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Ole Stognief

"Decisions, Decisions" - Night March vs BatMan Video Analysis

Night March / Milotic vs. Manectric-EX / Crobat - a full game explained in detail!

02/01/2016 by Ole Stognief

Hey 60cards readers! This is already my third article here – time goes by quickly, doesn’t it? You may have read my last article about discard pile strategies or my very first story about my favorite Pokémon card, Landorus-EX. As you can see, I’m not a big fan of in-depth deck analyses and detailed matchup descriptions – I enjoy reading them if they’re well written and reflect the author’s experiences. But I don’t want to do this myself as there are already many skillful players providing us with excellent articles. That’s why I thought up something new today!

I’m going to analyse a single game that I recorded from PTCGO, where I used a version of Night March/Milotic against a Manectric-EX/Crobat deck. You can find the recording on my YouTube channel – I recommend watching it one time before you read on. If you can’t watch it right now or just don’t want to, that’s also fine. I’ll describe the game in as much detail as possible and also show screenshots of the most important points of that game.

You might ask why I don’t just commentate the video by voice. I think that I can explain the things I do, the cards I play down and the thoughts I have much more detailed this way. It’s kind of a multimedia experiment – I’m looking forward to your feedback!

Night March/Milotic

Before we start, I would like to introduce the deck I’m using. It’s a version of the Night March/Milotic deck which is quite popular in Standard currently. Some people argue that Night March is an autopilot deck that neither takes much skill to build nor to play. This article could prove them right or disagree.

A 2-2 line of Milotic PRC is necessary to serve its purpose.  Since Feebas is a very weak 30 HP Basic and the Ability only works as come-into-play, a 1-1 line won’t suffice. Although this version doesn’t feature any Basic Energy, Super Rod is preferred over Revive because it can retrieve a complete line of Milotic (Sacred Ash doesn’t make sense for Night March).

The deck’s game plan is to KO three Pokémon-EX and draw six Prize cards as quickly as possible. To help with this, two Pokémon Catchers and one Target Whistle are included here. Pokémon Catcher dropped in popularity after it received its errata, making its effect rely on a coin flip. It’s still an useful alternative for Lysandre in turns when you need to play another Supporter in order to pull of an attack. Target Whistle ensures that there’s always at least one Pokémon-EX on your opponent’s Bench. There’s almost no deck that goes without Shaymin-EX – this is Night March’s easiest target.

I’m trying a Xerosic to help against Seismitoad-EX and Giratina-EX. I can’t tell yet if it is able to make a difference, but it feels good to have one. Another option would be Hex Maniac.

Night March vs. Manectric-EX/Crobat

You can watch a recording of the game here: Switch to YouTube

Let’s go into the game now. I win the coin flip and opt for going second. This is kind of a Night March-exclusive decision, as this is one of the few decks in the format which is able to pull off a lot of damage in the first turn.

Setup [00:00]

My first hand didn’t contain a Basic, so it was shuffled back into the deck and I got another seven cards. This time I had a Joltik to start with, but the other cards were pretty bad. There’s not much you can do with a Milotic, AZ, Teammates, Super Rod, Muscle Band and Pokémon Catcher.

Turn 1 (Opponent) [01:07]

My opponent started with two Zubat and played an Ultra Ball, discarding a Head Ringer and an AZ. I assumed that this was either a Manectric-EX/Crobat or a Seismitoad-EX/Crobat deck – other Bats variants don’t usually play Head Ringer. He grabbed a Shaymin-EX and Benched it to use Set Up for two cards. A Super Scoop Up flips Heads to pick up the Shaymin-EX and Set Up again for two cards.

Parallel City comes into play, limiting my Bench to three. At this point, I was pretty sure that I was facing the Manectric variant because the other half of Parallel City would’ve impaired Seismitoad-EX’s attacks.

The next card was Battle Compressor, discarding three Supporter cards: Judge, Giovanni’s Scheme and Professor Sycamore. My opponent used VS Seeker to get the Judge back, played it and ended his turn afterwards.

Turn 1 (Me) [02:31]

Now I had a new hand of five cards: Shaymin-EX, Trainers’ Mail, Dimension Valley and Target Whistle plus a Pumpkaboo for my turn. This was definitely a better hand than before – my opponent’s idea behind playing Judge was to limit my options, which is a reasonable plan in general. He couldn’t know that I was sitting on garbage.

I played Trainers’ Mail for Acro Bike (other options: Dimension Valley, VS Seeker). Acro Bike was the only helpful card here.

Acro Bike revealed a Battle Compressor and a Professor Sycamore. I chose Battle Compressor over the Sycamore because I wanted to thin out my deck before drawing new cards from it. The risk of drawing garbage again with Shaymin-EX was quite low. Additionally, I could learn what’s Prized: one Double Colorless Energy and a 1-1 line of Milotic.

I discarded two Lampent (enough to KO Zubat with Joltik) and the Lysandre on Battle Compressor. It’s important to have the Lysandre available every turn. VS Seeker and Milotic can retrieve it from the discard pile. It’s much more difficult to find a single Lysandre from the deck as you rely on drawing into it with either Shaymin-EX, Trainers’ Mail or Acro Bike.

After Benching the Pumpkaboo and playing the Dimension Valley, Shaymin-EX’s Set Up gave me five new cards: a 1-1 line of Milotic, Trainers’ Mail, another Dimension Valley and Super Rod. That’s not what I wanted to see here… I benched the Feebas and continued with Trainers’ Mail.

The Trainers’ Mail got me a VS Seeker (next to Float Stone and Teammates) which I used for the Professor Sycamore in my discard. The new hand of seven still didn’t contain a Double Colorless Energy (see picture below).

I used the Battle Compressor to discard the remaining two Lampent and another Battle Compressor. Another Trainers’ Mail for the third Dimension Valley – I didn’t need that, but I had to thin out my deck in order to draw an Ultra Ball from my next Trainers’ Mail. Finally, I got that Ultra Ball, discarded Joltik and Pumpkaboo to search for a Shaymin-EX.

Shaymin-EX used Set Up for three cards (Double Colorless Energy, Professor Sycamore, Acro Bike). I attached the DCE to Joltik, KO'd Zubat and took another DCE from my Prize cards. Pulling off that attack is the only thing Night March wants to do turn one, but sometimes it proves to be difficult!

Turn 2 (Opponent) [05:35]

My opponent put the other Zubat active and evolved it into Golbat, putting two damage counters on my active Joltik. Another Zubat came into play. A Team Flare Grunt removed my Double Colorless Energy before Joltik got knocked out by Golbat’s Swoop Across attack anyways.

Turn 2 (Me) [06:21]

I put my Pumpkaboo Active and draw another Pumpkaboo for my turn. Since Crobat is a threat for Night March, KO'ing the Golbat would be the best thing to achieve this turn. I used Acro Bike to find Teammates and discard the Joltik.

Thinking forward to the following turns, I played Teammates to find another DCE and a Pokémon Catcher. This way I won’t struggle pulling off an attack next turn, maybe against a Pokémon-EX. I Benched Pumpkaboo, attached a DCE to the Active one, and KO Golbat – my Prize card was Xerosic.

Turn 3 (Opponent) [07:49]

The next Zubat was promoted and Evolved into Golbat to KO the Feebas on my Bench. Level Ball found the last Zubat from my opponent’s deck. He played VS Seeker for Team Flare Grunt and removed the DCE from my Active Pumpkaboo. This made sense here because he couldn’t knock Pumpkaboo out this turn

He seemed to fear using his Pokémon-EX to attack with – otherwise he could’ve taken the Professor Sycamore and try to prepare an attacker. So he just used Swoop Across again.

Turn 3 (Me) [08:45]

I drew a VS Seeker for my turn. A heads on Pokémon Catcher pulled my opponent’s Shaymin-EX Active. I could’ve used VS Seeker for Lysandre, but this way it was even better, saving resources. There was not much else to do with my hand (see picture below), so I attached my third DCE and KO'd Shaymin-EX. The prize cards were Ultra Ball and Milotic – no Feebas, unfortunately.

In retrospect, I shouldn’t have Catchered the Shaymin-EX here. Crobat was the only threat, assuming that he wouldn’t play any DCE to attack with that Shaymin-EX. I wanted to get the Milotic line from my prize cards because I only had one Double Colorless Energy left in my deck. That’s why I went more aggressive, but it probably wasn’t the best decision.

Turn 4 (Opponent) [09:48]

Here came the Crobat, adding three damage counters to my Pumpkaboo for a total 50 damage. Professor Sycamore found a Golbat to KO the Pumpkaboo. I promoted Shaymin-EX and my opponent proceeded with Super Scoop Up which failed. Then he used Ultra Ball, discarding VS Seeker and Golbat to grab a Crobat. The Skill Dive attack targeted Pumpkaboo on the bench.

Turn 4 (Me) [11:07]

I was under pressure now. Pumpkaboo won’t survive the following turn, giving my opponent his fourth prize card. I only had one DCE left in my deck and two prize cards on the board. If I used the DCE now to KO a non-EX Pokémon, I would probably lose. My opponent would be able to remove my last DCE for sure. Even if I got Feebas from my Prize cards, it wouldn’t stand Crobat’s Skill Dive.

The only thing I could do was to wait until my opponent benches a Pokémon-EX. Unfortunately, my Target Whistle was discarded early, which usually isn’t a big deal with Milotic.

Shaymin-EX was my last option to deal damage now. I used VS Seeker to retrieve Teammates and drew my DCE and a Muscle Band (for a three-hit-KO on Crobat). I attacked with Sky Return and promoted the benched Shaymin-EX.

Turn 5 (Opponent) [12:30]

The benched Golbat evolved into Crobat and KOed my benched Pumpkaboo. Skill Dive put the Active Shaymin-EX to 50 damage, which didn’t really matter because I would attack with Sky Return again. If it had had 10 more damage on it before, that would’ve mattered because Manectric-EX plus Muscle Band was a KO for Weakness.

Turn 5 (Me) [13:25]

I drew Professor Sycamore for my turn. Now I had three of them in my hand. I discarded one of them plus the Xerosic to find my third Shaymin-EX.

Benching more than one Shaymin-EX didn’t make sense here – if the Active one would get KO'd, I’d lose anyway. Additionally, if I benched a Shaymin-EX, my opponent could’ve targeted that one with Skill Dive to get it into the KO range of Manectric-EX (as mentioned before).  So I just Benched one of them and attacked with Sky Return for another 50 damage (see picture below).

Turn 6 (Opponent) [14:13]

Right after I discarded the Xerosic, my opponent attached a Head Ringer to my active Shaymin-EX. I don’t think that he had been waiting for that to happen since he couldn’t know if I play a Xerosic at all. It was stupid discarding the Xerosic, though, as I could’ve chosen another Professor Sycamore here. Now I had to rely on VS Seeker which I wanted to keep for Lysandre originally.

My opponent used his VS Seeker to pick up the heavily damaged Crobat with AZ. He benched the Zubat and attacked my Shaymin with Skill Dive.

Turn 6 (Me) [15:00]

I topdecked a Float Stone – one turn too late. Now I had to use my VS Seeker to remove Shaymin’s Head Ringer with Xerosic. I benched a Shaymin-EX and attached the Float Stone to it, then did 50 damage with Sky Return again.

Turn 7 (Opponent) [15:40]

Finally my opponent Benched a Manectric-EX. My Shaymin was at full HP and out of range for Manectric’s first attack. Zubat evolved into Golbat and put 20 damage – still 10 damage short the possible KO. Then he used his own Xerosic to discard my Float Stone. Ugh. I expected another Head Ringer, but I was spared. Crobat attacked my Shaymin-EX and the win was on the board for me now.

Turn 7 (Me) [16:15]

The most important cards were still in my deck: Float Stone to Retreat the Shaymin, VS Seeker to Lysandre for the Manectric, and Pumpkaboo to KO it for the win. My deck gave me a Pokémon Catcher.

With seven cards left in my deck, two Shaymin-EX and an Ultra Ball in my hand, I should be able to draw my remaining cards without the help of Professor Sycamore. I used the Ultra Ball to grab a Pumpkaboo and Benched that with the Muscle Band and the DCE.

The Pokémon Catcher was just nice to have – I played it down to reduce my hand size and flipped another heads on it. Now the Float Stone was the only missing piece here. Professor Sycamore would’ve sufficed here but I wanted to play it as if the Catcher was tails.

I benched the first Shaymin for three cards (Ultra Ball, Battle Compressor and AZ). AZ was another option to pick up the active Shaymin. I discarded two cards on Ultra Ball in order to draw the remaining cards (Muscle Band, VS Seeker and Float Stone). I attached the Float Stone to Shaymin, Retreated and KO'd the Manectric-EX with Night March. Thanks to VS Seeker, the Pokémon Catcher didn’t matter.

What I Learned From This Game

While I still have to play the deck more often to develop the best deck list for it, I can already tell some interesting things from this single game.

Pokémon Catcher was nice to have, especially if both flip heads! But I don’t think that they decided this game. I would’ve been able to VS Seeker for a Lysandre in both situations (and in one of them, it wasn’t even the best decision). Maybe I’ll return to playing a second Lysandre and another card that has a bigger impact.

I really like the Xerosic already, even if this wasn’t a Seismitoad matchup. But again, I’ll analyse if the Xerosic is really worth the spot in this deck. In the game I described here, AZ would’ve done the job just as well.

It’s annoying that Joltik and Feebas are somewhat weak. Against Crobat, it seems like I would never be able to evolve the Feebas into Milotic because it always gets KO'd on the Bench before I get the chance. Hard Charm could help here – while it doesn’t prevent the Sneaky Bite damage, it helps against Swoop Across, Skill Dive and Manectric’s Overrun.

That’s it for now – I hope you enjoyed reading (and watching) this article. I’m looking forward to your feedback!

-Ole

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