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Mehdi Hafi

Bremen, Bilbao and Crimson Invasion

Bremen and Bilbao decklists followed by a quick discussion about SL/SM4's impact on the meta!

10/23/2017 by Mehdi Hafi

This article brought to you by CCGcastle.com The best place to get your Pokémon singles!

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Hi everyone, here comes Mehdi Hafi!

Some of you may know me already, but for those who don't, I'm a French player and I've been playing since late 2011! I'm a student in my 4th year of Computer Science, but I'm still not sure in which domain I want to work! I like sports, Video games, Anime and, of course, card games!

I don't like to brag about any past achievements, but since it seems like a ritual for new authors I placed 2nd at Sheffield Regional 2017! I've yet to win a tournament in the new system.

I know that it's a bit late, but in this article I will talk about Bremen, Bilbao and will finish with some small talk about the BKT-SM4 format.

Bremen : Ho-Oh Salazzle, Decitales or DrampaGarb?

Before Bremen, I had 3 decks in mind : DrampaGarb, Decitales and Ho-Oh/Salazzle. I will talk about all three of them, which seemed best at the time, and why I should have/shouldn't have played them.

Ho-Oh Salazzle

I was working for some weeks on Ho-Oh Salazzle, and the list was almost finished. I really liked the deck. Solid and straightforward, but the Gardevoir and Vikabulu matchups were awful, and it was keeping me from grouping it with the "sure" choices.

I went to Lyon's League Cup, playing Ho-Oh Salazzle. I wasn't expecting that much Gardevoir, and I wanted to test it on an almost-unknown meta before discarding the idea from my top choices.

I went 3-1-1 in Swiss, losing to Gardevoir and Tying with Ninetales. I lost in Top 4 to Vikabulu. It wasn’t a bad run, but the flaws of the deck were still there and I can't play the deck if I can’t find a new way to correct some of its problems.

Here's the list I used:

You might be afraid of some of these card counts, but I maxed out everything needed to try to get Kiawe t1 as often as possible. 

4 Ho-Oh GX
I wanted to maximize the odds of starting with a good Kiawe target, so I think it's smart to play 4 Ho-Oh-GX. It's the best attacker in the deck, hitting for 210 with a Choice Band for four Energy, with the only downside being that you can't use this attack the next turn. With 4 Guzma, 2 Switch and 2 Float Stone, you can easily attack again during the next turn. This effectively eliminates this major drawback that would otherwise make Ho-Oh useless!

4 Tapu Lele GX
Just like Ho-Oh, I want to have Kiawe turn one, so I've maxed the Tapu Leles. It's also really storng in the mid/late game because it can grab Guzma or Sycamore, depending on your needs! It's fun to talk about "late game" in this deck, because the games are usually over by turn four or five!

2 Turtonator GX
Turtonator is the second-best Pokémon to power up with Kiawe. Its GX attack is incredible and Turtonator can be powered up in two turns, helped by a Max Elixir. Playing one could be fine because having it prized isn't that much of an issue, since you can take 2-4 prizes early on, but 4 Ho-Oh + 2 Turtonator keeps your good Kiawe target counts high, ensuring the availability of one on the first turn.

1 Volcanion EX
I was playing 2 at first, but Steam Up was underwhelming. There's not that many Pokémon with more than 210HP in the format besides Gardevoir and Metagross, which you already hit for weakness. 

2/2 Salazzle
Nothing to explain here, it's just the standard line for a Pokémon that you want in play at least once every game.

1 Oranguru
Instruct is amazingly good in this deck, you use it really often. Ensuring you can still draw cards while being N'd is key. His attack is a nice way to deal with Alolan Ninetales BUS.

0 Baby Volcanion
I don't know why people play it, maybe it's because I only play 1 Volcanion EX, but in my testing, the card was really weak. If I had the space for a Volcanion, I'd better play a second Oranguru.

4 Sycamore, 4 Guzma, 4 Kiawe
It may seems weird at first, but when you play this deck, you want to Kiawe t1 and then proceed to win the game from there. You want to use Guzma while taking KO to hinder your opponent (or to win the game faster). N isn't that bad as a 1of, but it was like the 64th card at the time.

4 UB, 3 Nest Ball, 4 Choice Band
Same as 4 Ho-Oh/4 Lele, you want to have your combo pieces as often as possible. With Oranguru in play, you can always play UB for Lele. Choice Band is enabling you to hit for 210, the only played Pokémon who escape your OHKO range (outside of steam up) is Gardevoir GX!

2 Max Elixir
This card is good to load multiple attackers quickly. Playing 3-4 would have been nice, but the slots were hard to find. Be wary of the number of fire left in your deck when you plan something with this card, as when you play Kiawe, you lower the number left in your deck.

2 Switch, 2 Float Stone

I was testing escape rope instead of switch at first, but I never was a fan of Rope with an exception for the format where many decks are playing 1-2 non-EX/GX in a deck full of EX/GX

15 Fire
I was wavering between 14 Fire 3 Elixir and 15 Fire 2 Elixir. I choose to play more fire since you want to Kiawe in the late game sometimes.


After all these explanations, it seems weird to say this, but I really advise against playing this deck unless the format shifts. The deck is losing to Gardevoir, and the Vbulu Match-up isn't good. Against some Match-ups, going second and whiffing Kiawe can cost you the game, like an Espeon GX with a Psychic Energy who threaten to OHKO your Ho-OH if you Kiawe it with 4 energies. Even Guzma Psybeam is really annoying and can cost you the game.

Decitales

When I started testing for BKT-ON, I went with Decitales almost immediatly (Ok, I tried TapuKoko/Honchrow first), but I was displeased with Sycamore, so I tried a "weird" supporter engine:

With 1 Professor Sycamore, I almost never discard cards that I don't want to discard (outside of Ultra Balls), so I don't have to worry about discarding a Max Potion and a Decidueye GX off a Sycamore, etc.

4/3/4 Decidueye GX, 3/1 Alolan Ninetales GX, 3 Tapu Lele GX, 1 Espeon EX
I grouped them together, because it's a standard lineup for a Decitales deck. I'm playing 3 Dartrix instead of 4 because I already have 2 Candies. I used to play 1 Tapu Koko and 1 Espeon EX, but there weren't that much needed.

4 Hau, 4 N, 2 Tierno, 1 Sycamore
Unlike Professor Sycamore and Professor Juniper, you can play both Hau and Tierno! I was surprised too at first, but it's really strong! Since the usual gaming plan of the deck is to win from behind, your opponent don't want to N you for 6 when he's N-ing himself for 3. And with the loss of VS Seeker, he can only N you up to 4 times! So while using Hau/Tierno, you could end up with end of 10+ cards without your opponent doing a thing about it, so you had almost everything you wanted in hand! Don't spend all your Hau/Tierno while your opponent have 3-4 N remaining and you're not looking for anything.

0 Guzma
I never felt the need of it and I'm using the slot for something more usefull. This is the kind of deck who can "attack" anywhere on the opponent board.

2 Skyla, 1 Olivia, 1 Brigette
Skyla can grab almost anything in this deck, the only thing not grab-able is the energies. Olivia is cool, you can grab 2 Decidueye off a Lele Maybe the 2nd Brigette is better than Olivia, you don't want to prize it.

1 Acerola
Nice option to have to heal a Decidueye while keeping the energies. You can also Candy him back in play if you have a Rowlett!

4 Ultra Ball, 3 Float Stone, 1 Rescue Stretcher, 1 Soda
Nothing to explain for the UBs/Stones. Soda is mainly here for Skyla.

4 Max Potion
The card that makes the deck strong. The usual gaming plan is to lose one Vulpix, one Lele and then proceed to takes the game with Feather Arrows + Max Potion.

3 Field Blower
Keeping Garbotoxin offline is really important. 2 Skyla + 3 Blower + Hollow Hunt helps you to keep Garbotoxin to be too much annoying.

4 Double Colorless Energy, 3 Grass Energy
Standard, no rainbows because of no Alolan Ninetales!

The main downside is that the deck is slower without the 4 Sycamore, and it makes you worse against fast deck such as Volcanion. I even dropped the Choice Bands because it wasn't enough to make me win this matchup. I never dropped a single deck against a stage 2 deck though.

If I had to redo my deck choice, I would have played Decitails, I was afraid of failing while playing 4 Hau and 2 Tierno, but I was sure it was good, so there was no real reasons to not play it. I'm not the kind of person who gets influenced by what other people thinks of me, or so I thought, but it was clearly a case of me being afraid of failing while playing a "weird deck" #psychologystuff

DrampaGarb

The more I was thinking about it, the more I was thinking that Garbotoxin was really a strong play in this format. I tried GoliGarb, EspeonGarb and DrampaGarb. The former was too reliant on supporters and I didn't liked that. The second was cool, I even tried it with 4 Acerola, but it was weak sometimes. DrampaGarb was the most consistent one, the attackers were mainly basics, and having Po Town in the deck only helped my choice.

I won't explain many of the deck choices because DrampaGarb builds aren't that different, the deck is almost 6 month old and usually have like 50-55 same cards from one build to another. I will just put what I consider a DrampaGarb Skeleton.

+6 slots

I usually play 1 Drampa GX and 1/1 Garbodor (Completing a 4/2-2 Garbodor) in these 6 slots, but not this time!
Here's what I played in those 6 slots:
-1 Drampa GX
-1 Turtonator GX
-2 Acerola
-2 Hala


I choose to play 2 Garbotoxin instead of 2 Thrashalanche because the card was amazingly strong, and Thrashalanche is a bit lackluster compared to his might from last format!

Turtonator GX and the Acerolas are for Gardevoir, Metagross and Goligarb. It can be used in some other Match-ups, but the main use is against these decks!

His 190HP and type make it really strong against all 3 decks. Coupled with Garbotoxin, Metagross and Gardevoir can't deal efficiently with him, and against Goligarb... 100(ShellTrapAtk)+80(ShelTrapEff)+30(PoTown)=210. It doesn't always work like that, but with Acerola, you can make it worse for them.

The Hala are here because I felt the deck was lacking draw supporters in the mid/late game, and since you often use Big Wheel early game, it turns Hala into the best Supporter in the game.

After some testing and much more brainstorming, I came to the conclusion that DrampaGarb was at least 50/50 against most of the "known/predictable" field. I made it #1 of my choices mainly because it was one of the most consistent deck I could play in this inconsistent format.

I was playing 2 Rainbows at first, I dropped them, but it was a mistake. Having something else than Po Town to turn on Berserk is really cool.

The tournament:

R1 VS Gardevoir W 1/0
Won easily both games by putting pressure early game and then switching between Shell Trap, Righteous Edge, Energy Drive and Berserk while keeping Garbotoxin active.

R2 VS DrampaGarb T 1/0/1
The first game, I had 3 DCE prized, the second game, he had 2 Drampa GX prized. Nothing more to say ahah.

R3 VS GoliGarb L 1/1/1
He "bricked" all 3 games, having brigette in hand and un-bricking with searching Oranguru, it was weird!
I won the first game quite easily with Turtonator+Acerola. I lost the other two after close games.

R4 VS TurboLapras L 1/2/1
I wasn't bricking, but I was playing supporters who were making me draws other supporters. I think I took like one KO over the course of the 2 games. He destroyed me while having like 10+ items in the discard pile both games ahah.

R5 VS Greninja L 1/3/1
I bricked on big wheel two times. Seriously. I tried to make a comeback both games, but starting 4 prizes late against Greninja is usually game over for every deck, unless you were playing M Sceptile.

R6 VS Gardevoir W 2/3/1
  I don't remember that much about this game, I was playing for fun without thinking or anything. But it should have been the same as round 1

Me and some friends who were sleeping on the same place dropped because we needed to check-in before 9PM if we wanted to sleep somewhere ahah.

2-3-1-Drop

I wasn't angry, even if it was my worst performance since a really long time outside of Worlds, but I was really disapointed. Well, it's a card game, it happens sometimes!

At least, Tord made Top2 with DrampaGarb, showing the world that the deck never died!

I will never post any side-event report as I'm never playing in any side-event. Except small ones once a year. My sunday is either day2 or fun games.

Bilbao : Yveltal

Yveltal is the only Expanded deck I kept sleeved for that long, almost two years. It was Yveltal/Maxie at first, but then Archeops got banned, and I had to think about other ideas. I built a quick list that I modified after some games/thought, there was a Tauros GX at first, Muscle Band instead of FFB, a Keldeo instead of the second darkrai, etc.

I was planning to play Yveltal since like one month. Israel's run conforted me in my choice, as well as giving me some ideas (Like Sableye).

I found Seismitoad EX to be really good when thinking about the meta some days before the tournamenent, Quaking Punch is amazingly strong, but I was afraid of Golisopod. I tried to find a way to have a solid fighting chance against Golisopod, and I finished on Golitoad (If you can't beat them, join them), and teching Turtonator in Toad/Garbodor.

I sent Fabien a quick first version the day before Bilbao, and he went with it, changing like 2-3 slots from the list.

I was confident in Yveltal and I don't like to play a deck I hadn't thought carefully about, so my first choice was still Yveltal.

2 Seismitoad EX, 2 Yveltal EX
It was really good, Quaking Punch + Laser is amazingly strong, and you usually don't need more than 2 Yveltal EX per game.

2 Darkrai EX, 0 Keldeo EX
I was playing 1/1 at first, but after seeing Israel's run, I tried 2 Darkrai. It was a bit weaker, but more consistent overall, so I kept it.

1 Darkrai GX
Since the first time I played with him, I'm telling myself to find the space for a second copy. This card is just amazing. After using his ability, you just need a Dark patch and an energy to hit 130 without other conditions. It's a 2HKO on everything, and if you want to OHKO, you just have to add a Laser and use Dead End GX.

1 Sableye DEX
At first, I was playing Yveltal. I'm still not 100% sure of which to play, Yveltal have 130HP and it helps some Match-ups like Gardevoir or Golisopod. Sableye is providing you flexibility. and can setup your board like crazy if you can attack 2-3 times with him. I also tried Absol PLFa bit, he wasn't bad, but was lacking of what I wanted from a non-ex : a single attachment attack.

1 Shaymin EX, 1 Tapu Lele GX
Shaymin is really good to dig for something after playing a supporter. Lele is great too, nothing to add here.


3 N, 3 Sycamore, 2 Guzma, 1 Colress, 1 Acerola
The staple supporters, Guzma is strictly better than Lysandre, because you will almost always have a benched Pokémon with a dark energy. Acerola is great after a Y Cyclone or to retrieve a Seismitoad@DCE from the Active spot.

1 Hex Maniac, 1 Ghetsis
here are the techs which I choosed to play this time. Hex Maniac is really strong against Gardevoir, Trevenant, Volcanion and sometimes even Darkrai! Ghetsis was a Lillie at first, but outside of the t1, Lillie was underwhelming, so I thought of playing a second Colress or Ghetsis, and I went with Ghetsis to add the "Ghetsis T1" option to the deck, and because it's a strong supporter to use when desperate or when you don't want to play any other supporters.

1 Float Stone
I played one stone to have 2 switching card (Stone+CS) in my deck for Quaking Punch t1. It's easily droppable, outside of the Quaking punches it was pretty useless.

1 Computer Search
I was switching between Computer Search, Dowsing Machine and Scramble Switch during my testing, I played Computer Search because I didn't want to choose ahah.

4 Double Colorless Energy, 8 Dark Energy

If I was playing Keldeo EX instead of a second Darkrai DEX, I would have played -1 Darkness Energy +1 Float Stone. Nothing else to add about the energies.

The rest of the list is normal and need no explanation.

Tournament report:
R1 TurboTurtonator W 1/0
Quaking Punch, Quaking Punch, Quaking Punch, Evil Ball GG. Here were the 2 games that I won. My sableye got donked game 2.

R2 Trevenant W 2/0
The match-up is good, especially if the opponent play a version without energy denial. It was the case, I just played 1-2 attackers depending on the situation and tried to take 1 prize per turn.

R3 GoliGarb L 2/1
Using Y Cyclone and Acerola is essential in this match up. I need to keep Dead End GX for an important KO. I lost a close G1 and a close G3, he bricked the G2.

R4 Night March W 3/1
The match-up is good, you just need to send a Seismitoad with a belt early game and be ready for Tauros. You can Hex maniac when Marshadow is coming. I got lucky in the G1 as I got the T1 Quaking Punch with the Float Stone.

R5 Darkrai L 3/2
This match-up is all about the opponent speed. From what I remember, Sableye was prized on G1, that prevetend me to make a comeback, G2 he got Ghetsis'd and I Junk Hunted 2-3 times until I had the perfect board (He scooped) and G3, I started Shaymin with a Colress for single playable card in hand, hoping he would do SkyField plays, but he only benched 3 Pokémons, I lost 2-3 turns after getting KO'd 3 times.

R6 TurboTurtonator W 4/2
Same as R1, but I 2/0d

R7 GoliGarb ID 4/2/1
The standings were displayed for some reasons after the R6, so I knew I had no chances to Top8, we decided with my opponent to ID to ensure Top32 instead of one of us getting Top16 and the other Top64.

4-2-1, 23th

I failed to Top8, but I still got a box and some CPs which is cool! I spent the sunday playing fun games (like deck-drafting!), no Side-Event for me!

As always, playing Yveltal in expanded is a blast, the deck have many options and can adapt to almost anything.

Shining Legends & Crimson Invasion

The European International will be the first event with SM4 playable, I really like that new sets come with a big event on the day of release. Outside of getting the card on time which is the only problem that I can find, I think it's cool to see different opinions clashing in the first event of a new format!

I really hope that Melbourne's and Brasil's Internationals will be on the day of SM5 and SM6.

I will not play in any events until London, and I don't know what I will play there, but I'm still in love with Decidueye!

I may be biased, but Decidueye seems really strong once again. The deck will be my main focus when I will start testing again!

The same goes for DrampaGarb, Po Town is still really strong! The deck gain some cool cards like Shining Jirachi. Be wary of some fighting deck emerging with Buzzwole GX or even LycanrocGX/ZoroarkGX.

Volcanion should be a decent deck but some Zoroark deck could play Alolan Muk!

Ninetales/Zoroark seems good, but I don't like that much the deck. It's Ninetales/Octillery but with a better Octillery. Zoroark GX have the attack that Ninetales was lacking: a 2HKO on almost everything for a DCE. His ability let you keeps good cards in your hand instead of having to thrash them, and can discard Water energies to use Aqua Patch afterward.

Speaking of Zoroark GX, I really like the card. I will try to do the best deck who gain from it, even if it means playing 4 Blower to keep Garbotoxin in check. The card seems even better in Expanded. I'm sad that we don't have that much Expanded in Europe just because of that!

  I don't know what to think of Miltank, it's clunky, but it does some crazy play in Gardevoir, destroying the 2HKO strategies.

Sylvally GX is cool a cool card, his ability is weird but well. He will be even better when we will have more of his "Memory" cards! (Especially Fire, Water and Steel)

Sylvally/Zoroark/Buzzwole with Psychic Memory seems decent at least, maybe an idea to work on a bit. I hope I'm not too much biased about Sylvally, and that Zoroark/Buzzwole with Max Elixirs isn't the same deck but better ahah!

Raichu GX seems cool but against Garbodor Variant, the deck needs a way to swarm enough energies on board until achieving OHKOs while having to deal with Garbotoxin. Once again, the new fighting types is a real threat for this deck.

Milotic's first attack could give birth to a weird deck with Decidueye where you just shuffle everything back in the opponent deck until he have nothing useful in play and manage to win from here after playing a N or something. The fact that the opponent choose which Pokémon to shuffle back is preventing the card from being really good.

Regice/Regirock/Registeel/Regigigas, only Registeel and Regirock are the fine, the others are quite bad. Every deck play Tapu Lele, so Regice won't do a thing usually. Regigigas needs too much. Registeel have a nice typing, and can hit nice numbers with some regirock benched. He can also load Regirocks who can deal with Drampa. I don't think it will be enough to compete but who knows ?

I don't know why people are that crazy over Latios, especially in Decitales. It just seems like a weaker Tapu Koko. I may be wrong, but I don't understand how 30 +30 on a benched Pokémon is better than 20+20 to all benched Pokémon on a free retreater.

Peeping Red Card seems fun. Delinquent seems better, but why not play both? Put your opponent at 1-2 cards in hand, then check and make him shuffle back his hand to a brick. It needs the right deck to work, but it's not that bad of a plan.

Alolan Marowak first attack is really strong, but playing a stage 1 for "that" in a deck like Volcanion when you already have Turtonator's GX seems weak. Especially when depending on the match-up, Marowak could retrieve only 1 or 2 energies.

Kartana GX is a cool card, we need more cards like this one. His GX might seem really good to some of you, but other GXs can do enough damage to take a KO, which is better since you also disrupt the opponent board by doing a KO, an maybe even take a second prize by KOing a EX/GX. His real strenght reside mainly in his ability and the option to use the GX.

Speaking of Tapu Koko, maybe Counter Energy will create some spread deck with 3-4 Tapu Koko, by playing 4 DCE and 3-4 Counter Energy. We don't have Tapu Lele promo yet, but you can still play Meowstick GEN or Spiritomb STS. Be careful with Spiritomb, he can't move damage counters from the Bench to the active! The deck also beneftis from Shining Jirachi.

Shining legends includes some cool cards outside of Zoroark GX, like Manaphy, Yveltal, Shining Jirachi, Raikou, Hoopa, etc. I won't talk about them now because I already went far enough imo.

I hope that I haven't flooded too much informations at once! I have my hands full with School and the Professor Cup at the moment, so I can't test/think that much about SM4, sorry about the lack of concise informations!

Closing thoughts

I want to thanks Heddi Brahmi and Laurens Van Brecht who helped me brainstorming, and all the players from the League of Paris who play with me on a weekly basis!

I'll be in the Essen Professor Cup the next week, will probably write something about the format/decks after that! I always loved weird formats that needs you to change your way to view things!

  In the next articles, I will try to talk about decks ideas instead of just restraining myself to tournament report+unstructured ideas!

I hope that you were pleased with this first article, I will try to write more often, let me know if anything is amiss, especially if I made anything sounds weird to read!

[+13] ok


 

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