Everything You Need To Know About Metal: Why Metal Could Be "The Play"
In this article Grant Manley discusses the Bronzong/Dialga deck and why it might just be the play for remaining Cities and Winter Regionals.
01/02/2015 by Grant Manley
Hello 60cards readers! My name is Grant Manley, and I'm here to analyze the Bronzong/Dialga deck and talk about its matchups. First though, I would like to share a little about myself because this is my first article here on 60cards. I am a first year Master Division competitive player from North Carolina. Aside from Pokemon, I also enjoy playing Soccer, Smash Bros, and various other strategy games such as Chess. Pokemon is the only TCG I play, and I've been at it for about six years. Some of my Pokemon-related credentials (in the Senior division) include making top 16 at 2013 US Nationals, placing 33rd at Worlds 2013, making top 8 at 2014 US Nationals, and making top 4 at 2014 Worlds. I haven't played in any high level Masters Division tournaments yet, but hopefully I will be able to prove myself there as well. I also have written for SixPrizes.com, and am known among my friends for playing unorthodox decks.
But that's enough about me, let's talk metal. Metal did not exist competitively in the format for awhile until Phantom Forces came along. Phantom Forces contains cards such as Bronzong, Dialga EX, Aegislash EX, and Heatran. This obvious boost to the metal type has led it to become an archetype that has had many top finishes at City Championships throughout the world. This deck is not nearly as dominant as its predecessor Eelektric NVI was, but I believe it has potential to be.
Bronzong's Metal Links is probably the most powerful form of energy acceleration in the game right now. Along with Double Colorless Energy, Bronzong can quickly fuel the beefy Dialga EX, which can OHKO almost anything with a Muscle Band. In addition to this obviously powerful and synergetic combo, this deck has a few tricks in can employ. Aegislash EX's disruptive ability can help tremendously against any decks relying Special Energy, which at the time being, happens to be most decks. It also can hit quite hard, only requiring three Metal Energies to deal a solid 100 damage, with the ever present option to add more energies for more damage. Heatran is a convenient, 130 HP, non-EX attacker to use. Its second attack costs four energies, but it does 130 damage. This is perfect for dealing with the omnipresent pest that is Donphan. Cobalion EX is another neat tech card to include. It can disrupt the opponent's Special Energy cards for only one energy, and can also hit through troublesome walls with its Steel Bullet attack. Here is the Metal list that I've been testing with.
- 3x Dialga EX
- 4x Bronzong
- 4x Bronzor
- 1x Aegislash EX
- 1x Cobalion EX
- 2x Heatran
- 3x Muscle Band
- 1x Startling Megaphone
- 1x Computer Search
- 2x Lysandre
- 1x Shauna
- 2x Colress
- 4x N
- 4x VS Seeker
- 4x Professor Juniper
- 4x Battle Compressor
- 4x Ultra Ball
- 4x Switch
- 4x Double Colorless Energy
- 7x Metal Energy
This list doesn't have a whole lot of surprises, and opts for maximum consistency. There are a few cards I chose not to include that are common in other Metal decks. Before looking at the card choices I use, I would first like to explain why I omitted certain cards.
0 Keldeo EX. Keldeo EX is a card that some people use to more efficiently stream Dialga EX's Full Metal Impact. However, this card is far from desirable to use in Metal for multiple reasons. First, it takes up a bench slot. This may not seem like a big deal, but when playing Metal I always find myself wanting another slot on the bench for whatever reason. I have to bench carefully so that I can always have desirable attackers for the situation. You will always want three Bronzong/Bronzor, as well as three of your various attackers. Keldeo EX simply messes this up. Second, it's weak to Grass. Again, this may not seem like a big deal at first, but you cannot give Virizion/Genesect any sort of leverage against this deck. Of course, you can always not bench it, but then you're leaving yourself short of switching outs that you need to stream Full Metal Impact against V/G's 170 HP attackers. Third, it needs Float Stone. It wouldn't be hard to take out four Switches for three Float Stones and a Keldeo EX, but it isn't always easy to get Keldeo EX + Float Stone when you need it. Float Stone also can get in the way of Muscle Bands, and makes the deck unnecessarily susceptible to Startling Megaphone. Four Switch is something I have found to be very efficient without the downsides of Keldeo EX.
0 Steel Shelter. Steel Shelter is an interesting case, as there are literally no downsides to having it, aside from taking up space in the deck. The space is better used for the fantastic Compressor/Seeker engine (which I will get to in a bit), a bit of variety of attackers, and overall consistency. I don't see a real need for Steel Shelter because special conditions aren't a huge deal in this format, and neither is opposing stadiums. The obvious elephant in the room here (no, not Donphan) is LaserBank with Seismitoad EX. Seismitoad/Garbodor with LaserBank is a significantly trickier matchup without Steel Shelter, and I will discuss this more in the matchups section. Unless you really go nuts with the counts of Steel Shelter, the Seismitoad player will likely win the Stadium war anyway.
0 Max Potion. Max Potion is a card often seen in Metal decks that naturally fits with discard acceleration. However, space is tight, and Max Potion really isn't necessary unless you fail to set up fast enough and need to buy time. If this happens, you realistically don't have great chance at winning anyway. I could see a tech Max Potion possibly being squeezed into this deck and having its uses, but I am personally against it.
0 Cobalion LTR. This is a weak, gimmicky attacker that is overall not as well equipped as Heatran at handling threats. Most opposing decks have some way or another to consistently get around Iron Breaker's effect by the time Cobalion is charged up. Even those that can't always get around Cobalion can be dealt with by Dialga EX's Chrono Wind, which has a similar effect without needing to run an extra attacker.
0 Mewtwo EX. Mewtwo EX is something that has been floating around in various Metal lists due to its natural synergy with energy acceleration. However, I don't believe Mewtwo EX to be worthwhile. Both Yveltal EX and other Mewtwo EX, common prey of Mewtwo EX, can also be OHKO (one-hit KO'ed) by Dialga EX. Dialga EX also discards energies, making it less susceptible to Yveltal EX and opposing Mewtwo EX than your own Mewtwo EX would be. Mewtwo EX is just unnecessary to include.
0 Seismitoad EX. Like Mewtwo EX, Seismitoad EX is a card that some Metal players have chosen to include just because it is a strong card by itself and only requires Colorless Energy. While it could be a nice option to slow the opponent down a little while you are setting up, Seismitoad loses a lot of its luster when not paired with disruptive cards. Additionally, Seismitoad is only dealing 30-50 damage lacking Hypnotoxic Laser (this deck doesn't really have space for those), which is hardly enough to cause any sort of real pressure.
Now I would like to share my reasoning of constructing the deck the way I did.
4-4 Bronzong and 3 Dialga EX. These are fairly self-explanatory. They are the key components of this deck and it is important to have multiple copies. I feel that four Dialga EX is overkill. Some players run two Dialga EX in exchange for more of other attackers, but Dialga is the star of this deck and should not be cut down to two copies.
2 Heatran. Two Heatran looks odd on paper, but Heatran shines in almost every game. Playing two of them helps ensure that you will get one out every game and force your opponent to deal with this annoying, heavy-hitting, non-EX attacker. This also will hopefully force a 7-prize game. Additionally, two Heatran absolutely demolishes Donphan decks. This is an extremely important trait to have, and running two Heatran is the best way to acquire it.
1 Aegislash EX and 1 Cobalion EX. These two Pokemon are just the supporting cast of attackers with their respective niche uses. Their roles can occasionally be filled by Heatran or Dialga EX, but they are still powerful EXs that have great synergy with Bronzong. They can also help against Donphan quite a bit if you aren't able to get both Heatran going. However, I would be surprised if I ever ended up truly needed more than one of either.
4 Battle Compressor. These are probably the most controversial inclusions to my list. Battle Compressor obviously goes well with Bronzong, but four likely seems overkill to most people. Battle Compressor is just amazing with this deck for many reasons. It is of the utmost importance to get Metal Energies in the discard quickly to start utilizing Bronzong's ability as soon as possible. Four Battle Compressors help move this deck along by getting Metals in the discard more efficiently than anything else, and you will usually get a Compressor within the first two turns. It also clears out unwanted junk in the mid-game and late-game, mostly other Battle Compressors (negating one of the downsides to running so many), Ultra Balls that you never want to draw after a late-game N, and attackers that don't matter in a given matchup. The next point is the cute combo with...
4 VS Seeker. VS Seeker is arguably the best card in format, but four copies are rarely played in any deck because they are useless early-game before you play any Supporters. Battle Compressor helps negate this early-game uselessness, and provides some justification for running four VS Seekers. Having Battle Compressor and VS Seeker in hand at the same time happens fairly often thanks to running four of each. This combo is too good to pass up on for a deck like Metal, which already benefits tremendously from Battle Compressor.
1 Startling Megaphone. This is just included to help combat Hard Charms, and the occasional Garbodor deck. It also happens to be fairly useful in nearly every matchup as well, which is a nice perk for a tech. Since one is hard to get to when you need it, especially without Skyla, I think a second copy might need to be included. Having two also gives you a bit more leeway in the event you have to discard one, or want to use the effect more than once.
Computer Search > Dowsing Machine. There is no justification for running Dowsing Machine. Metal does not need enough help in the late game to warrant the ACE SPEC spot. Four VS Seekers and multiple Bronzong are enough to keep the deck running mid-game through late-game. Early-game is where Metal sorely needs help, and that is why I run Computer Search.
1 Shauna. This random inclusion is odd on paper and in practice. It is a solid supporter and I only included it to help with the early-game where Metal sometimes suffers. I don't know if I should actually be running Shauna, but I want all the early-game help I can get.
To me, all the other cards in the list are rather standard and don't need an explanation.
In this section I will discuss the matchups of Metal against the various popular decks. This will just be explaining how to approach meta decks and how favorable (or unfavorable) the matchups are for Metal.
This deck is literally the elephant in the room this format, and by now everyone should be expecting it. Thankfully, it is also one of Metal's favorable matchups. Heatran and Aegislash EX are just cruel to Donphan. These two attackers put together with four VS Seekers and two Lysandres make it rare that Metal will lose. Dialga EX can be more or less left alone unless you need it to OHKO a Donphan if Heatran is somehow unavailable. Cobalion EX can be used to get rid of Sigilyph if needed, but Heatran can also deal with it. Basically all I can say is Heatran Heatran Heatran. Heatran OHKOs everything in Donphan. Heatran renders Hawlucha useless. Heatran forces Donphans to have Strong Energy attached, opening the door for an Aegislash sweep.
Yveltal EX and baby Yveltal can be OHKO'ed by Dialga EX, making for a favorable matchup. Even with Hard Charm on Yveltal EX, you can Lysandre around, use Startling Megaphone, or even Chrono Wind it if you have to. Baby Yveltal deals negligible damage and Dialga EX discards energies after its attack, weakening Yveltal EX. Most variants run Hammers, which can annoy at best by discarding DCEs, but Bronzong ensures that you will never be low on energies.
Virizion/Genesect is made up of 170 HP EXs. Dialga simply rips this deck apart once it gets set up. Full Metal Impact with Muscle Band OHKOs all of the attackers in this deck and makes for an easy matchup. Drifblim is usually included in Virizion/Genesect but it will only really threaten Metal if all four DCEs somehow end up discarded. You can also T2 Chrono Wind Virizion to annoy them if you go first. This is a rather gimmicky trick but something I think is noteworthy.
Seismitoad/Garbodor-Even to Slightly Unfavorable
This matchup is certainly winnable but it is much trickier than the three above. The combination of Item lock, Ability lock, and various disruptive Items such as Head Ringers and Hammers make this matchup very annoying to play against. It is important to equip EXs with Muscle Band as soon as you can to avoid Head Ringers. Cobalion EX and Dialga EX are both useful in this matchup. If you can get them attacking Righteous Edge or Chrono Wind then you can severely disrupt Seismitoad. Both of these attacks will eventually run Seismitoad out of DCEs and/or Switches to potentially buy a turn or two where you can go nuts with Items. The matchup really just depends on how well the decks draw and get set up. Head Ringer is also a crucial component.
There are two versions of Aromatisse that are seeing a decent bit of play: Toolbox with a variety of attackers, and straight Xerneas/Florges. I will just discuss the toolbox version here because the Florges version is ridiculously easy to beat, as Dialga EX, Aegislash EX, and Heatran OHKO everything in the deck.
If the toolbox version does not play Charizard EX FLF 12 (the one with Wing Attack) or Kangaskhan EX, then the matchup is a walk in the park. Aegislash EX can steamroll with Dialga EX popping in when necessary. If Charizard EX and/or Kangaskhan EX are played, the matchup becomes complicated. Your best bet would be to use Lysandres and VS Seekers (preferably alongside Heatran) to get rid of all Spritzee and Aromatisse. If you can accomplish this then you will be able to 2HKO their pesky 180 HP EX (or Mega Kangaskhan) without having to worry about Max Potion. The matchup really depends on if you can successfully deny the Aromatisse fast enough. You can use Chrono Wind to buy a little time if things go awry, but that is usually not a winning strategy.
You may notice that I completely left Pyroar and Manectric EX out of the matchups section. I excluded Pyroar simply because it's a terrible matchup that Metal has almost no chance against. I left out M Manectric variants just because M Manectric EX is being paired with most everything right now, and no one version is popular enough to narrow down on. Most M Manectric EX variants are even or favorable matchups for Metal though. Other decks such as Night March I have left out because they are not really that popular or threatening.
Overall, Metal is an extremely strong deck. Its matchups are excellent in comparison to most other decks, and when it gets set up it becomes an almost unstoppable force. To sum it all up, I've come up with a list of pros and cons for the deck.
- The onslaught of powerful attackers constantly being fueled by Bronzong is one of the scariest things to face down.
- Has a favorable Donphan matchup.
- Has a favorable Yveltal matchup.
- Has a favorable Virizion/Genesect matchup.
- Can deal with most Aromatisse variants fairly well.
- Can defeat most other random and less-popular decks such as Night March and Gengar.
- Has various attackers well equipped to deal with almost any situation.
- Four VS Seekers helps ensure that you will always have outs to that crucial supporter you need for the situation.
- Has a terrible matchup against Pyroar. For success you must avoid Pyroar and/or successfully predict a meta without Pyroar.
- While still winnable, Metal has a tricky and about even Seismitoad/Garbodor matchup.
- Sometimes struggles early game.
Thank you for reading! I hope you enjoyed this article and might want to try out Metal! I have been testing it non-stop and am very pleased with the results. I will likely play it at one or both of the Cities I am attending this weekend. If you liked this article please log in or sign up and give it a like! I would greatly appreciate it! If you found some areas I could improve upon I would love to hear them as well, just leave a comment! Thanks again!
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