My ECC Experience with Metal
Karl talks about his ECC experience with his unique Metal deck.
03/01/2016 by Karl Peters
Hey guys, it's Karl again. This time I want to take you through my ECC experience and show you how I prepared for it and how I chose my deck, since it isn't actually one of those decks that immediately comes to mind when you start preparing for such a big tournament like the ECC.
I played straight Metal with a heavy Aegislash-EX focus instead of the usual builds that focus around Tyrantrum-EX. I felt like Aegislash-EX is just much better in the current metagame, simply because Night March and Seismitoad/Giratina are seeing more play each week, but I will get to my though process later.
First of all I want to show you the decklist I used.
- 1x Dialga EX
- 3x Aegislash EX
- 1x Heatran
- 4x Bronzor
- 4x Bronzong
- 1x Dedenne
- 1x Jirachi
- 2x Shaymin EX
- 4x Professor Sycamore
- 2x Shauna
- 2x Lysandre
- 1x Judge
- 1x AZ
- 1x Faded Town
- 1x Parallel City
- 4x Ultra Ball
- 4x VS Seeker
- 4x Trainer's Mail
- 2x Switch
- 1x Battle Compressor
- 2x Level Ball
- 3x Muscle Band
- 2x Float Stone
- 9x Metal Energy
Dialga-EX is just a very strong attacker on its own, and even more powerful if you're not able to use Aegislash to his full potential, just because your opponent doesn't use any Special Energy. Dialga is also able to Knock Out any 170 HP Pokemon-EX in one hit and also allows you to Knock Out any Mega that has 210 HP coming back into your turn by using Faded Town, unless it gets kicked, of course.
Most people might wonder why I still run Jirachi, even though I already have Aegislash-EX. The best explanation is probably that it's a lot easier to buy yourself a turn with Jirachi, simply because it's not getting shut off by cards like Hex Maniac. If your opponent wants to draw a Prized after you attacked with Jirachi, he has to attach a new Energy, use Lysandre, and also has to have enough damage to even get the knockout
Dedenne simply wins you the Yveltal matchup in most cases, just because its Energy Short attack completely destroys Yveltal, after your opponent had to put a lot of Basic Darkness Energy onto it, because they wouldn't be able to deal with Aegislash otherwise. It's also a very nice starter to get you some extra Bronzor in most matchups.
I'm simply running Shauna because I hate putting myself down to four cards by playing Professor Birch's Observations. I've played both of these cards plenty of times and Shauna simply got into my favor, which is why I chose to run two of her and one Judge in addition to this.
Switch is just very important, because Float Stone and AZ aren't enough if you don't have access to cards like Keldeo-EX and Zoroark, simply because Keldeo-EX isn't in Standard, and there isn’t space in this deck for Zoroark, which is why I chose to run two Switches in addition to Float Stone and AZ.
Faded Town is very much needed in this deck because you're otherwise struggling a lot with Megas, and especially since Mewtwo is seeing more and more play, I feel like playing this card is a very good choice. At some points I would’ve even liked to have a second one, but there is simply not enough space.
This card is in here to make the Manectric/Bats, or Bats decks in general, not as bad. Bats are very annoying, especially for Bronzor and Bronzong which is why included this card and it turned out to do the job most of the time.
The Road to the ECC
Most players try to keep unique decks like this secret up until the actual tournament, mainly because of a bigger surprise factor that already proved worthy in a lot of past big tournaments. Unlike these players, I wanted to test the deck under tournament conditions. This is why I already started playing the deck for Cities as they were held in the exact same Standard format as the ECC. This made it especially very easy to be prepared against all of the top meta decks as they were definitely going to be at Cities. In the first weeks of Cities, Entei and Manectric/Bats dominated at most City Championships, especially in western Germany where basically everyone played Manectric/Bats for the first week. The City Championship in Düsseldor had two Manectric/Bats, one Entei and a Seismitoad/Giratina in Top 4 which wasn't too good looking for Metal, if the metagame would stay like this. In the second week however things started to turn around and Tyrantrum and Seismitoad/Giratina started pushing Manectric/Bats down. Alongside these two decks, a lot of players began to pick up Yveltal/Gallade which wasn't played at all in the first week.
The metagame stayed pretty similar to this except that Tyrantrum saw less play with every week and Seismitoad/Giratina began to be the top choice for a lot of players in Germany and Austria. Luca Schuster from Austria, who was the Runner up at the Austrian National Championships last year and one of the two Austrians that got into Top 22, for example got most of his City Championship points by playing Seismitoad/Giratina. Night March also became more popular with the decrease of Manectric/Bats, which had a lot of influence on my choice for my ECC deck. I managed to do pretty well with Metal at the City Championships I went to, so I felt pretty confident with both the deck itself, and the possible metagame for the ECC, which would play right into my hands, if it stood how I thought it would be. Before the ECC I talked a lot to my friends and made some last-minute choices, especially the Faded Town which I just included the night before turned out to be a very nice decision and would prove its worth.
I felt pretty confident with my deck going in Day 1 of the European Challenge Cup. We had more than 300 players which meant that there were going to be nine rounds of Swiss and the Top 32 would make it to Day 2.
Round 1 vs M Mewtwo
The first game was over fairly quickly, since I had a very strong first turn where I was able to play down three Bronzor to my Bench to get out three Bronzong on my second turn to attack with Aegislash right away. On top of that he struggled very hard to get his Mega Turbos going and whiffed a lot of Energy attachments on his first few turn which made it possible for me to steamroll him pretty easily.
The second game was actually much closer than I'd like to admit as his start was very strong and he was able to get a Mewtwo with three Basic Energy on his second turn after being able to use Hoopa-EX on his first one to get pretty much everything he needed. I wasn't able to get my Bronzong as quickly as Game 1, but I managed to buy me a lot of turns with Dialga-EX which prevents your opponent’s Pokémon-EX from attacking. Dialga was pretty much the MVP in this game and helped me to get rid of two Mewtwo with a lot of Energy after I was able to get Heatran, after Dialga was Knocked Out by M Mewtwo. This in combination with Faded Town allowed me to get a quick knockout. After he lost his second Mewtwo all he pretty much had left was Double Colorless Energy which also meant that it was time for Aegislash-EX once more. After I managed to put his Mewtwo in range for a knockout it came down to him getting his Hex Maniac, which I didn't actually expect since he didn't even try to use it in game one, but thankfully he missed it after using his last Shaymin which meant that this match was a clean 2-0 in my favor.
Round 2 vs M Mewtwo
Going into this match I felt pretty confident since I played the same matchup just one round ago and it wasn't too hard to win. After he discarded a Hex Maniac on his first turn I felt even more confident and set up my usual Dialga-EX strategy to follow it up with Aegislash-EX. I got rid of his first M Mewtwo-EX very quickly because he used it right away to Knock Out one of my Bronzor that I used so I wouldn't have an EX sitting in the Active spot to be Knocked Out. I immediately got out Dialga-EX to damage his M Mewtwo and knock it out on the following turn. After getting rid of his Mewtwo, he set up a M Mewtwo-EX with a Double Colorless Energy as I expected, so I send out my Aegislash and felt pretty confident since he already used three of his VS Seeker and his Hex Maniac, which would mean that he just had one option left to turn off Aegislash’s Ability so my next one would be able to steamroll him fairly easy. Things turned completely when he played down a new Hex Maniac from his hand, meaning that he was running two of them. I followed the Aegislash up with a new one, but as expected he got his last VS Seeker to knock this one out as well.
The second game was a complete disaster as I started with Shaymin-EX and had the second one Prized. This put me at a rough spot where I had to use Shauna as my draw source for the first turn since I didn't find a Shaymin-EX. The hand after Shauna Basically was AZ, Switch, two Metal Energy and I believe and Ultra Ball which put me in a spot where I definitely had to topdeck something on my next turn after passing the turn with an active Shaymin, two Benched Bronzor and an Aegislash-EX with one Energy which I was hoping could buy me a few turns. My luck, however, didn't change for the next few turns and I lost a very unfortunate second game after being surprised by his two Hex Maniacs in game one.
Round 3 vs Night March/Milotic
After losing a very unfortunate second round I was very happy to see that my opponent was playing Night March, one of the two decks that finally convinced me to play Metal at the ECC. Both games were pretty similar. I just had to put down my Aegislash and attach Energy to them manually to not even give my opponent a chance of getting a Lysandre knockout on something else.
In the first game I build up some Bronzong to quickly get out my Aegislash, but as the game progressed I started realizing that he probably doesn't run any Hex Maniacs in his list. To confirm my assumption I began to power up an Aegislash in the active spot, just by attaching Metal Energy from my hand to see if he goes for a Hex Maniac. He played down cards like Battle Compressor and VS Seeker which showed that he would've been able to get a Hex Maniac if he really wanted to, unless, of course, if it was Prized. But when he finally played down a Town Map and I was able to see that he doesn't run it at all I was very confident that this round would be an easy 2-0 victory.
The second game began perfectly when I started with Aegislash, which allowed me to just Bench my other two Aegislash and attach Energy form my hand to win the game without him drawing one Prize card.
Round 4 vs Manectric/Bats
As I already said at the beginning, this was one of the matchups I was a little bit worried about since I can't use Aegislash-EX as I would like to and Metal has always had a rough time against Manectric-EX decks. My go to strategy was pretty much to use Hex Maniac in combination with Heatran and Dialga as they’re the most efficient attackers for this matchup, especially because the Manectric player can't attach Head Ringers to Heatran.
The first game was actually a lot easier than I expected going into this match. Heatran put in a lot of work, and I was able to get rid of a lot of his Bats with no actual difficulty. This limited him to a very low amount of damage, which got even worse for him when I went in with Dialga-EX to prevent him from attacking, unless he's willing to spend an Energy, or flips head with Super Scoop Up.
The second game was over pretty quickly, mostly because of him dead-drawing and the very nice combination of Parallel City and Heatran to deal a lot of damage, and also leaving him with much less Bench space to play with, winning me the match 2-0.
Round 5 vs Benjamin B. (NO) M Mewtwo
Facing another M Mewtwo-EX deck meant that I had already played against three in just five rounds of the ECC. The first game went pretty much the same way as most games since I was able to easily execute my gameplan and getting rid of his Mewtwo fully stacked with Basic Energy, thanks to Dialga-EX and Faded Town. After that I switched to Aegislash once again putting me in a very good spot and ending a very quick first game.
The second game however started very bad for me. I had two of my four Bronzor Prized which allowed him to Knock Out my first one very easily because I had to start with it. Playing this matchup with just one Bronzor instead put me in a though spot but I was still able to get down to one Prize each, because I thankfully drew the Bronzor pretty early on. It came town to whether or not he topdecked a Mega Turbo and sadly he was able to.
These two games took a very long time and on my second turn of the third game, time was called. As expected none of us where able to draw six Prizes in these three turns, ending the game in a tie.
Round 6 vs Björn R. (DE) Yveltal/Zoroark/Gallade
Going against Yveltal, I felt pretty confident because he basically has to go all-in with Yveltal-EX, making it an easy knockout for Dialga-EX to completely crush his gameplan.
The first game went pretty much as expected as I was able to get out three Bronzor on my first turn, Evolving two of them straight away on my second turn. His start wasn't too overwhelming because he had to use Yveltal on his first few turns, which he tried to use to power up Zoroark, but fortunately I was able to get a Lysandre to Knock Out Zoroark, which is probably the biggest threat in his deck, because it's able to Knock Out Aegislash for two Darkness Energy, because my Bench is usually full of Pokémon.
The second game went pretty much the same way, with me getting a much slower start. His start was pretty normal, not too explosive, but also not horrible. I tried to execute my strategy once again, but unfortunately I whiffed the Muscle Band after using two Trainer's Mail, Shaymin-EX and Professor Sycamore, meaning that he would get an easy knockout on Dialga-EX since he was able to play Escape Rope and Lysandre to play around Dialga's first attack.
The third game started out very well for me, getting me a lot of Bronzor once again, and also a Battle Compressor to get an explosive second turn. I pretty much steamrolled him, putting him in a spot where he had to go all-in with just one Yveltal-EX, making it very easy to buy me a turn with Dialga since he already used his Muscle Band and wasn't able to get out a Zoroark. Unfortunately time was called and I wasn't able to close out the game, even though I would have definitely won the game a few turns later.
Round 7 vs Night March
After tying a very frustrating sixth round, I was hoping that I would finally get to play against my good matchup, and this which was granted when I got to play against Night March once more. I don't think that I have to go into detail for this match too deeply as I played out pretty much the same way as the third round, making it another clean 2-0 victory thanks to Aegislash-EX.
Round 8 vs Manectric/Bats
I don't remember too much of this round but I believe I was able to attach with Heatran very early on after putting down a Parallel City very quickly to put him in a rough spot. Heatran draw me pretty much five Prizes, leaving the last one to Dialga-EX to finish of the first game. The second game was pretty much just draw-passing after he had a horrible first turn without using a Supporter. He was able to get a bunch of Bats, but still no Supporter and no powered up Manectric to attack with.
Round 9 vs Seismitoad/Giratina
So it turned out, that I had to wait eight whole rounds to finally face the one matchup I wanted to play against the most – Seismitoad/Giratina. The first game was pretty funny on one side, but also very scary, when he donked one of my Bronzor on the first turn by using Latios-EX—yes, Latios-EX. This caught me very much by surprise, mostly because I expected this matchup to be autowin for me. Latios however wasn't the biggest of threats, and after I was able to knock it out, Aegislash did the whole job by completely destroying all of his Giratina-EX and Seismitoad-EX, simply because they're not able to damage him at all.
When I started with lone Dedenne I was pretty scared of him getting the donk, but fortunately enough, he didn't get it. His starts wasn't that got overall which I was able to abuse even more when I used Dedenne two turns in a row to get my whole setup making it Basically impossible for him to win. I was able to close out the game very easy with Aegislash-EX, winning me the match 2-0.
6-1-2 was pretty much a sure spot in the Top 32 and therefore for Day 2, getting me in as 15th place after Day 1. After a very exhausting first day, and a lot of close or frustrating games, I was happy to see that most decks in the Top 32 where either going to be Night March or Seismitoad/Giratina, giving me a very good shot at getting into the Top 32.
Round 10 vs Benjamin B. (NO) M Mewtwo
I don't think that I have to explain the matchup too much anymore, especially since this is already the fourth time that I'm playing against this deck at the ECC. Game one played out pretty much as expected. I was able to get rid of a M Mewtwo with a lot of Basic Energy once again, allowing Aegislash to steamroll him right after. He was able to Knock Out one Aegislash-EX thanks to Hex Maniac, but afterwards he was both out of resources for a new M Mewtwo, and also out of VS Seekers. The second game was over very quickly, because his start was straight up horrible and he didn't even get out a single M Mewtwo, making this a clean 2-0 victory, after drawing to him in Swiss.
Round 11 vs Fiete S. (DE) Yveltal/Zoroark/Gallade
The first game was surprisingly hard to win, mostly because he kept attacking with the regular Yveltal, powering up all of his Pokémon. He used a lot of turns to do this and If I had been able to draw one of my Lysandres, I would've been able to put him in a very though spot. Sadly I didn't draw them and he was able to get a lot of knockouts with Yveltal-EX and Zoroark. Unfortunately for him he made the mistake of attaching a Double Colorless Energy to his Yveltal-EX, and after I knocked out his Zoroark, he wasn't able to do anything, because he just doesn't have the time to use a Y Cyclone, just to move the Double Colorless Energy.
He played the second game pretty much the same way, starting to use Oblivion Wing a lot on the early turns. This time his strategy worked a lot better, mainly because my start was just horrible. He was able to win the second game in the end, even though I was pretty close. Thankfully both of these games didn't take too long which meant that we would probably still have time for the third. Unfortunately for him he started with Yveltal-EX, allowing me to already damage it, without him being able to put it to great use. After getting the knockout on this Yveltal-EX he wasn't able to do much more, especially after I used Lysandre on his Zoroark. I was able to close out the game, winning me the series 2-1.
Round 12 vs Scot S (UK) M Mewtwo
Unlike most other matches against m Mewtwo, this turned out much more difficult than expected, especially since he was running two Hex Maniac, which I obviously didn't know at first. In the first game I tried to execute my gameplan with getting the knockout on one of his powered up M Mewtwo. While I knocked out the first one, he already had a second M Mewtwo with a Double Colorless Energy on his Bench, allowing him to get the revenge-knockout. As usually I put up my Aegislash, going for the Sash Blast hoping, that he wouldn't have the Hex Maniac. Sadly he had both, the Battle Compressor, and the VS Seeker, to get his Hex Maniac and knockout my Aegislash-EX with Psychic Infinity. After this he was also able to get another VS Seeker on the next turn, to Knock Out my last Aegislash-EX for his last two Prizes.
The second game started with him playing down Town Map in his first turn, revealing that his Hex Maniac was Prized. I immediately tried to use this to my advantage by going in aggressive with Heatran. This worked out as expected, leaving him just with a Mewtwo with a Double Colorless Energy. He used this exact Mewtwo to Knock Out Heatran, but surprisingly didn't take the Hex Maniac out of his Prizes. I immediately went in with Aegislash-EX, knowing that if he hasn't got a Lysandre, my Aegislash would be able to steamroll him. Unfortunately that was the point where I got to realize that he plays two Hex Maniac when he used Set Up to get his second one. I put all my effort into that one Aegislash, leaving me with nothing else and allowing him to close out the game 2-0, after Jirachi wasn't able to buy me a turn, because of his Lysandre.
Round 13 vs Night March
I think it's pretty needless to say that this was a pretty easy win once more, especially since he wasn't able to get his hex Maniacs when he needed them, and had three Night Marchers Prized on the second game. He tried to get some sneaky Lysandre Prizes, but after I ran out of Pokémon that weren't Aegislash, he just wasn't able to draw all of his Prizes anymore.
Round 14 vs Martin Guilbert (FR) Manectric/Bats
The first game started very solid for both of us. He was able to get out two Zubat on his first turn which isn't as much as he would like to have, but still a lot better than getting none at all. I started with Dedenne and since I was going second I already knew that I'm going to have a bunch of Bronzor on the first turn, especially since I already started with one of them as a starting Pokémon.
I was able to get a bunch of Metal Energy into the discard pile, preparing for an explosive second turn. At the beginning of the game I wasn't quite sure if he's playing a version with Seismitoad-EX, or without, which is why I chose to Bench a Jirachi, just in case he actually runs Seismitoad. This, however, changed on his second turn when he played down his Parallel City, which forced me to discard two of my Benched Pokémon. The first choice was pretty easy in a Shaymin-EX, but my second choice fell on the said Jirachi just because I felt like even when he does run Seismitoad-EX, it would still be a lot better to keep my two Bronzor and the Heatran. He got out some more bats, including Golbat to apply a little bit of pressure to my Heatran which seemed kind of strange since it's probably better to go for the Bronzor instead, but I guess if he want to set up a Knock Out with Assault Laser if I attach a Tool and if he doesn't have the Muscle Band, it's still a decent choice. I was able to get out my two Bronzong as expected which was very important, especially due to the pressure that Parallel City was putting me in. I chose to use Dedenne's Energy Short, which is nice to damage his Manectric without having to use my Heatran already, and it's also very good, so that he isn't able to heal high amounts of damage with Super Scoop Up and AZ. By damaging his Manectric, I put him in a spot where I would be able to get a knockout if I get the right cards, but it's also not enough damage to make it worth for him to spend these healing cards.
After he Knocked Out my Dedenne, I was in a pretty rough spot where I had to pass a turn and just watch him getting out more Bats and powering up his Manectric-EX. Fortunately enough, I was able to get the Float Stone and he Muscle Band to Knock Out his damaged Manectric-EX to give me two Prizes, but also leaving me with a heavily damaged Bronzong on my Bench. As expected he was able to get the knockout on my Bronzong by damaging it with Crobat's ability leaving me with just one Bronzong for the next turn. After this he flipped heads on a Super Scoop Up to drop even more Bats and attack with Miltank as well which is why I chose to scoop this game because it left me in a pretty unwinnable spot.
This at least meant that I was able to go first in our second game which didn't turn out as great as I expected. I was able to get out a Bronzor right away which is always nice, and I also was able to play down a Judge on the first turn, hoping to put him in a rough position. But unfortunately he drew enormously well from this Judge, getting him a second Zubat for his Bench, an Energy for his Manectric-EX and a Professor Sycamore. Things went completely out of hand after he played his Sycamore. He was able to get two more Zubat right away and still had an Ultra Ball for a Shaymin giving him the best possible turn, and putting me in a very tough position especially since I was already down 0-1. Luckily I was able to get out Bronzong to power up my Aegislash and also got to play another Judge afterwards, hoping that his luck wouldn't continue. But sadly his luck kept continuing after this Judge gave him a Level and an Ultra Ball to search for two Golbat and still have an AZ to pick up his Shaymin to draw the full six new cards.
After using the Shaymin-EX he was able to get out one more Golbat and flipping heads on a Super Scoop Up to give him even more cards with Shaymin-EX. At least I was able to get my Parallel City on my next turn to at least limit him down a little bit. I also got another Bronzong out and was able to put a few Metal Energy into my discard pile by using Battle Compressor to help me start powering up the Dialga-EX on my Bench. On his next turn he was able to get a bunch of Crobat out, which I already expected, considering how explosive his last few turns turned out to be. That made it possible for him to get the knockout on my Aegislash-EX and also damage my Dialga-EX on the Bench. On top of that he was able to attach a Head Ringer to my Dialga-EX, meaning that it was an easy knockout for Manectric-EX Assault Laser. Fortunately enough I was able to use Sky Return to knockout his heavily damaged Manectric-EX, giving me the opportunity to send up my Dedenne instead of giving him an important attacker like Heatran or Dialga-EX.
After this I wanted to use Heatran to damage his Manectric-EX, to finish it off with Dialga-EX, but sadly he got a Lysandre and therefore was able to Knock Out my Benched Dialga-EX, thanks to his Head Ringer. This got him down to two Prizes, putting me in a very tight spot. Thankfully I had already damaged his Manectric-EX enough to get the knockout with Heatran and a Muscle Band. This left him with three Crobat in play which was actually a very nice spot for me to be in. But sadly I had two heavily damaged Pokémon in my Bench which made both of the easy targets for Crobat's Skill Dive which is why I chose to Judge him after he got the first knockout. Sadly he got the Energy after the judge meaning that he was able to get his last Prize card, ending the match in a 0-2 for me.
To be honest I was actually a little bit unhappy with the result, especially since I lost the last round due to extremely bad luck and didn't get matched up against a single Seismitoad/Giratina on Day two even though a lot of them made it to Day two which would be a lot easier than constantly facing decks like M Mewtwo and Manectric/bats. But you can't always rely on getting the right pairings so I guess even getting Day two with quite the unique deck is somewhat a solid accomplishment, even though I had hoped for more. I also think that it's a very funny coincidence that I had to face the deck I just wrote an article shortly before the ECC the most. But as I even said in this article, M Mewtwo is a very strong deck and this proved when most matches against it were very close and could have gone into either player’s direction.
Future of the deck
The new set doesn't really brings that many new cards for Metal but one card that I'd definitely include is Fighting Fury Belt since the card itself is just very strong and helps Aegislash to be an even bigger threat to opposing Pokémon, or Heatran which now has 170 HP which is actually enormous for a non-EX. I don't think that Reverse Valley will see a lot of play in Metal decks since the minus 10 doesn't help you too much, and because other Stadiums are simply better in this deck.
Max Potion however is actually very valuable for this deck since you can easily set up a new attacker in just one turn after healing your damaged one. This is especially huge with the combination of Fighting Fury Belt which makes it very hard for a lot of decks to get easy one, or even two hits unless they actually manage to set up very big hitters which are usually-EX, so they can be dealt with with Dialga-EX. The main problem for Metal is probably going to be the increasing play of decks that don't need special Energy at all like Yveltal with Max Elixir or the newly introduced Greninja deck. We will have to see how the meta develops and if Metal will still have a spot as a contestant for a solid and viable deck.
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