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Dominic Bargardi

"Lucky Number 7" My Top 7 Picks for the Upcoming National Championships

In this article I will cover which decks I believe are the best plays for the US National Championships.

06/26/2015 by Dominic Bargardi

 

 

Introduction

     Hello everyone! My name is Dominic Bargardi and I am a Master's division player from Michigan. I don't have any real accomplisments but am excited to write for 60 cards. In this article I will cover which decks I believe will be most popular at the US National Championships as well as provide decklists and card explanations.

Donphan/Hawlucha/Wobbuffet

     This deck has somewhat dropped out of favor recently. Roaring Skies brought the release of Shaymin EX. This card immediately made Exeggutor an unviable deck choice which had given Donphan some trouble at the end of States and beginning of Spring Regionals. The banning of Lysandre's Trump Card has also helped this deck tremendously. The ban caused most of the format to slow down and play more conservatively while Donphan went unaffected. It also created a situation where Night March could be played in high numbers at Nationals, a positive match up for Donphan. Overall Donphan has solid match ups across the board, but can struggle against M Rayquaza EX and Seismitoad EX though.

Pokemon

There really isn't anything special about the Pokemon line up. We have 3 Hawlucha which is a very strong card in pretty much any match up especially vs. Seismitoad EX. The release of Shaymin EX has also brought Hawlucha many more easy prizes than the occasional Jirachi EX use to. Now, 2-4 of your prizes can come from Shaymin EX each game.

Other Pokemon that we use are 2 Wobbuffet and 1 Sigilyph. Wobbuffet does a really good job at shutting down decks based around Shaymin EX. It also slows down decks like Bronzong. Sigilyph has been around since the creation of Donphan and is still one of the best walls. What's better than not getting hit vs. EXs? Sigilyph is especially important vs. Seismitoad EX. If you can play down your Sigilyph with a Float Stone before your opponent can Quaking Punch, the game should go very smoothly.

Trainers

Korrina is great to start with which is why we run four. It allows us to grab the one-ofs in the deck very easily and at the best time possible. For the one-ofs we have Professor’s Letter, Enhanced Hammer, Switch, Silver Bangle, and Ultra Ball.

Any time you play a high count of Korrina in a deck you should definitely be playing Professor’s Letter. Without it, you will find turns when you want to guarantee yourself a Donphan but can't afford to Korrina because you won't have any Energy to attack with it. Professor’s Letter solves this problem.

Enhanced Hammer may seem random but has a lot of uses. Considering that almost all of the top decks right now play Special Energy, it will almost never be a dead card. If you go second vs. Seismitoad, you can knock off their DCE if they decide to attach it. Against things like Night March and M Rayquaza, you can Enhanced Hammer off an Energy attached to a benched attacker the same turn you KO an active one. This puts your opponent in a tough spot where they will need find another Energy that turn if they want to attack.

Next on our list is Switch. Although 3 Float Stone can usually get the job done, having a Switch is nice too. It can also help you get out of poison.

Silver Bangle basically serves the same purpose as Muscle Band but gives you the option of 10 more damage vs. EXs. An example of this can be seen when Hawlucha tries to OHKO a Shaymin EX. Usually Hawlucha needs Fighting Stadium + Strong Energy + Muscle Band to hit for 120. With Silver Bangle, Hawlucha only needs a Strong Energy or a Fighting Stadium to hit 110.

Lastly is Ultra Ball. Because all of our Pokemon Search is through Korrina, we don't have any way to access our non-Fighting type Pokemon. The one Ultra Ball can help with that and is also searchable via Korrina.

Besides our one-ofs we also have our Ace Spec. Traditionally you would probably see computer search in here, but with so many one-ofs Dowsing Machine just seems more useful to me.

Energy

The Energy line is the perfect number in my opinion. You obviously play 4 Strong Energy but the 5 Fighting Energy and 2 DCE seem just enough to allow Donphan to wreck when he needs to.

Landorus/Crobat

     Next up is Landorus/Crobat. Now there is a couple of ways you can play this deck. One is centered more around Korrina while the other is centered around Colress. Both have their advantages and disadvantages and that is why we will be looking at both. This deck seems well positioned right because of its strong Night March match up. It is a powerful deck that can compete with most things but struggles against Seismitoad EX and M Rayquaza EX. Another positive of this deck is its ability to run through decks focused on Raichu. We will first be looking at the Colress version.

Pokemon

The Pokemon line is very standard. You have 2/1 Landorus EX/Lucario EX split. This is a good number as Landorus is a strong opener but some match ups require a different attacker (Seismitoad).

Hawlucha is very strong right now as explained when writing about Donphan. Three is the perfect number as it is a solid attacker and good starter as it has free retreat.

The 4-4-3 is definitely the right amount in the deck. Some people may choose to cut the 4th Golbat or add the 4th Crobat but I would disagree that those options are better. With Shaymin EX in the deck you can't play out cards like Crobat so a 4th one wouldn't really help. On occasion you also will have to discard a Golbat or have one prized.

The 1/1 Shaymin EX/Jirachi EX split is nice but I'm not sure that the Jirachi EX is needed. Its nice to search out AZ but that is your only tech Supporter.

Trainers

Super Scoop Up and AZ are very powerful cards and are why I chose a high 4/1 count. Especially now with Shaymin EX in the deck, they are almost never bad cards to have in your hand.

I decided on a 3/2 Ultra Ball/Repeat Ball split but may consider switching back to a 4/1. Repeat Ball is really good but early game can be a waste if you don't have anything good to grab with it.

Energy

The Energy count is very standard and is the minimum amount I would run.

Pokemon

The Pokemon count for both the Colress and Korrina versions are exactly the same.

Trainers

This is where the two lists begin to differ. In this list we have now introduced 3 Korrina and 2 AZ. The advantages to playing Korrina is that it allows you grab specific cards while with Colress you try to draw into them. Korrina's usefulness can be in this examples: You start Zubat, Hawlucha, an Energy, Korrina, and some other cards. On your turn you play the Korrina for a Landorus EX and get a Repeat Ball to get another Zubat. You now have a pretty good set up for your first turn. Now you may notice that this list plays 0 Super Scoop Up in favor of 2 AZ. This is because when you need to hit a crucial Super Scoop Up heads with the Korrina version, you don't want to Korrina for Super Scoop Up and only have a 50% at hitting the heads. You want to increase your chances. Now the Korrina version does this by playing AZ. Although it's a Supporter, it guarantees that you will be picking up your Pokemon. The Colress version would play this situation differently as they would Colress and hope to draw into two or more Super Scoop Up and try to pick up their Pokemon That way.

One of the other differences in the Trainers is the addition of Professor’s Letter. As I already stated in the section about Donphan, Korrina + Professor’s Letter is a great combo.

The final difference is the Ace Spec. This version goes for Scoop Up Cyclone over Computer Search. Scoop Up Cyclone is great in the version because it can be searched out by Korrina.

Energy

Standard.

M Rayquaza (Colorless)/Shaymin

I'm not sure how popular or viable this deck is for Nationals. I thought I would cover it anyway because it's still fast and extremely powerful. The deck is very consistent and is streamlined. The Pokemon line consists of Rayquaza EX, Shaymin EX, a thin Altaria line, and a couple of Exeggcute. There are also a lot of 3-ofs and4-ofs which make it easy to find what you are looking for.

Pokemon

Like I already said it is very streamlined. 4-3 M Rayquaza EX, 4 Shaymin EX, 1-1 Altaria, and 2 Exeggcute.

We play a thick Rayquaza line because it is our only attacker.

There are four copies of Shaymin EX because it fills the bench and helps you blow through your deck.

The Altaria line is there to try to help against things like Raichu, Joltik, and Manectric EX.

Exeggcute is there to discard when your Stadium is countered and to help with Ultra Ball discards.

Trainers

The trainer line up is really weird. It plays only one copy of each common Supporters. The reason for this is the deck's ability to find the Supporters through other means. You can play Battle Compressor a Supporter and then VS Seeker for it.

The 4 Ultra Ball makes your hand smaller so you can draw more with Shaymin EX. Playing four is definitional a must to help you find all of your Pokemon.

The max count of Mega Turbo is also questionable. This just makes it easier to stream your M Rayquaza EXs.

One thing that I like in the deck is the 4 Rayquaza Spirit Link. This may not make sense at first considering you are at most getting 3 M Rayquaza EX. By playing 4 Spirit Link, you will always have them even if some are prized or get discarded. They can also be attached to anything not named Rayquaza EX if you just want to draw more cards with Shaymin.

The deck plays a 3/3 Acro Bike/Trainers' Mail split. This decks help you dig through your deck. I split these cards right in the middle and I'm not sure if it should be 4/2 one way or another.

Battle Compressor, as stated before, helps get your ideal Supporter in the Discard Pile so you can VS Seeker for it. It also gets your Exeggcute in the Discard.

The 3 switching cards help if you don't start with Rayquaza EX. While playing against Primal Groudon/Wobbuffet, Escape Rope can possibly get their Wobbuffet out of the active to allow you to play down your Shaymin EXs.

Energy

The 4 DCE are standard. I chose to play 4 Basic Energy which I can Mega Turbo onto M Rayquaza EX. The reason I chose to play Fire Energy was because of point Chris Fulop had brought up in one of his articles. Because none of your Pokemon need a certain type of Energy, you might as well play Fire or Fighting to give yourself a chance at discarding them with Scorched Earth.

Night March

     Just because Night March is a big threat doesn't mean we can't play it ourselves! Of course that would be really risky considering the hype it has been getting, but Night March is definitely the real deal. Dealing 180 damage on the second turn of the game is nothing to laugh at. Although many inexperienced players are known for playing this deck, it is much more lethal in the hands of a good player. With the banning of Lysandre's Trump Card, Seismitoad decks no longer have a full proof way of beating Night March and with a good enough Turn 1, Night March will win the match up. This is huge for Night March considering Seismitoad had previously been really tough to beat. Night March's toughest match up will be Landorus/Crobat and Gengar/Trevenant decks that can get the Turn 1 lock.

Pokemon

This Pokemon line up is once again standard. The move from 3 Mew EX to 2 Mew EX is a result of the Revive reprint.

Shaymin EX takes this deck to new heights. If you thought hitting 180 one the first turn wasn't too hard before, wait until you can draw through ten more cards on your turn!

Mr. Mime is an addition I think is necessary considering the amount of Landorus/Crobat that could be seen at Nationals.

Trainers

Nothing too special for the trainers. I would like to talk about a few things, however.

The 1 Silver Bangle can help you hit numbers like 170 or 210 more easily than a Muscle Band would.

The 1 Escape Rope has come in handy so many times throughout the games I have played with this deck. This is your lone out to a sleep flip and isn't too hard to find when you need it.

The other card I want to talk about is Revive. The 1 Revive allows you to dump more Night March Pokemon in discard without having to worry about running out. This helps you to hit higher numbers and can let you attack more with your non-EXs.

Dowsing Machine is also a new change. I had recently read somewhere about playing Dowsing Machine over Computer Search and it really makes perfect sense. Because the deck is already fast enough, all you have to do is worry about the late game. Dowsing Machine helps you close the game out with another Dimension Valley or Muscle Band.

Energy

The 4 DCE are needed. I chose Fighting as my type of choice for the last three Energy but it really doesn't matter. The type or types should be chosen based on what you plan to face. Fighting allows me to use Hammerhead and Spinning Turn.

Primal Groudon/Wobbuffet

Now we will look at Primal Groudon/Wobbuffet. This deck tries to start with Wobbuffet in an attempt to slow down other decks that run a high count of Shaymin EX. While Wobbuffet is walling, Groudon tries to get set up so it can sweep the game in three attacks. Thanks to Primal Groudon's Omega Barrier, it is not affected but Trainers. This means that it can not be Lysandre'd up. An ideal game would go like this:

1.) Start Wobbuffet and get a Groudon EX with an Energy attached.
2.) Attach another Energy, get a Focus Sash/Hard Charm on Groudon EX, and Primal Evolve.
3.) Wobbuffet gets KO'd and you promote Primal Groudon EX. You attach an Energy, use Mega Turbo, and get a Groudon EX with a Spirit Link on your bench. KO active Pokemon.
4.) They hit your active Primal Groudon for lots of damage. You Korrina for Scramble Switch and Primal Groudon. You evolve and Scramble Switch into your fresh Primal Groudon. Find a Stadium and KO.
5.) Your opponent tries to do something on their turn and then passes. You play another Stadium and Lysandre another EX for the game.

Now obviously not every game will go that smoothly but that is the general idea.

Pokemon

Very Standard.
4 Wobbuffet because you want to start with it

3-3 Groudon EX because you won't need anymore.

Trainers

I play 4 Korrina because it is really good to get out a Groudon EX + a tool or energy (through Professor’s Letter).

Acro Bike is really good and helps you dig for cards that you need. They can also help get Energy in the Discard for Mega Turbo.

Mega Turbo helps speed up Primal Groudon EX allowing it to attack at least one turn earlier than without it. This also helps in powering up a second Primal Groudon EX when needed.

I have seen most players go with 2-3 Focus Sash for their Tools. I overall think Hard Charm is just a better alternative. Hard Charm blocks damage regardless if the Pokemon as full HP. This can help against decks like Landorus/Crobat who can snipe for large amounts of damage. The only decks that I can see that have the ability to OHKO Primal Groudon EX are both M Rayquaza, Virizion/Genesect, Primal Groudon, and maybe Night March. Let's start with M Rayquaza (Colorless). With a full bench (w/Sky Field), M Rayquaza (Colorless) hits for 240. Either Tool would keep M Rayquaza (Colorless) alive. Against M Rayquaza (Dragon), which is not a good deck especially because of the banning of Trump Card, yes, Focus Sash does more than Hard Charm. Against Virizion/Genesect, let's just hope no one plays that. In the mirror, both cards doing almost the same thing. One difference is for people playing other ways to damage your Primal Groudon EX. This could be Landorus EX or even regular Landorus. If Landorus EX hits you for 10 damage (Hard Charm) your opponent is still going to need to hit for 250 damage to finish off your Primal Groudon EX. To do this, your opponent needs Fighting Stadium + 2 Strong Energy. Even though this is very doable, your opponent has already wasted a turn attaching an Energy to Landorus and may have even give you two easy Prizes through attacking with it. Night March has a hard time hitting the extremely high numbers but Hard Charm could still be important. If your opponent gets a slow start but gets a little hit in early, say 80 damage, it could be reduced to 60 with Hard Charm meaning that your opponent would need to hit for 200 to finish off Primal Groudon EX.

The one Spirit Link plays a very important role in how many of the games play out. It allows you to get a second Primal Groudon EX ready without missing a turn of attacking.

Once again Professor’s Letter is amazing with Korrina.

The 3/2/1 counts of Scorched Earth, Fighting Stadium, and Silent Lab is very interesting. Scorched is such a good draw engine with this deck as it gets Energy in the Discard for Mega Turbo. Fighting Stadium is used for M Rayquaza (Colorless) and the mirror match. The one Silent Lab can be used to get through a Safeguard or Aeigislash EX.

Energy

The 4 Strong Energy are a given but I play a higher count of Fighting Energy to help with Scorched Earth.

Raichu/Crobat

     Up next is Raichu/Crobat. This is another deck that I really enjoy playing. You can build it many different ways. As we saw at Spring Regionals you can play this without Crobat and with a thicker Ninetales line like Andrew Mahone or even drop Ninetales and play other things like Ross Cawthon. This list is a kind of a mix of both. I think at least a small Crobat line is needed. It helps with the extra damage that Raichu sometimes falls short of. There's no doubt that Ninetales is very powerful. That's why I have still included a 1-1 line.

Pokemon

I run a 4-4 Raichu because it is really your only attacker in the deck.

A 4-3-3 Crobat line is what I'm currently running. I don't think that I would ever thicken the line but may make it smaller. The extra damage is nice but as long as you place it in the correct spot, you can get by with a smaller line.

The Shaymin EX count is perfect. It helps fill the bench and helps you draw through your deck very quickly.

The Exeggcute also really help with the deck. They're discard targets if Sky Field is countered and make it easier to play Ultra Ball.

I have already kind of talked about the 1-1 Ninetales line. It helps lock in Sky Field and fills the bench.

Trainers

Everything looks standard except for maybe the Sacred Ash. With the loss of Lysandre's Trump Card, the deck needs to be able to recover Raichu. This is just about the only way to do it. It also makes it easier to discard part of your Crobat line knowing you will be able to get it back later.

Energy

Before the banning of Trump Card, this deck only ran 4 DCE. Having no way to recover DCE, playing 2 Basic Energy really helps. This also make it easier to attack with Crobat and gives you an out to Aegislash EX.

Seismitoad/Crobat

     Next we have Seismitoad/Crobat. This is another deck I really like on the list. The strategy of this deck is no different then any other Seismitoad deck, shut off Items for the whole game. The Crobat line adds extra damage and can pick off things on the bench. Mewtwo EX is another reason I like this deck. I feel that the one copy is definitely necessary with the loss of Trump Card. You can no longer Quaking Punch the whole game while keeping a constant stream of Super Scoop Up, Crushing Hammer, and Hypnotoxic Laser. Eventually you will run out and your opponent will have an attacker built up. A surprise Mewtwo EX with a DCE can really put the hurt on. It is usually just enough to take the last prize.

Pokemon

Very standard.

You play 4 Seismitoad EX because it is your main attacker and you want to start with it.

4-4-3 line of Crobat because you need the extra damage.

As I have already explained Mewtwo EX is really strong and should be included.

I have a 1/1 split of Shaymin EX and Jirachi EX. Both are good in different situations. Shaymin EX can help you dig for a DCE at the beginning of the game while Jirachi EX can search out your one-of Supporters like AZ and Xerosic.

Trainers

The only thing I think I need to cover is the 3/1 split of Ultra Ball and Repeat Ball. I really wish I could play at least 5 search options, but I'm not sure what else to cut.

Energy

With the banning of Trump Card Seismitoad EX decks now need to run more than just DCE. For this reason we play 3 Water Energy. The extra Energy also help vs. Aeigislash EX and allow Crobat and Mewtwo EX to attack more easily.

Conclusion

     I hope everyone enjoyed my first article! I know I rambled on a bit in some spots and probably didn't have enough information in others, but this is definitely a learning experience from me. I had a lot of fun writing and I can't wait to start my next article. Hopefully my life will be a little less busy so that I can focus fully on my next article. Please comment, ask me questions, and help me improve my writing. Any advice is appreciated.

Until next time,

Dominic

 

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