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Jack Stensrud

Heavy Metal: A Look at Bronzong Decks

Jack Stensrud goes through one of the frontrunners for US Nationals.

06/19/2015 by Jack Stensrud

Hello again 60Cards! Nothing much has happened since I wrote my previous article, (there were some Nationals, but they were done in the pre-ban format) but we have now officially moved on to a format without Trump Card. I wrote a long article about this ban the day that the news was announced, but since I wanted to be one of the first to publish an article about the ban, I left out some decks in my analysis. The main decks that I have now realized are still very strong are Donphan, Fairies, and the topic of today's article, Bronzong.

Why Bronzong?

Bronzong decks have been a solid archetype for the entirety of their release, and for a very good reason. Bronzong's Metal Links is a stupidly good ability, and has a massive amount of applications. Depending on what build is used for the deck, a plethora of attackers can be played, which I'll go over soon. I have a fair amount of experience with Bronzong, playing it for a few cities, as well as Washington States. Much like my article about Night March, I'll go over a core list (with pretty much everything possible stripped out,) explain the cards in the deck, then discuss additional tech cards and strategies for the deck.

 

 (Empty Spaces: 21)

Pokemon

3-3 Bronzong PHF

Bronzong is the heart and soul of the deck, with its Metal Links ability giving it the speed and versatility that it is known for. In the Core Deck, I am only running a 3-3 line of it, but it can absolutely be bumped up to a 4-3 or even a 4-4 if max consistency in setting up Bronzongs is the top priority for the list.

 1 Keldeo EX

This should be bumped up to two copies in almost every possible situation, as Rush In is an incredible ability. Mobility is extremely important, especially since Bronzong can only attach to the bench. Keldeo lets the deck seamlessly stream attackers, and also get rid of status conditions if the deck is unable to keep a Steel Shelter in play. This card is absolutely essential to keeping the deck running smoothly.

 

Wait, where are the attackers?

One thing that is noticeable in this list is that I don't run any attackers in the Core Deck, which is because I'm going to go through a in-depth review for every feasible attacker in the deck. I believe that the deck can be tooled to beat anything in the meta, as long as the player runs the correct attackers for a tournament, so I'm putting them in a different section.

 

Trainers

4 Professor Juniper, 2 N, 1 Colress, 1 Lysandre, 3 VS Seeker

These cards aren't really worth talking about in-depth, as they do the same thing in every deck. It could be a good idea to bump Colress up to a count of 2 or 3, raise the N count to 3-4, and add a fourth VS Seeker, and put in a second Lysandre. However, this is a skeleton list, so I'm keeping it sparse for now.

Steel Shelter

This is the deck's main way of beating Seismitoad EX decks, since most of this deck's attackers are already good at blocking Seismitoad's attack. This helps give Bronzong's attackers extra coverage against Hypnotoxic Laser, effectively making Seismitoad useless against Bronzong. This also gives the deck an extra Stadium in the deck, to counter cards like Silent Lab, Fighting Stadium, Sky Field, Dimension Valley, and Virbank City Gym.

2 Float Stone, 1 Switch

Keldeo is much less useful if it can't retreat for free, so Float Stone is a simple fix for the problem. The one-of Switch is for when Keldeo gets stuck active, or for when the player hasn't gotten it out yet. I personally prefer Switch over Escape Rope in almost every deck that I play, but Escape Rope is also a very good option, and could be better in a lot of situations.

4 Ultra Ball

This is a simple addition, as it gets the key Pokemon in the deck set up, and gets valuable cards in the discard pile, such as Metal energy and Supporters that can be used for VS Seeker.

2 Muscle Band

This adds damage to attacks, which is really nice no matter which attackers are played in the deck. Once again, this is a standard card in the deck, so I have no reason to go fully in-depth about it.

Energy

8 Metal, 2 Double Colorless

8 Metal Energy is relatively standard in the list, but it wouldn't be a horrible idea to add one or two more to the deck. Double Colorless Energy is almost universally good with every attacker that can be played, but I'm only running 2 in the Core Deck, because it's not worth it for every possible build.


Looking back at the Core Deck, we have quite a few empty spaces. The initial list has only 39 cards, which gives us a whopping 21 extra spaces to work with. Let's take a look at what to add to fill up those spots.

Pokemon

Attackers

Dialga EX

Dialga is one of the two most common attackers in the deck, and for good reason. Dialga's attacks are incredibly solid, and have a variety of uses, making this one of the most versatile attackers in the deck. For MCC, Chrono Wind does 60 (80 with a Muscle Band) and locks attacks from the Defending Pokemon if it is an EX. This can be countered with a Switch, retreat, or a Keldeo EX/Float Stone, but it is still extremely bothersome to deal with, and some decks simply don't have the options (decks with high retreat costs and few counts of Switch) to deal with a Chrono Wind every turn. Full Metal Impact serves the purpose of a big KO attack for the deck, hitting for 170 with a Muscle Band, which is enough to knock out cards like Yveltal EX, Rayquaza EX (Colorless), Keldeo EX, and a bunch more playable cards.

 

Pros

  • Has an attack that locks attacks
  • Forces opponents to burn switching cards
  • Makes the Groudon matchup much stronger
  • Gives the deck a big OHKO attack
  • OHKO attack knocks out one of the main counters to lock attack
  • Surprisingly low Retreat Cost
  • Resistance to Psychic (Mew EX, Wobbuffet, Mewtwo EX)
  • Bulky 180 HP (instead of 170 like some other attackers)
  • Can set up in 2-3 turns without Bronzong in play
  • Abuses Double Colorless Energy
  • Very rarely a dead card in matchups

 

Cons

  • Needs a Muscle Band to hit big KO's
  • First attack can easily be played around
  • Can't hit higher than 170, which can be frustrating against 180 HP Ex's
  • Gives up 2 Prize Cards
  • Relies on Double Colorless Energy, which makes it susceptible to Hammers

 

Recommended Count: 1-2

 

Aegislash EX

Aegislash EX is an absolute beast. This card locks out any attackers with Special Energy attached to them, which hurts a ridiculous amount of decks that over-rely on them. If we look at how many Special Energy are popular in the current format, we get:

  • Strong Energy (Groudon EX/Donphan)
  • Double Dragon Energy (Latios EX, Altaria stuff, Dragon Ray)
  • Double Colorless Energy (Seismitoad/Colorless Ray/Flareon/Night March)
  • Mystery Energy (Trevenant/Shaymin, Psychic/Bats)
  • Rainbow Energy (Fairies)
  • Plasma Energy (Virizion/Genesect)

 

Most of these decks can play around this, but Aegislash also can stand up for itself with a solid attack that comboes well with Bronzong. With Lysandre and VS Seeker, Donphan can't set up enough damage to keep up, so Bronzong gains a very solid matchup against it. Colorless Ray can set up a bunch of Basic Energy, but it takes them much longer to set it up without Double Colorless as a crutch. Dragon Ray has a very hard time setting up without Double Dragon Energy, and Groudon has to fish out four Fighting Energy to set itself up.

 

Pros

  • Locks out all attackers with Special Energy
  • Vastly improves matchups with many decks
  • Slows down many decks, including some bad matchups
  • Attack has large damage potential
  • Can abuse Double Colorless Energy

 

Cons

  • 170 HP instead of 180, which is too bad, but not a deal breaker
  • Hefty 3 retreat cost (can be remedied with Keldeo EX/Float Stone)
  • Attack uses a very large amount of energy and takes a long time to OHKO
  • Ability can be played around
  • Almost never the best attacker available in terms of damage output, and can be a dead card in many matchups
  • Gives up 2 Prize Cards

 

Recommended count: 1-3

Cobalion EX

Cobalion EX is a very powerful card, hitting a massive amount of decks where they hurt the most. Righteous Edge does 30 damage for a single Metal Energy and discards a Special Energy card from the opponent's active Pokemon. With Lysandre's Trump Card out of the format, there aren't very many (if at all) efficient ways to recover Special Energy from the Discard Pile, so Cobalion can stop many decks dead in their tracks, or at least slow them down. Its second attack, Steel Bullet, does 100 damage and breaks effects, which is very helpful against cards like Sigilyph LTR, Suicune PLB, and Aegislash EX.

Pros

  • Hits for a small amount of Energy
  • Discards Special Energy
  • Breaks effects with its second attack
  • Good for covering certain matchups
  • 180 HP
  • 2 Retreat

 

Cons

  • Can't hit for a higher number than 120 damage
  • Does not combo well with Aegislash EX in the same deck
  • Awkward Energy cost for Steel Bullet
  • Not able to use Double Colorless Energy
  • Can be a dead card in some matchups

 

Recommended Count: 1

Aggron EX/M Aggron EX

Aggron and Mega Aggron aren't bad cards, but they require a large amount of deck space and strategy devotion. I don't really like relying on coin flips for knockouts, and Aggron requires them, and has a really frustrating backside for missing a flip. To play Aggron the list has to run something along the lines of a 2-2 line, 1-2 Victini LTR, and 2 Spirit Links to make Aggron viable, which greatly lowers the amount of other options that can be played. Mega Aggron isn't a horrible strategy, but I think there are many better options for Bronzong decks that don't involve this much space in the deck.

 

Pros

  • Hits for a lot of damage with a successful coin flip
  • Has a high HP

 

Cons

  • Requires massive amounts of support cards
  • Can still be OHKO'd
  • Massive Retreat Cost
  • Requires coin flips
  • Gives up 2 Prize Cards
  • Centers strategy on itself

 

Recommended Count: 0/0

Heatran PHF

In my opinion, Heatran PHF has always been a criminally underrated card in Bronzong. It has a nice amount of HP, two very solid attacks, and hits for a very nice number that knocks out a lot of good cards. When added to its non-EX status, making it only give up one Prize Card, you get one of the best non-EX attackers possible to play in the deck.

 

Pros

  • 130 HP
  • Not an EX (gives up one Prize Card)
  • Gets past Safeguard
  • First attack can knock out low-HP basics, some without a Stadium in play
  • First attack knocks out Flareon with a Muscle Band and a Stadium
  • Hits for 130 Damage (knocking out Donphan, Crobat, Mew EX)
  • Second attack does not require a large discard
  • With a Muscle Band, second attack can knock out Empoleon
  • Abuses Double Colorless

 

Cons

  • Larger-than-most Retreat Cost
  • Vulnerable to Enhanced Hammer
  • Much more useful in some matchups than others

 

Recommended Count: 1

Cobalion LTR/NVI

Cobalion LTR is another attacker that locks opponents from attacking, much like Dialga EX. However, Cobalion has the benefit of not giving up 2 Prize Cards, 20 more base damage, and broader specifications for the lock as opposed to Dialga. However, Cobalion is not without its faults. It tends to not be the best card in certain matchups, and suffers from a more specific energy cost than Dialga's Chrono Wind.

 

Pros

  • Very strong against certain matchups
  • Non-EX (gives up one Prize Card)
  • 2 retreat
  • Has a good attack for punishing high-energy attackers
  • Gets past Safeguard
  • Abuses Muscle Band

 

Cons

  • Can be played around in numerous ways
  • Can be easily OHKO'd
  • Can't abuse Double Colorless energy nearly as well as other attackers
  • Not as useful in some matchups

 

Recommended Count: 0-1

Kecleon PLF

Kecleon PLF was first thrust into the limelight as a tech in Ross Cawthon's Raichu/Crobat deck, and it is still very good as an attacker in this deck. With a Double Colorless Energy attached and a Metal Links, it can return KO a Mega Rayquaza (Colorless) if the player benches some extra attackers with Sky Field out. Aside from that, however, this card's uses are much more limited than some of the other attackers in the deck.

Pros

  • Very strong against Colorless Ray
  • Works with other attackers that hit for low amounts of energy
  • Gives up one prize
  • Solid in the mirror matchup

 

Cons

  • Not a lot of Pokemon are weak to their own types
  • Not very useful in a large amount of matchups
  • Very low HP

 

Recommended Count: 0-1 (Depends on amount of Colorless Ray in local meta)

Mewtwo EX

 Mewtwo has always been a decent tech in decks with strong Energy Acceleration, and this deck is no exception. Mewtwo may not be nearly as powerful as it used to be in formats past, but X Ball is still a very strong attack, hitting for a large number and punishing attackers with high amounts of energy attached to them. However, I'm not sure how useful this card is compared to the plethora of other attackers available in this archetype.

 

Pros

  • Hits hard for few energy
  • Abuses Double Colorless Energy and Muscle Band
  • Good type coverage
  • Good against itself
  • Punishes loaded-up attackers

 

Cons

  • Most players know how to counter it
  • 170 HP
  • Many options that are better than it

 

Recommended Count: 0-1

 

Seismitoad EX

 Seismitoad EX is one of the most hated cards in the format, locking out cards that generally make up a large portion of decks. In Bronzong, it is a very solid starter that greatly improves the Night March and Flareon matchups for Bronzong. Early Quaking Punches can really stop both of the decks in their tracks, and can make the matchup much easier. If you're expecting a lot of those decks in your meta, I'd highly recommend playing this card.

 

Pros

  • Helps against 2 of the most popular decks in the format
  • Locks items from opponents
  • 180 HP
  • Shuts off most disruption cards
  • Fantastic card to open with
  • Gives strong type coverage
  • Abuses Double Colorless Energy and Muscle Band

 

Cons

  • Weak to a popular type
  • Most players are gunning to counter it
  • Uses up a Double Colorless Energy to attack on Turn 1
  • Much less useful late-game

 

Recommended Count: Either 0 or 2 (Not worth it to play one, it's only good early)

 

Since we've gotten all of the possible attackers done, let's move on to the Pokemon that we won't use to attack. Some of these are popular cards in other decks, and others have been designated as "Fringe Picks," which are generally not as good or consistent as the more popular support Pokemon, and haven't been tested as much when I went through strategies for the deck. Since they aren't commonly accepted, I won't be including Recommended Counts for these cards.

 

Support Pokemon

Jirachi EX

Jirachi EX is a good all-purpose card, giving the player a Supporter, and making all four Ultra Balls in the deck outs to a Supporter. This card has been popular for so long, its uses, strengths, and weaknesses are generally common knowledge.

 

Pros

  • Good at getting a Supporter out of nowhere
  • Adds lots of consistency to the deck
  • Theoretically would be able to attack

 

Cons 

  • Low HP
  • Doesn't work with Silent or other Ability lock in play
  • Attack is awful and should never be used
  • Is an EX, so it gives up 2 Prize Cards, making its 90 HP much scarier

 

Recommended Count: 1

Shaymin EX

 Shaymin EX is easily the most hyped card of Roaring Skies, although its popularity has waned slightly since the ban of Lysandre's Trump Card. Even though players can't simply shuffle back resources without even thinking anymore, Set Up continues to be a phenomental ability. With four Ultra Ball in the deck, thinning hand sizes shouldn't be an issue, and Shaymin is a fantastic option, although it can be bad in some situations. It has a low amount of HP, and its attack doesn't do quite enough damage to be worth it to use. Even so, Shaymin is still a strong card.

 

Pros

  • Searchable by Ultra Ball
  • Has a mildly usable attack
  • Draws cards without using a Supporter
  • Works well with low hands

 

Cons

  • Only has 110 HP, which is scary considering it gives up 2 Prize Cards
  • Attack doesn't do a lot of damage, although it can be good if something like an Aegislash EX is promoted
  • Often targeted as free prizes
  • Doesn't work with Silent Lab or other Ability lock in play

 

Recommended Count: 1

Second Keldeo EX

This is probably the most necessary support card to include, as one Keldeo just isn't enough to win most matchups. I'm not going to do pros or cons on this one, because I already explained Keldeo earlier.

Recommended Count: 1 extra (2 total)

Fourth Bronzor

When I played Bronzong for Washington States, I made the decision to stick with a 3-3 Bronzong line, and it became clear that it was a mistake when I played my second round. My opponent was playing Mega Manectric EX with Jynx FFi, Rough Seas, and Zapdos LTR. This was already a bad matchup, but it was further tilted in my opponent's favor when I wasn't able to bench any Bronzor without them being knocked out the turn they were played by Random Spark. Playing a fourth Bronzor wouldn't have helped that matchup in the slightest, but it would have helped in many other general circumstances.

Recommended Count: 1 extra (4 total)

(Fringe Pick) Ninetales PRC/DRX

Ninetales PRC is a great card for keeping Stadiums in play, and that can really mess with some decks. Limiting Colorless Ray to 5 Basics greatly reduces their damage output, and locking Dimension Valley out of Night March makes it much harder for them to stream attackers. For inputting this idea into a list, the main options are to either run a 2-2 line of Ninetales, or run a 2-1/1 line, including one Ninetales DRX (which was reprinted as a promo card) to give the deck a non-supporter-based gust effect. If I were to put it in, I'd do the 2-1/1 line, and only play one Lysandre (instead of two, which I left out of the Core Deck, but recommend.)

(Fringe Pick) Klinklang PLS

Klinklang PLS is a study in extremes. It turns a few of the deck's matchups into near autowins, but shatters consistency so much in other matchups that it turns them into autolosses. If I were to play this, I'd go all in with the locking strategy, and just play Aegislash EX, Dialga EX and Cobalion LTR and try to lock out any attempts to get past Klinklang's barrier with non-EX attackers. To play this, however, the list will need something like a 2-1-2 or 2-2-2 line, with either 1 or 2 Rare Candy, which takes up as much space as Mega Aggron (which I strongly dislike because of the space it takes up) and greatly harms consistency. However, if the meta shifts away from decks like Flareon and Night March and towards decks like Colorless Rayquaza, Dragon Rayquaza, and Groudon, this strategy could suddenly be a decent play. As it stands now, however, this is not an ideal strategy to use.

(Semi-Fringe Pick) Exeggcute PLF

This card is really popular with some of the players in my state, and they swear by it. At first glance, it is easy to see why. With at least 5 cards that either require discarding or place cards in the discard, Exeggcute seems like a very good play. Limiting the cards required to drop with Ultra Ball with small hands is extremely solid, but the card might not be nearly as useful as other cards that could be added into the deck. This card would also help with Kecleon PLF, being able to Propagate onto the bench and add damage with Emerald Break. Overall, this card isn't perfect, but it could be astounding in the right meta.

 

Now that we're officially done with the Pokemon in the deck, let's look at what we can do with Trainer Cards. I'm going to do some Recommended Counts for Trainers, but not with every one. Instead, I'm generally going to either say "Recommended" or "Not Recommended," followed by what level of priority it is to fit into the deck.

Trainer Cards

Supporters

3rd N

N has always been an extremely strong supporter, boasting consistent draw in the early game, and disruption and comeback potential in the late game. A third N might be a good idea, but I'd only add it if you've already tried other options to boost consistency.

Recommended (low priority)

2nd Lysandre

This card easily could have been in the Core Deck, and probably should have. Lysandre is ridiculously strong, and the only situation where it would be bad to play two is if the deck is running the Ninetales strategy that I detailed earlier, and two Lysandre would still be a decent play in that list, also.

Recommended (highest priority)

2nd or 3rd Colress

Colress is one of the best consistency supporters in the format right now, as bench sizes have never been higher. It isn't uncommon to see a Colress for 12 or more in this format, and it makes Colress a much better option much earlier in the game than it used to. Adding a second Colress will only help, and a third would be even better.

Recommended (highest priority for 2nd, medium priority for 3rd)

AZ

AZ allows for some really cool plays to be made, since discarding energy isn't really an issue due to Metal Links. Running an AZ makes it much more viable to tank certain Pokemon, then scoop them up once they get too much damage on them. I'd recommend playing one of these, if space can be found for it.

Recommended (medium priority)

Xerosic

Xerosic is a very interesting card, stopping cards with Special Energy and Pokemon Tools from ruining the deck's strategy. The value of this card in Bronzong mainly depends on which attackers are played in the list. If there is a high count of Aegislash and Cobalion EX, Xerosic will be less useful, but if the focus is more on Dialga EX, Seismitoad EX, and Heatran, a Xerosic will be put to more use.

Recommended (priority depends on list)

Pokemon Fan Club

Pokemon Fan club is a card that i've seen fall out of favor in many lists for Bronzong in recent memory, and I'm not 100% sure why. Fan Club's ability to get Bronzors and other support Pokemon (such as Shaymin EX) out on turn 1 is remarkable, and running a low (1-2) count of it should boost consistency of the deck by leaps and bounds. It isn't as good late-game as other cards, but is still a very strong opener. 

Recommended (medium-high priority)

4th VS Seeker

This addition is pretty self-explanatory. The deck focuses on getting cards into the discard, and adding a 4th VS Seeker will only help consistency and versatility. Frankly, adding this card is one of the few no-brainers in here.

Recommended (maximum priority)

Items

Max Potion

Max Potion is another card that I've seen being dropped from other lists, and I still can't understand why. If an AZ is played, the value of this card in the deck drops, but it is still a fantastic option. Unlike AZ, the card stays in play, but it has the bonus of not discarding Pokemon Tools from the Pokemon it is used on. If there isn't an AZ in the list, I'd recommend playing two, but if there is, I'd cut it completely.

Recommended (depending on list)

Weakness Policy

This card would be a one-of exclusively to deal with Flareon, and it tends to do its job very well. Attaching a Weakness Policy to an Aegislash creates an attacker that Flareon can have real trouble knocking out, especially if the Bronzong player is able to stream Lysandres and VS Seekers to keep the Flareon player from setting up an attacker. If Flareon is popular, this is a good addition, but it's a dead card in every other matchup.

Recommended (based on Flareon's popularity)

3rd Float Stone

A third Float Stone would be a nice addition, and it would be ok to cut the Switch/Escape Rope for it, but it isn't as useful as most of the other cards in the deck. It isn't a bad card by any means, but there are a lot of cards more useful than it.

Recommended (bottom priority)

3rd Muscle Band

Muscle Band is another great tool in the deck, that works with every attacker in the deck. I've already gone through why it is good, so I'll keep it simple here. If you can find space for it, a third Band will never hurt.

Recommended (medium-high priority)

Battle Compressor

Battle Compressor is a great card as a two-of in the deck, allowing the deck to get Metal Energy, Supporters, and Exeggcute (if the list has it) very quickly without having to rely on cards like Ultra Ball. The card doesn't have a huge amount of uses outside from that, however.

Recommend (high priority)

Enhanced Hammer

Enhanced Hammer would be a solid play, but Cobalion EX and Xerosic (if it is played) both cover the effect of discarding Special Energy much more efficiently than Enhanced Hammer.

Not Recommended

Professor's Letter

This card seems like a solid idea, but with enough draw, the deck is generally able to draw into energy when it needs to, and has Battle Compressor and other cards to get energy into the discard pile. Overall, this card generally isn't worth it in lists for the deck.

Not Recommended

 

Ace Spec

Computer Search

Computer Search is almost univerally the Ace Spec of choice for decks this format. It's really hard to beat the consistency crutch it provides, and the way that it can instantly swing the game the moment it is drawn.. There isn't much to say about it that hasn't already been said, so I'll end my thoughts on it by saying that it is almost certainly the best Ace Spec for this deck.

Dowsing Machine

However, Dowsing Machine isn't nearly as bad in this style of deck as it is in others. Dowsing Machine saw much less play after VS Seeker came out, since it was much easier to get Supporters back from the discard, but it is still a very strong card, being the only way to bet back Items and Stadiums from the discard pile. Despite its strengths, and the fact that Bronzong doesn't need to have nearly as explosive of a start as other decks in the format, Computer Search is still the better play.

Recommended Ace Spec: Computer Search

 

Stadiums

Third Steel Shelter

This is more of a fringe addition, as I think two is generally enough to win matchups that require it. However, I could see the uses of it against decks like Seismitoad and Mega Rayquaza EX (Colorless) to win "Stadium Wars" more consistently.

Recommended (low priority)

Sky Field

A one-of Sky Field has been popular in some builds of the deck, and for good reason. The extra bench space can really help the deck combat certain bad matchups, and make it easier to have all of the deck's support Pokemon in play at once. It also opens up the play of benching 5 Pokemon as well as cards like Jirachi and Shaymin EX, then dropping a Steel Shelter and discarding them, eliminating cards that could potentially become liabilities later on in the game. This is a good change to make if space can be made for it, but it isn't the end of the world if it isn't added.

Recommended (medium priority)

 

Since we have all of these cards now, let's go through each of the matchups that you could reasonably expect to play, and which attackers to use to counter them.

 

Matchups

Colorless Rayquaza

This matchup is very solid for Metal, with Aegislash forcing Rayquaza to use three basic energy to attack and Cobalion EX punishing Rayquazas that use Double Colorless. Because it takes much longer to set up that way, if Bronzong can force opponents to waste their basic energy and Mega Turbos, a second Aegislash can be too much for the deck to deal with. If Colorless Ray is the most hyped deck going into the tournament, a Kecleon PLF can also be teched in to swing the matchup further.

Matchup: Positive

Key Attackers: Aegislash EX, Kecleon PLF

Dragon Rayquaza

Dragon Rayquaza can often go the same way as Colorless Rayquaza, since the deck relies heavily on Double Dragon Energy. The deck has a lot of mobility with Hydreigon EX and switching cards, so Dialga EX and Cobalion LTR will be less useful than they normally would. Heatran PLF is also able to knock out Reshiram ROS in one hit with Steam Blast, which is very strong. Since Double Dragon Energy is not as much of an option, non-EX attackers will be much stronger in general.

Matchup: Even

Key Attackers: Aegislash EX, Heatran PLF

Night March

Night March is still an extremely solid matchup, with Aegislash once again locking out most of their options. With a Steel Shelter, Mew EX or Joltik needs two basic energy (which Night March typically plays very few of) to attack, and gets easily knocked out. Heatran PLF once again puts in work in this matchup, knocking out Mew EX, Empoleon, and all of the Night Marchers with ease while only giving up one prize. Cobalion EX is also very strong in the absence of Aegislash, discarding Double Colorless Energy. The option of running two Seismitoad EX also makes this matchup a breeze, since Night March has a very difficult time setting up under Item Lock.

Matchup: Positive

Key Attackers: Aegislash EX, Heatran PLF, Cobalion EX, Seismitoad EX

Flareon

Flareon has always been a difficult matchup for Bronzong. The deck's shared weakness to Fire is extremely challenging to overcome, but there are now ways to play around it. Playing 1-2 Weakness Policy makes the matchup much easier, and Aegislash also helps by forcing Flareon to attach basic energy to attack. Cobalion LTR and Heatran PLF also OHKO Flareon for three energy and a Muscle Band, which helps a lot. As long as the Bronzong player plays smartly and is able to hit Lysandres on a consistent basis, this matchup is absolutely beatable. If the Metal player wants to make the matchup even better, playing two Seismitoad EX can swing the matchup heavily from the start.

Matchup: Unfavorable-Even

Key Attackers: Aegislash EX, Cobalion LTR, Heatran PLF, Seismitoad EX

Fairies

Fairies can be a bit of a mixed bag. The mono-type version is extremely easy to beat, since it takes a few turns to set up and the entire deck gets hit for weakness by Bronzong's attackers. Setting up a single Dialga EX is generally enough to beat that matchup. Against the Rainbow Energy variant, Bronzong generally has ways to nullify their typed attackers, by either blocking or discarding their Rainbow Energy. Lists that run Double Colorless Energy also have trouble. Without Rainbow Energy, the deck is forced to attack with Fairy Type attackers, which tend to do poorly due to having a Metal Weakness.

Matchup: Autowin (Mono Fairies) to Positive (Fairybox)

Key Attackers: Literally Anything (Mono Fairies), Aegislash EX/Dialga EX (Fairybox)

Toad

Seismitoad EX can be a real thorn in Metal's side. They generally run Keldeo EX to nullify Chrono Wind and Iron Breaker, they run Hypnotoxic Laser and Virbank City Gym, and they generally only give their opponents one turn a game with items. This matchup is where Cobalion EX really shines, however, forcing Seismitoad to attach basic energy in order to not break the lock, which is generally difficult to do. Aegislash also is able to put in work, not being damaged by anything with a Double Colorless Energy. If the Bronzong player is able to keep Steel Shelter in play, this matchup should be very difficult for Seismitoad.

Matchup: Positive

Key Attackers: Aegislash EX, Cobalion EX

Donphan

Aegislash EX is the MVP of this matchup. Mighty Shield shuts Donphan down almost completely, limiting Donphan to a maximum of 90 damage, with a Silver Bangle and a Fighting Stadium. Hawlucha is stuck at 110 damage as well, which hurts its viablility. Heatran PLF also hits Donphan for an OHKO, which is incredible, especially since it is very hard to knock out with Spinning Turn. Between healing off damage with Max Potion/AZ and bringing out Donphans with Lysandre, this should be a very strong matchup.

Matchup: Positive

Key Attackers: Aegislash EX, Heatran PLF

Groudon/Wobbuffet

Groudon is a difficult deck to beat with most strategies, but there is a clear-cut way to victory with Bronzong. Dialga EX and Cobalion LTR makes it extremely hard for Groudon to swing attacks with any consistency, since they need to have a Switch to be able to attack every turn. If they ever do get set up, Aegislash is great also, due to it forcing Groudon to attach four Fighting energy to it, or play a Silent Lab. However, there is always the option of the Groudon player to tech a Keldeo EX in, and reset the effects of Iron Breaker or Chrono Wind. If they do so, it is necessary to Lysandre it out and hit it with a Full Metal Impact. If that happens, however, the matchup should be smooth sailing from there on out.

Matchup: Very Positive (No Keldeo) to Even (Keldeo)

Key Attackers: Cobalion LTR/Dialga EX

Latios EX (ROS)

Latios EX-based decks, especially Mega Latios/Crobat, are one of the deck's worst matchups. I haven't tested this matchup nearly as much as I've tested others, but pretty much everything this deck can throw at you is a nightmare. Latios EX ROS can donk Bronzongs and Jirachi EX, Mega Latios swings for knockouts on Bronzong, Shaymin, and Jirachi EX, and Crobat can make it easier for the Latios player to take knockouts. Dialga EX and Aegislash should be the primary cards used in the matchup, to try and wall out bigger attacks, but they generally don't help. If the Latios player isn't playing the Mega, it's a bit better, but it's still a horrible matchup for Bronzong. The list that I play doesn't run any cards specifically to counter it, primarily because I believe that it's better to take an autoloss matchup than compromise consistency trying to counter it.

Matchup: Extremely Negative 

Key Attackers: Dialga EX, Aegislash EX

Manectric

I didn't think that there could be a worse matchup for Bronzong than Latios EX decks, but after looking at Manectric decks, I realized that I was wrong. Manectric is the perfect storm of things that beat Metal. It doesn't use Special Energy, meaning it can't be walled out with Aegislash, it has free retreat, so Chrono Wind and Iron Breaker are useless, and it resists Metal and plays Rough Seas to heal off damage. If they run Garbodor in it, that makes the matchup even worse. There really isn't much you can do to beat the matchup, so the best strategy is just to hope that you aren't paired against it.

Matchup: Autoloss

Key Attackers: None

Final Lists

Now that we've gone all the way through explanations, techs, and matchups, let's finally take a look at some lists for Bronzong. These lists are best mixed and matched, depending on what decks are popular at the time.

 

 

 

 

Tournament Report- Canaan M.

The Eastside Open was an unsanctioned event held in the Teen Center in Kirkland, Washington. It featured a few rules that were different from the norm. Each round was played with top cut rules, so there were no ties (including intentional draws,) and the tournament was played with a top 16 cut. The organizers might have been expecting more players to come to the event, however, because there were only 25 Masters in attendance. With no ties and a top 16, a 2-2 record was enough to make it in (aside from one player who unfortunately bubbled out at 17th.) Me and my main testing partner, Canaan Mellard, decided to go to the tournament, and since he hadn't been in a tournament for a few months, I decided to give him first pick for what deck we would play. He chose Metal, and I chose Landorus/Crobat, which was a deck I had also been testing a lot of. Canaan wound up finishing 2-2, then winning in the top 16 and losing in the top 8. I asked Canaan to write a tournament report detailing his tournament, and he graciously accepted. Canaan played the All-Around list, since we weren't sure which decks would be popular at the tournament, but we decided in the morning to cut the Shaymin EX (Because we didn't have an extra one,) the Sky Field, and the Cobalion LTR for two Seismitoad EX and a third Float Stone. I'll write up the deck list and post it at the bottom of the report, so you can see it. Without further ado, here is Canaan's report.

Round 1 vs Sam Hough with Manectric/Garbodor

Game 1

I managed to take four prize cards, mainly because of him having a bad start, but he came back and rolled me. Rough Seas is really tough for this deck to deal with.

Game 2

There isn't really much to say about game 2, other than that he swept me. This matchup is really difficult for Metal.

0-1

Round 2- Bye

1-1

Round 3 vs Joey Armour with Metal

The mirror match for Metal is very straightforward. Whoever sets up first or gets two Bronzongs out generally wins the matchup. We went to three games, but I was able to set up faster.

2-1

Round 4 vs Michael Chin with Metal

If I had played Cobalion LTR in the deck, it would have gone better, but the games were still very close. We went to three games, and they were very even. We had both taken two prizes when time was called. Michael was able to Lysandre a Bronzong to go up in prizes on turn 2, and I benched a Jirachi to get Lysandre for game, but my second one was prized.

2-2

Top 16 vs ??? with Donphan

Game 1

I started the game with a dead draw, with only an Aegislash and a Bronzong in play. I made the mistake of benching more Pokemon, and went down six prizes to one. However, I was able to turn the game around and take the win.

Game 2

The match was much less close than game one. My opponent made the mistake of not attacking with Hawlucha as much, and attaching lots of Special Energy, which meant that I could sweep with Aegislash EX.

Top 8 vs Tyler Ninomura with Psychic/Bats

Game 1

PsyBats isn't the best matchup ever, especially with heavy Wobbuffet, but it's absolutely beatable. I spent most of Game 1 trying to knock out his Crobats, but he was able to bench three Zubats in one turn, and I lost quickly after that.

Game 2

I played a little bit smarter in this game, and was able to take five prizes, but he was able to hit the AZ to win the game.

Final Result: Top 8

 

Here is the list that Canaan played.

 

Conclusion

I firmly believe that Metal can counter almost every deck in format, and I think that with the right list, a player can go through a tournament with little to no bad matchups. Bronzong has been given one of the best sets of supporting cards of any card this year (along with Seismitoad EX,) and I can't wait to see what people continue to do with it at Nationals and Worlds.

Thanks for reading,

Jack Stensrud

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