Believing in the Fighting Hype
This is an exciting new season and I hope this article helps some of you with your quest in becoming a top competitor in this game.
10/18/2014 by Matthew Koo
Hello everyone! My name's Matthew Koo and this will be my first article with 60cards.
Thanks in advance for taking the time to read!
I've been heavily involved in this community for about 7 years now and have had a lot of success during that time span. My success, however, couldn't be achieved alone. I worked with a number of great people when I started off and even more when I had the chance to attend Worlds for the first time. It took hours of practice, testing, and even then a deck could still disappoint me at a tournament. So what's the point?
The point is, I went through all of this to not only meet life-long friends, but also reach a point where if I were to enter a tournament the odds of me performing well would be better than everybody else in the room. Taking the time to understand the different meta match ups, seeing how your deck fairs against a particular card, and testing out different techs to make your deck unique is all part of the recipe for success. I hope to share with you in this article my perspective in the TCG as well as the different parts that comes into play when constructing a deck.
My focus today will be primarily on the new Fighting variants that came to power with the release of Furious Fists. With Regionals just beginning in the U.S., we actually haven't seen a lot of Fighting Decks at the top tables. Why is that? Is this just another deck hyped up in time for pre-releases and then disappears after the first big tournament? Come join me and see my analysis on the deck itself and why I believe it's still one of the best choices for a Fall Regionals.
The Deck: Landorus EX/Hawlucha/??/??
The variations for this type of deck is endless, so to name out all the pokemon as the title of the deck, I think, takes away from its versailitity. With that being said, I would like to begin by talking about the purpose of the deck.
For all decks, you would want to focus on a particular strength and build upon it. For example, in years past Darkrai decks and Speed Lugia were commended for their speed and damage output, while decks such as Rayboar and Blastoise required a bit of set up before doing constant outputs of damage that would knock out just about anything. Still, there were some decks that liked to control your opponent's ability to play cards, slowly disabling them and eventually locking them down for good.
Decks like Accelgor variants (Gothitelle, Flygon, Trevnant), Gengar/Vileplume, and Vileplume Donphan (The Truth) are all prime examples of this sort of strategy. So what is this Fighting deck designed to do? I believe it has the ability to be a hybrid deck with speed to put on early pressure while allowing time to set up cheap secdonary attackers that counter the meta.
Landorus EX with the new Strong Energy allows a turn 1 output of 80 damage (50 to the active and 30 to the bench). Now with the addition of Fighting Stadium and muscle band, Landorus EX has the potential to do a whopping 90 damage to the active and 30 to a bench (Equating the strength of a fully powered Darkrai EX). Now that's great and all, but how do we get ALL of these pieces out consistently? Furious Fists also introduced a new supporter specifically designed for Fighting Pokemon - Korrina. Korrina not only allows the player to search out any fighting pokemon, but also a trainer to go along with it. This means a muscle band + Landorus EX can be searched out by one supporter not to mention what is already in your opening hand.
Hawlucha, a new fighting basic from Furious Fists, is also making an appearance in this deck. This Pokemon's free retreat, high damage output to EX's, and typing means that its an instant threat once it hits the field. Aside from decks that don't play EX's (Donphan for example), opponents must focus thier attention in ridding this beast as soon as possible, diverting attention from your other attackers. We'll go more in depth about Hawlucha's versality when we do single card analysis further down.
I've only discussed two pokemon so far. So what's left? The techs of course! The beauty of the cards that came out from Furious Fists is that these enhancers (Strong Energy, Fighting Stadium, Korrina) take up what would normally be less superior versions of themselves anyway (Basic Fighting, Virbank City, Skyla) so it leaves a lot of room for techs and imagination. You would want these techs to help with your current meta. I'll be going into further detail, but for now popular techs have been Seismitoad EX, Garbodor, Dedenne, Mewtwo EX, and Lucario EX (just to name a few).
Let's move onto a Skeleton List shall we?
- 2x Cubchoo
- 2x Beartic
- 1x Seismitoad EX
- 1x Lucario EX
- 2x Hawlucha
- 1x Spiritomb
- 4x Landorus EX
- 2x Mewtwo EX
- 1x Jirachi EX
- 1x Computer Search
- 3x Lysandre
- 3x Fighting Stadium
- 4x Korrina
- 4x Muscle Band
- 3x Switch
- 4x Professor Juniper
- 1x Max Potion
- 1x Ultra Ball
- 1x Escape Rope
- 2x Colress
- 1x Silver Bangle
- 4x N
- 4x Fighting Energy
- 4x Strong Energy
- 4x Double Colorless Energy
As explained earlier, Landorus EX compliments the deck by providing instant damage for the cost of 1 energy. Not only does it attack the active, it has the bench damage that can help set up multiple knockouts. Being able to plan ahead is key when playing this deck as it could mean the difference between a win or a loss. Knowing how much damage output your Pokemon can deal is also an important asepct. For example, knowing a Hawlucha with a Strong Energy, Muscle Band, and Fighting Stadium in play gives you 120 damage means you would only need to hit their active EX for 50 or 60 damage (depending whether it has 170 HP or 180 HP) to give you the knockout next turn via Hawlucha. With this being said, knowing where to place the 30 bench damage is extremely important. This is where playtesting the different matchups helps a lot. You gain invaluable knowledge through making mistakes once in practice that you'll never make again in tournaments.
Hawlucha makes an amazing counter to rival Seismitoads as it can dish out amazing damage to it with again only one energy. Unless the opposing player hits an amazing Virbank City Gym, Hypnotoxic Laser, Double Colourless, Muscle Band combination your Hawlucha should be able to not only take a hit but set up a next turn knockout as well.
Against any EX Hawlucha is a threat to be reckoned with, but against non-ex attackers, Hawlucha is all but useless.
For this reason, I only chose to include 2 Hawlucha's in the deck rather than 4. Another bonus is its fighting resistance (against any mirror Landorus EX's) and its free retreat making it an excellent Pokemon to promote if one of your Pokemon were to be knocked out.
This is an interesting one. It's not especially strong and it's easily countered by Mewtwo EX so what purpose does it serve? I see it as a counter to opposing Hawluchas as well as getting through the non-ex Yveltals (even though it does a poor job of that too). This is one card I would highly consider cutting if your meta doesn't have a high volume of Fighting decks that play Hawlucha. Again, besides being a fighting Pokemon and benefitting from all the enhancers in the deck, Lucario EX is overshadowed by Landorus EX and even, in my opinion, Hawlucha.
Beartic is another new card introduced in Furious Fists and I believe it serves as a better counter to Pyroar than Garbodor. With limited decks in the meta having abilities and the lack of lasers in this deck, I believe having Beartic as a secondary attacker makes more sense than Garbodor. Its attack Igloo Hold also works well with the Double Colourless Energies in the deck. Not only does this card counter Pyroar, but it also helps against the mirror against rival Landorus EX's as well as the up and coming Donphan that many people are beginning to play.
Another strong staple Pokemon that seems to be appearing in every deck as a one of tech. This Pokemon locks your opponents Item cards, disabling a lot of players from getting too far ahead on their turn. Its' typing also works well against mirror Landorus EX's, trapping them in place (since the attack locks down the player from playing any switch cards or float stones) while doing double damage to it. This card is such a good starter that I would consider playing two in a deck just in case the one is prized in the beginning.
Mewtwo EX has been a staple in almost all decks, but ever since Yveltal EX made an appearance it was pushed back into many binders. However, with dark decks losing Dark Patch, as well as the game taking a slower pace, Mewtwo EX has become relevant again. It works well against rival Lucario EX's as well as being a strong attacker against big energy attackers such as Yveletal EX's and Genesect EX's. Mewtwo EX is also a great counter against rival Mewtwo EX's, but remember whatever damage you can do to them, they can always do back to you!
This one of tech card is great to turn the Virgen matchup to your favour. Normally, Genesect EX's ability to knockout a Pokemon in one go with its G-Booster attack poses a big threat to your Landorus EX's and Mewtwo EX's. Seismitoad's weakness to grass doesn't help matters either. However, with Spiritomb on your bench, you're able to attack and spread damage with your EX's without having to worry about your opponent dropping a G-Booster down. Of course, with Spiritomb down, you yourself can't play your Ace Spec either, but I believe that's a small price to pay in this matchup.
The very low HP Jirachi EX becomes a huge burden to all those that play it. But it's ability to search your deck for any Supporter could very well save you from a dead hand. For this very reason, Jirachi EX is an important tech in many decks. A lot of players take a large risk in playing Jirachi EX in their decks, but when the choice is either lose by passing every turn or dropping a 90 HP EX in hopes of getting back into the game, I'm sure everyone would choose the latter.
A must-have Supporter in this deck because it was designed for decks revolving around Fighting Pokemon. The ability to search for any of your preferable starters turn 1 along with any Item of your choice is invaluable. Against a rival Seismitoad, a turn 1 Korrina into a Hawlucha and switch could mean the difference between giving up two prizes or taking two prizes.
Due to the low energy requirements for a lot of your Pokemon, Max Potion seems fitting in this deck as it allows a huge amount of damage to be healed for the price of one energy (that can be easily replaced). Max Potion is also retreivable by Korrina, making it even more valuable in tight situations.
I chose one escape rope in this deck just to provide an alternative switching card that is also searchable by Korrina. In timely situations this card could surprise your opponent netting you a knockout where you would normally need a Lysandre.
I included one Silver Bangle in this Skeleton list as a possible tech to help do that extra 10 damage. I only have 1 listed because the only Pokemon that can benefit from the bangle are Beartic and Hawlucha. Again, with Korrina being a primary supporter in this deck, it isn't difficult to get both a Hawlucha and a Silver Bangle out when the time calls for it.
I believe playing a heavyset of Lysandre compliments Landorus EX's ability to spread. It gives the option of netting knockouts on damaged Pokemon as well as taking an easy two prizes off an unsuspecting Jirachi EX.
Adding 20 damage to all fighting Pokemon, with no setback makes this card a no brainer to include. With barely anything in the meta to remove Special Energies, there's no reason not to play this card except for the reason that you don't own any.
Raichu could also be used as a Stage 1 secondary attacker in this deck since it benefits from the Double Colourless Energy. Raichu can provide high damage output and is a great counter against Yveltal EX and Lugia EX.
Reshiram and Zekrom all with the Outrage attack are also viable techs. The Reshiram punishes any Virizion EX that decides to Emerald Slash against it, while Zekrom has the same effect on opposing non-ex Yveltals as well as providing a good wall against Yveltal EX's. However, if your opponent plays around them by using Lysandre or Genesect's Red Signal abililty, these cards become pretty weak.
To conclude this article, I would like to just encourage all that have read this to test out the different techs and playstyles that this deck offers so that you can find one that uniquely matches yours. I believe this deck has a lot of versalitiy when it comes to the current meta and is one of the top choices during the Fall Regionals. Thank you all for taking the time to read this and I look forward to any feedback you might have for me!
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