Double the energy, double the power
As my first article after a while, I will be sharing my lists and thoughts about my two favourite decks of the XY-BRT format, Night March/Milotic and Seismitoad EX/Giratina EX, with the ECC just around the corner.
02/11/2016 by Marc Costa
Table of contents
Heeeello everybody!! It's Marc Costa again after a long time. Plenty of things had happened since July, when I participated in the 60 Cards final round of the #WriteYourWayToWorlds and I managed to achieve the fifth place, missing the goods but with a huge self-satisfaction because the article had so much work behind. That, with all those "thumbs up", really paid off for me and all the people who helped me out.
Also, I'd like to announce that I will do my best to submit an article every month until the season ends. I'm so positive for the current season and I have so many topics to share and talk about that I couldn't be more excited to write for all of you!
Let's get deeper into the core of the article. As most of you know, I'm from Spain, and so the European Challenge Cup, known as the ECC, is the most important tournament of the season because we don't even have Nationals (yet). But, unfortunately, this year I'll be missing it. Four friends of mine and I planned to go to Arnhem, where the ECC is hold every year, by car, but the guy who was running it, some of my best friends, had some recent issues and we had to cancel it. That's why today I'm going to share to all of you what had already been my two deck choices for the big tournament: Night March/Milotic and Seismitoad EX/Giratina EX.
Like I do in my own blog (check it out here if you can understand Spanish), first I will share the decklist, next step I'm going to briefly analyze the concept of the list and the personal inclusions, talk a little bit about its matchups and finally suggest some changes, because not everybody has the same preferences nor playstyles. Let's jump onto them!
Seismitoad EX/Giratina EX
- 4x Seismitoad EX
- 3x Giratina EX
- 1x Lugia EX
- 1x Absol
- 2x Shaymin EX
- 1x Hoopa EX
- 4x Professor Sycamore
- 1x Judge
- 2x Lysandre
- 1x Xerosic
- 1x Team Flare Grunt
- 1x AZ
- 1x Hex Maniac
- 4x VS Seeker
- 4x Trainer's Mail
- 4x Ultra Ball
- 3x Muscle Band
- 2x Head Ringer
- 2x Switch
- 4x Super Scoop Up
- 3x Crushing Hammer
- 1x Enhanced Hammer
- 1x Parallel City
- 1x Team Aqua's Secret Base
- 4x Double Colorless Energy
- 4x Double Dragon Energy
Here's the decklist I was planning to play at the ECC. I expect a lot of Night March to be played and endless decks with mega evolutions or Item-based decks like Entei and Yveltal. Seismitoad EX, with one of the most well-known and called attacks in Pokémon history, Quaking Punch, denies Item cards from our opponent, and Giratina EX stops mega evolutions from doing any damage to it while also blocking Stadiums, Tools and Special Energies. The high counts of the two main attackers of the deck are because we want to start with them (mainly Seismitoad EX) and because we don't run any kind of Pokémon revival. Simple and basic.
On the other side, let's analyse the secondary Pokémon of the deck. First we meet Lugia EX. I simply love to have a way to deal high amounts of damage out of nowhere. It's also a game finisher in some games and it can answer back a fully powered Yveltal EX, M Mewtwo Y EX or any other Pokémon that needs high amounts of Energy. Shaymin EX is also a standard (and expensive) card, but well, consistency is consistency, as well as Hoopa EX. Some may disagree with its inclusion here, but the ability to search for 2 attackers and a Shaymin EX or 3 attackers for just one Ultra Ball, setting all of our table, is just amazing. It also helps filling our bench, which can be narrowed thanks to the single Parallel City we run, allowing us to discard our Shaymin EX, Hoopa EX or any damaged Pokémon we might have on the bench.
Finally it's time to convince you about the single Absol. First of all, you must know it's one of my top 3 favorite Pokémon, so there's one (and insignificant) reason. Next, I find amazing the ability of taking multiple prizes in a single turn with a deck that's likely taking down Pokémon one by one. With Super Scoop Up and AZ, we can even move more than 3 damage counters, which also help us on doing our math, and it's the only effective way to deal with the pesky Jirachi (moving 6 damage counters to it or Quaking Punch + moving 3 damage counters). And, if our opponent opts to take it down, it's gonna make us a favor, because it's the only one prize Pokémon we run.
Out of nowhere!
Now let's move into the Trainers. I'm just going to talk about my personal preferences and set aside the obvious accounts. I put huge effort on having a consistent list with high accounts of Ultra Ball and Trainers' Mail, while also maximizing the amount of Super Scoop Up and Switch to be able to retreat for free our active Pokémon and make it even more difficult for our opponent to take any prize. The deck is able to Item-lock on the first turn the 85% of times due to the draw engine with Shaymin EX, where Super Scoop Up also plays a huge roll. I think that energy denial is important too in this kind of deck, and so is difficulting our opponent's Pokémon to retreat, and that's why Team Aqua's Secret Base is in there. We won't be manually retreating our active Pokémon, so incrementing our retreat cost shouldn't be a problem.
+ Giovanni's Scheme: having the opportunity to deal some more damage might come in handy in some games and decline the game in our favour. It can be a nice inclusion, and it helps taking down Pokémon with 70 HP or less with Quaking Punch.
+ Druddigon: I'm a big fan of this card, I have to admit it. It would go in place of Absol in order to have only one-prize Pokémon, but in this case Druddigon would play the attacker roll. I occasionally find myself with Absol in my first hand having to discard it, or sometimes it becomes useless, but Druddigon can hit the table at any moment and it's a nice attacker. When he has a Muscle Band attached don't call it Druddigon, call it Shaymin EX killer.
+ More Xerosic and/or Team Flare Grunt: one of the weaknesses of this deck is the mirror match against any Seismitoad EX variants, because we run a low number of Supporters that discard energies. That's why if you are expecting to see lots of Seismitoad EX variants, you should decide to boost Xerosic and/or Team Flare Grunt numbers.
- 4x Pumpkaboo
- 4x Joltik
- 4x Lampent
- 2x Feebas
- 2x Milotic
- 3x Shaymin EX
- 3x Professor Sycamore
- 2x Hex Maniac
- 1x Lysandre
- 1x Xerosic
- 1x AZ
- 4x VS Seeker
- 4x Battle Compressor
- 4x Trainer's Mail
- 3x Acro Bike
- 4x Ultra Ball
- 2x Muscle Band
- 1x Float Stone
- 1x Buddy-Buddy Rescue
- 2x Target Whistle
- 1x Town Map
- 3x Dimension Valley
- 4x Double Colorless Energy
My second option for the ECC was Night March/Milotic. I've played Night March since it was released, it's the deck I played the most of my Pokémon TCG career and it's the deck I have more fun with. The concept is already known by the whole community: get as many Night Marchers in the discard pile to deal tons of damage at a cheap energy cost with weak Basic Pokémon. But, the version with Milotic give us some new concept to the whole Pokémon TCG: playing with the discard pile. It's the only competitive deck I've ever seen (and I've been playing since Diamond and Pearl: Base Set) that aims to throw away precious resources to have them available with Milotic in the late game. Having access to every card of the deck thanks to Battle Compressor and Milotic is huge, and you always have to take what I call "micro decisions" in order to play it effectively and efficiently.
I think the Pokémon line is the most obvious one. I don't like the fourth Shaymin EX I've seen somebody running because I find it overkill, and I prefer the 2-2 Milotic line instead the 1-1 line because you know, consistency is king and we need to play with our discard pile more than often.
Let's jump into the Trainers, where I'm going to highlight some key and alternative inclusions:
- 2 Hex Maniac: you need them against Aegislash EX, Bats and Vileplume, and some other Pokémon I may be missing. Also, playing Hex Maniac in our first turn can completely destroy our opponent's set up, as well as in the mirror, where a well-timed Hex Maniac can nullify Milotic's ability and left our opponent without its key resource (mostly DCE).
- Xerosic: I thought that card was mandatory, but I've found lists not running it. It's essential in order to discard Focus Sash and keep the Giratina EX we might face during a tournament out of attacking, within some other uses. With VS Seeker and Milotic we will have access to it anytime.
- Buddy-Buddy Rescue and Town Map: the first one is ideal for getting an extra Night Marcher into play, allowing us to play somehow more aggressively discarding some extra Pokémon in our first turns and then don't be left alone without attackers. The reason I prefer it against Revive is that we can recycle a discarded Milotic, or even Compressor away a Shaymin EX and get it back to our hand in order to draw some more cards in case we were stucked. The Town Map is a favorite too, I love to get any card out of 6 when I have to take a prize card, and you know immediately what cards aren't in the deck too.
- 2 Target Whistle: this is the star of my own build and the reason I even love more Night March. Recently I've found many lists running a single Target Whistle, and it's definetely the way to advance. Also, the Target Whistle is like an institution in Spain, we have our own jokes with it and even some of you might have seen some Spanish guys with a whistle on his mouth. Nevermind haha. I've won games and even tournaments by just killing the same Pokémon 2 times, mostly Shaymin EX. The problem is that even though with Milotic you can retrieve Target Whistle in case you discarded it early in the game, it's sometimes not enough because DCEs are more important than it. While playing 2 Target Whistles, it's more likely to take down multiple Shaymin EX in a game (Shaymin EX or whatever, but the most "whistled" card is the weak Shaymin EX), and it definetely make a difference in mirror matches and against the pesky Yveltal deck builds and Entei (they are usually forced to discard either Shaymin EX or Yveltal EX, if they aren't already left to the bench). Just for the laughs... imagine yourself winning a game killing 3 times the same Pokémon EX. I've seen that and I can promise you it's demoralizing for your opponent haha.
Where are you Shaymin...?
+ Startling Megaphone: that's a good inclusion if the metagame is full of Lucario/Bats and specially Entei. You won't have an easy access like Xerosic has, but in the called metagame, I can see it as a must.
+ 2nd Lysandre: that's my 61 card of the deck. Lysandre has a great synergy with Target Whistle, the stars of the deck, and if we have our only Lysandre prized we might get in trouble. It's definetely the first card I would include, probably cutting down a Hex Maniac.
+ Teammates: I was originally playing it, but when I realized the concept of the deck, I immediately cut it off. This deck needs more than just 2 pieces in order to function properly, and wasting the Supporter of the turn for just two cards we should be able to find with all the draw engine we have and Milotic, I found it like a waist of a Supporter. Although, you can feel more comfortable running it because it can search you the DCEs, so here I let you the idea of running into it.
+ Giovanni's Scheme, Revive, 2nd Buddy-Buddy Rescue: I've seen lists with some of these cards in order to play aggressively on early game and then get back some discarded attackers because you almost run out of steam. Of course those are great cards against mega evolutions because you are sometimes forced to take down a +200HP Pokémon, so you need to discard tons of Pokémon to reach those numbers.
To sum up, I think that both decks are great calls for the ECC. Night March/Milotic would've been the safe play, as it has won so many Regionals and Cities all around Europe and the deck is one of the top decks of the format, but Seismitoad EX/Giratina EX would have been the riskiest choice, as it was based on the metagame I was expecting on the ECC. Decks like M Sceptile EX, M Houndoom EX, Night March and Entei are growing on popularity, as well as Yveltal and Manectric EX/Crobat, and Seismitoad EX/Giratina EX has a good shot against most of them.
Good luck to everybody who is going to the ECC this year, choose the deck you feel more comfortable with and you enjoy the most playing, but most important, have fun during the tournament and meet lots of friends!
Best regards and thanks for reading :)
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