M Manectric EX / Landorus EX
If you don't want to hear me rant about meta, skip this paragraph. I suppose I'll start by saying I hate meta decks. Everyone plays them because
Since the release of Phantom Forces, players have been trying to determine the best partner for M Manectric, leading to countless interesting combos ranging from completely viable to hardly competitive. The most obvious sidekicks for M Manectric were Mewtwo and Yveltal, both of which benefit from having as many Energy as possible attached to them. But that's too mainstream for me. Another good partner for M Manectric would have to be something with some really good OHKO'ing power. Black Kyurem EX has a lot to boast, being able to OHKO everything except for Megas and already requiring Lightning Energy to attack, but one of the things I disliked about Black Kyurem was it's heavy 4 Energy attack cost. Even with Turbo Volt in the equation, I'd like to have something a little easier to power up. What I think makes Landorus the better partner for M Manectric is its flexibility with a cheap alternative attack, a bit more manageable attack cost, and the fact that the discard is optional. And a few other players agree. This wasn't the most popular Manectric variant by any means, but it did see a fair amount of success at Cities this season. Here's the list:
2 M Manectric EX
2 Manectric EX
2 Landorus EX
1 Lucario EX
1 Jirachi EX
4 Professor Juniper
3 Muscle Band
3 Ultra Ball
2 Energy Switch / Head Ringer
2 Manectric Spirit Link
2 VS Seeker
1 Max Potion
1 Tool Retrieval
1 Professor's Letter
1 Scramble Switch
3 Fighting Stadium
4 Strong Energy
5 Fighting Energy
3 Lightning Energy
The key to playing this deck effeciently is realizing what exactly Manectric's role is; this deck does not play like Victini EX where you Turbo Energize to stuff as soon as possible. A good turn two does not necessarily involve getting out M Manectric with two Energy attached to it and in the discard to power up Landorus in one turn. If that set up miraculously happens, then good for you. You should definitely go with it. However, that doesn't happen often enough to justify using Manectric as your starter to quickly power up Land's Judgment. I think players who have that goal in mind are looking at the deck from the wrong angle. From my experience playing the deck, Manectric shines more as a late game attacker to recover your Energy from the discard after a few of your Pokemon have been Knocked Out to set up game-winning OHKO's with Landorus. That is why this build looks more like a Fighting deck with a M Manectric line thrown into the mix, and that's even how it plays. 2-2 M Manectric with 2 Spirit Link otherwise would not have been adequate. The deck doesn't really need the Energy acceleration that Manectric provides to function. Both Hammerhead and Assault Laser are cheap attacks that are pretty good attacks on their own. Assault Laser does an outstanding 120 for only 2 Energy, and Hammerhead can do anywhere from 30 to 90 (while putting 30 on the Bench) depending on cards like Muscle Band and Strong Energy. This is definitely an interesting spin on the deck.
Any Fighting deck that doesn't play Hawlucha is doing something wrong. Being able to hit even the minimal 60 damage is an amazing return on your one Energy investment, but of course with modifiers, you can do up to 120 with Flying Press, which is more than enough to two shot. Terrakion may seem like a weird choice to some, but I think this card is underrated, especially with all of the Fighting support. With Strong Energy and Muscle Band, he can hit for 130, which is actually still a significant number to be able to hit for. Just slap him down with an Energy, and you're good to go next turn.
Everything else is pretty much what you would expect. The only thing I think would give people some trouble is the inclusion of Scramble Switch over Computer Search. While I agree that Computer Search is definitely a good alternative to Scramble Switch, I like Scramble Switch a little bit more. It makes a lot of neat combos you can pull off with Korrina, being able search out both the Fighting Pokemon you want to switch into and your Ace Spec, the means to do it, is a ton of fun, and is a good answer to Safeguarders which I think this deck lacks. It's also an alternative way to power up Land's Judgment on a moment's notice, provided you have the Energy in play. Computer Search definitely has merit as well since it's the only way to search out your important Fighting Stadium and Strong Energy.
My friend who actually played this deck competitively for Cities and I don't agree on Energy Switch versus Head Ringer. I think Head Ringer is the better choice for the VirGen match up in particular which I feel is iffy without it, plus it's good in quite a few match ups across the board, but Energy Switch isn't bad either. It makes for some nice plays with surprise Land's Judgments or Turbo Bolts. I could definitely see Energy Switch being played. It would probably make my deck list in a world without Head Ringer.
Yveltal EX Variants - Favorable - One of the things Landorus gains from being paired with Manectric is no longer being walled by Yveltal's resistsance and possibly Hard Charm, which would normally make it very difficult to KO. Manectric tears right through any Yveltal you may come across with Assault Laser, hitting it for ridiculous amounts of damage even without a tool attached to their Yveltal. Yveltal players should definitely by running Shadow Circle, but because you play Fighting Stadium, you can knock their Stadium out of play while counteracting Yveltal's resistance to Landorus. And if you're attacking with the Mega, you can knock out your opponent's Yveltal and power up another Manectric at the same time while your opponent struggles to OHKO your main attacker. The one trick they have that you should watch out for is Seismitoad EX. Being able to hit Landorus for Weakness and prevent you from playing Switch, Quaking Punch can hit you pretty hard if you're not prepared for it.
Bronzong Variants - Favorable - Manectric's resistance is super good in this match up, making it impossible to OHKO your Manectric with Dialga. The same can be said about Landorus's bulky 180 HP. Both Landorus and Manectric are really good at hitting Bronzors on the Bench. Chrono Wind can be annoying to deal with, but M Manectric has no retreat cost, and you play plenty of switch cards. Not much else to say about this match up.
Virizion EX / Genesect EX - Close - This is certainly a tough match up to play. You can increase your chances significantly if you can get Head Ringer onto their Virizion and delay the Emerald Slash. They are also good for keeping G Booster off of one of their Genesects, but this is all common knowledge at this point. Try to remove their Energy from play as much as possible while keeping yours in play at the same time. Put Bench damage on Genesects so they're easier to revenge KO. Throw Hawlucha at a Genesect with G Booster or without a tool. It's a lot of common sense stuff.
Donphan - Unfavorable - Donphan can hit Manectric twice as hard with Weakness, Landorus can snipe Donphans on the Bench while eating Robo Substitutes for breakfast, but it still doesn't prize trade well. Head Ringers won't do anything for you in this match up. Hawlucha won't do anything for you in this match up except provide free retreat. Your best hope is to go first with a strong start and prevent them from ever setting up with Hammerhead.
Seismitoad EX / Garbodor - Unfavorable - The Weakness to Seismitoad definitely makes your normal game plan of beat down with Landorus the risky play. Fortunately, Garbodor doesn't bother you much, and even among your Fighting types, there is good Weakness diversity. Landorus's Weakness is significant in this match up (and Lucario's can be as well if they play Mewtwo as a back up attacker), but Hawlucha is weak to Lightning, and Terrakion is weak to Grass. Both of which along side Manectric should be able to deal with Seismitoad. However Seismitoad has a lot of annoying tricks up its sleeve you should be on the look out for. If you can get your Spirit Links and Muscle Bands down before they can use Quaking Punch and eventually play their Head Ringers, you should be in good shape. If you don't, then it becomes very difficult to 2HKO Seismitoad without Muscle Band, plus having to deal with general annoyances that Seismitoad usually comes with including Enhanced / Crushing Hammers, Laserbank shenanigans, etc. Definitely not fun to play against. A tip for this match up is try to only bench Landorus if you can Turbo Volt onto it immediately. Otherwise, it'll just be Lysandre'd and die slowly.
Here is a video of the deck in action, being piloted by said friend of mine who made top cut in a few City Championships this season:
Let me know what you think. Feel free to post suggestions and-or discuss the deck in the comments below!