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Daniel lynch

Speedy MegaMan in the Standard Format

Phinnegan Lynch discusses Mega Manectric and a draw engine that makes the deck faster and more consistent then ever before.

11/08/2015 by Daniel lynch

Introduction

Hello! In contrast to my previous work, I am excited to write an article with a little more beef. This piece will explain the engine that is crucial for success with almost any deck in the Standard format and the decks I consider to be the strongest options for Cities.

With one of the smallest formats in a long while, the new Standard format lacks much of what we may have taken for granted in previous sets. Cards like N, Colress and Jirachi-EX have been staples for many of the strongest archetypes in Expanded. Without these resources, we must rethink how draw cards interact with our decks. Many popular decks either lost too many cards to work or are not strong enough to function without certain cards.  One of these archetypes is Seismitoad-EX-based decks. Losing Hypnotoxic Laser will most likely either dismantle Seismitoad entirely or at least cause it to be less of a threat. For these reasons, cards like Acro Bike, Shaymin-EX, and Trainers' Mail can be your main source of draw support.

The Speed Draw Engine

We have seen decks with this kind of draw engine do well multiple times in the past. Jacob Van Wagner's Archie's Blastoise deck is a great example of this kind of engine. Although not all of the aspects of his engine are around now, we can still make use of most of these cards. I like to call this engine "Speed Draw" This is the basic list of cards that should be incorporated in a deck with Speed Draw.

This list will not stay the same for every deck; for example, a Night March deck might run a fourth Shaymin-EX and no AZ. Other decks like my Mega Manectric deck have an extra AZ becuase more Switch cards and draw is needed. Currently my favorite way to take advantage of this kind of draw is in my Mega Manectric deck.

Speed Draw in Mega Manectric

This engine fits well with Manectric because of the amount of cards that Mega Manectric need to run well. I have been testing several variants of Mega Manectric lately because it seems like one of the smoothest decks in Standard and rarely misses the cards it needs. I will go over why this particular variant has many advantages and some disadvantages, although first I will give the basic skeleton that I work from when starting a Mega Manectric list.

These cards should only be cut if it is absolutely crucial or if another card is added that replaces one in the list. An example of this could be in a variant with Pyroar (Flare Command). With Flare Command, you most likely do not need two Lysandre anymore, meaning one could be cut in order to fit in other cards that are needed. Similarly, if you put in two Silent Lab, you could cut one of the Hex Maniac and one of the Rough Seas because Silent Lab has an effect that covers both uses to an extent. Now that we have a base list, this is my full list using the Articuno variant!

Mega Manectric/Articuno

I really like this list. Nevertheless, there are cards that are somewhat tailored to my playstyle and might need to be cut to fit yours. Below, I will go over why some cards could be put in and why others should not be in the list.

Optional Additions

Muscle Band versus Trick Coin

This serves as a slightly more reliable version of Trick Coin. It also limits your options in terms of what Pokémon can be targeted. For example, Aromatisse is in one-shot range with the Trick Coin, but there is still a 25% chance of missing the knockout. With Muscle Band, you don't have the option to knock out Aromatisse but you could almost guarantee yourself an OHKO on Sableye because there is only about a 16% chance of getting tails on all three flips. I'm still not quite sure which option I like better, but both are strong choices.

Judge

This card interests me because of how detrimental it can be to your opponent in the early turns. At the same time, playing a Supporter that get you a measly four cards is a bit hard to justify. This card can be strong if you are able to set up your field before you play your Supporter. Currently, I'm not sure it is worth the space.

Second Regice

At the moment, I don't see a whole lot of use in Regice. The effect of this card is strong, which is why one copy remains, although most of the time Articuno is simply better. You are only going to use one non-EX attacker per game in most matchups, meaning Regice will usually just take up Bench space while Articuno does the real work.

Fourth Rough Seas

For a long time, it seemed like people had the idea that Rough Seas needs to be a four-of. While the effect is incredible, four copies seems excessive to me and I have never thought that a fourth copy was needed in my testing.

Super Rod

I absolutely love this card and want to fit it. My problem is that this card ends up being something that is not absolutely needed and ends up not fitting in the list. Super Rod is great for recovering Mega Manectric after discarding them early game, however this is essentially all it is good for. In theory, I like this card; in practice, it is essentially useless.

Enhanced Hammer

With Night March being the only real struggle for this deck, Enhanced Hammer can seem like a great way to combat this problem. It has the secondary function of being able to discard Double Dragon Energy against Giratina and Tyrantrum decks. I like this card and will probably put it in if I find room somewhere. I do feel like Night March players can somewhat play around the Enhanced Hammers if they know I have them in my deck, which discourages me from playing it. Oftentimes when facing Night March, I find the only Double Colorless in play is on a Pokémon that I will Knock Out that turn. I would like a simple card like this to counter Night March, but I'm not sure this is the way to go about.

Float Stone

One flaw with this build is the lack of switching cards. Two AZ does somewhat patch this, although it is a Supporter and using your Supporter just to switch is fairly disappointing. Float Stone could fix this, so I am considering taking out the Hard Charm and the Giovanni's Scheme in favor of two Float Stone. At the moment, the lack of switching cards has rarely been a problem, though, so I'm not sure Float Stone is needed.

Benefits of this Variant

This variant is great for providing positive or even matchups across the board. Articuno creates better matchups against decks like Meinshao, Night March, Vespiquen, and Fighting/Bats. Articuno is a a great attacker in combination with Mega Manectric, not only because it can take extra prizes with Δ Plus, but also because it has Resistance to Fighting-type attackers. We can combine this Resistance with Hard Charm, creating a situation where any Fighting attacker needs to do heaps of damage just to take one Prize. Once Articuno does take damage, we can easily Retreat to Mega Manectric, and then use Rough Seas to heal some of it off. By the next turn, Rough Seas can be used again and Articuno is essentially unharmed.

Matchups

When playing against more aggressive decks like Night March, you will certainly lose without the help of Articuno. To say that Night March is a good matchup because of Articuno would be a bit of an exaggeration, but Articuno is the only reason it is not an autoloss. In my opinion if the matchup is played perfectly, it will end up about 45/55 in favor of Night March. Certainly winnable if you are playing against someone who might not know how to play Night March perfectly. It should also be noted that although Vepsiquen is a positive matchup,  Articuno helps in solidifying the win. Overall, these are what I consider the matchups to be, assuming both players involved are playing perfectly. (Manectric's chance of winning is the first number)

40/60 versus Night March

65/35 versus Vespiquen

60/40 versus Tyrantrum

60/40 versus Mega Rayquaza variants

65/35 versus Meinshao

60/40 versus Vileplume variants

55/45 versus Lucario/Bats

65/35 versus Giratina/Aromatisse

65/35 versus Giratina/Bronzong

Granting this list is rather long, but with such an unexplored format we need to be prepared for anything. Most of these matchup percentages are either self-explanatory or were explained above. For the slightly more complex matchups, I will explain why I came to these numbers.

Vileplume is a weird matchup because, normally, Mega Manectric would destroy this type of deck, but with the Speed Engine, things become a little more complicated. If the Vileplume player gets a Vileplume set up on their first turn and is going first, you will most likely lose. With the low amount of Supporter-based draw, Item-lock can easily cause the Mega Manectric player to dead draw turn after turn. On the other hand, there are a couple things that can be done to combat this. If the Mega Manectric player goes first, they can use all of their Trainers' Mail, Acro Bikes, and VS Seeker, putting them in a position where Item-lock will not have such a harsh impact. In general, if you can pull off a strong turn one, you will win the matchup. Two Hex Maniac also serve as a way to temporarily stop the Item-lock. This opportunity can be used to get back Professor Sycamore with VS Seeker. Despite Item-lock being hard to deal with, most of the time Mega Manectric should win.

Luacrio/Bats is truly tough sometimes; granting this, certain combinations will swing it heavily in your favor. Essentially what the matchup comes down to is whether you can use both Articuno quickly and efficiently. After a Turbo Bolt, an attack from Articuno combined with Giovani's Scheme means you only need one heads to take three Prizes. This is how the math works out:

(Turbo Bolt) 110 + (1 Heads) 60 + (Giovani) 20 = 190 damage.

This will leave your opponent needing to power up another Lucario with a very bulky one-Prize attacker to take down. If you are able to capitalize on this momentum swing by knocking out a Hawlucha, Zubat, or Golbat on the next turn, you will certainly win. On the other hand, Lucario does hit hard against Manectric and requires low setup. Streaming attackers consistently may be a challenge. As long as you run hot you will win, though, so good luck!

Tyrantrum, Giratina/Aromatisse, and Giratina/Bronzong may seem like tough matchups, but in reality, they are not difficult because of the inclusion of two cards. Having two Hex Maniac can easily shut down any of these decks, especially when it is streamed turn after turn. With two Hex and four VS Seeker it should not be difficult to keep these decks at bay. Just remember to be very conservative with VS Seekers and don't use Hex unless you have to.

Conclusion

For the most part, that concludes everything I have to say about this variant. With positive match ups against almost everything that people are using, I do not see myself switching to any other deck for Cities. I hope this provides a little bit of insight for as to why Mega Manectric and the Speed Engine are so strong at the moment. Feel free to netdeck this list and take it to your local League Challenges. I love seeing people use my lists! As always, thank you for reading and have a nice day.

-Phinnegan

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