiple switching Items, four Jet Energy, a Shred attack on Giratina V, a free attack on Cramorant, and an auto-KO VSTAR Power, Lost Zone Giratina has pretty much everything a control deck struggles to deal with. This means we’ll need to try and attack its weaknesses directly — but as you’ll see, Giratina doesn’t have many big weaknesses.
When I start thinking about how to counter a deck, I usually sit down and try to identify anything specific that the deck isn’t able to do. A good example would be that Gardevoir ex decks can’t attack with Radiant Greninja, so it’s theoretically vulnerable to being trapped. For Giratina, some of the weaknesses I identified include its limited max damage being 280 (outside of Star Requiem), a limit on how many times you can use Lost Impact (since you must put two Energy in the Lost Zone each usage), and a tough time drawing out of disruption Supporters like Roxanne or Iono. With these weaknesses in mind, it was time to try and exploit them.
A Starting Point
When I started this project, I wanted to first look at successful lists from recent events. Hale Obernolte was able to take Snorlax / Pidgeot ex to Top 8 in San Antonio, so I started by just playing his list. While its Giratina matchup was pretty awful, his updated list from Portland fixed a few things and added some creative new techs. Here it is:Radiant Charizard and a few Trainers that support it. The way the combo works is you allow your opponent, playing Giratina, to get down to three Prizes, then play Roxanne, power up Charizard with Magma Basin and Defiance Band, and KO their Giratina. This usually forces them to wait a turn, during which you can just Penny to pick up the Charizard and do it again — or, if they attack, you can recover it with Super Rod and do it again anyway. This combo is obviously not foolproof, though. Almost all Giratina lists include three or four Path to the Peak, which turns off your Pidgeot and Radiant Charizard. You need to find your counter Stadiums at the right time if you want to pull the combo off, which is why it’s a bit frail and doesn’t reliably beat Giratina decks. I’ll explain a few of the differences from a more normal list below:
Two Pidgey, Two Pidgeot ex
Pidgeot ex is the engine that makes this deck so stable throughout the game. Unlike traditional Snorlax lists, Pidgeot makes you way more resistant to Iono combos and lets you find whatever you want on any given turn. This lets you build your list much more greedily, with much lower counts of disruption Trainers, since you find what you want every turn. Pidgeot is also a good pivot and allows you to KO threats like Minior that might get in your way. Overall, I think Pidgeot adds a new dimension to the deck and offers a lot of versatility that the regular Snorlax version just doesn’t have.
One Luxray V
Luxray V is a really cool card in this deck. Not only does it act as a 260-HP Basic with Bravery Charm attached, it also has Fang Snipe, which lets you look at your opponent’s hand and discard any Trainer you find there. Expecting them to play a Boss next turn? Go ahead and discard it before they get the chance! This also combos extremely well with Roxanne, since you can disrupt the hand and then remove any potentially dangerous cards they drew. Luxray is such a threat to opponents who try to stockpile a bunch of powerful cards and play them all at once to take the lead. At times it can feel underpowered, but since this deck can efficiently loop Penny better than any other, Luxray is by far the best Basic Pokemon V for the job.
One Snorlax, One Mawile
Unlike most Snorlax players, Hale only opted to play a single Snorlax! However, he included a Mawile as well to provide an even stronger lock in situations when you win the game barring only a Boss's Orders play. For example, if Charizard has played all their switch cards, but not all their Bosses, Mawile can lock Mew or Manaphy instead of Snorlax and Boss won’t matter. Since you still have the infinite deck recycling with Cyllene and Pal Pad, this is an interesting win condition for lists that play Energy cards. I’m not sure if I like Mawile here, and I’m going to test a list with more Snorlax since it’s a much better starter, but it’s a cool option to have for sure.
This concludes the public portion of this article.
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