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Miner751

Lord Helix and Friends

Praise Lord Helix! ... and Aerodactyl. Aerodactyl is cool too :)

01/15/2017 by Miner751


Introduction and random musings

Hi everyone! It’s funny how things work out – I thought with being on university break I would have time to write articles but, instead, I’ve been working by day, and playing Pokémon Moon at night. True, I could have written up articles instead of playing Moon, but I wanted to have a better team than my in game team for a Premier Challenge (Dec 18, 2016). I just had enough time to catch the 4 Tapus, a Nihilego and a Pheromosa (of somewhat reasonable natures and IVs); EV train them; and slap on some dubious items like Bright Powder. I would not recommend such a team from a competitive standpoint, but I did (surprisingly) win 2 out of 6 rounds and had way too much fun with the team. Since then I’ve been trying to increase my selection of Pokémon to train and breed with, whilst also trying to get some good items (even with the Tapus and Ultra Beasts, the Battle Tree is pretty hard to get through and earn enough points for the Choice items, etc).

There’s also been a number of League Challenges around in Australia, which is great to see – to put it into perspective, I think we’ve had more LCs in the past couple of months than what we had last season. I haven’t played in any, but I did judge a couple. A couple of local players have recorded and commentated a number of games from these LCs. These videos can be seen here on their channel Porygon2ube.

Anyway, over the past few months I’ve been playing with Aerodactyl/Omastar at league. The basic idea is to get an Omastar FCO out, use its Ability (Restoring Beam) to play Aerodactyl from your deck without the need for Old Amber, and then bash the opponent with Aerodactyl. Whilst this is a bit of effort to get Aerodactyl out, it is definitely worth it. For a Double Colourless Energy, it hits for 120 damage, and discards a Special Energy off the opponent’s Active Pokémon! This is an amazingly efficient attack. In addition, Aerodactyl also has free retreat which is a good asset to have.


The first build

I had a week break (late October 2016) between my last class for university and my exams and decided to head down to a local league during this break (I don’t normally go during the semester). I wanted a fun deck, and Omastar/Aerodactyl was always something I wanted to play. A few weeks earlier, I remember seeing an Omastar/Aerdactyl deck online that apparently had done reasonably at a major tournament, so I thought I’d dig it out, build it and give it a shot. Here’s the list I found (posted by Karl Blake in the facebook group, Virbank City, on September 5 2016):



I switched an Ultra Ball for a Dive Ball, and I think I switched an Omastar Break for another Omastar (I can’t remember now). I wanted to keep the deck as close to the original as possible since it worked well, and I wanted to see how the deck plays out before making my own (major) changes. Aside for discarding Talonflames and searching for Wobbuffet, there was little advantage of using Ultra Ball over Dive Ball. If anything, it was a disadvantage because you would have to discard 2 cards (I dislike using Ultra Ball unless it is the best ball to use in the given deck and/or there are Shaymin EXes/Octilleries in the deck). I can’t remember if I did take out the Omastar Break, or if I did switch it for an Omastar, but I do remember looking at it and thinking that 3 of them seemed pretty excessive, although it does have its uses.

So I took it to league and played a few games with it. I played against a friend’s Volcanion deck twice and won both, although they weren’t ‘real’ games. I dropped a Silent Lab down early both games and he scooped both games since he couldn’t do anything – he needed to play Shaymins/Hoopa EX to get going, but then he wouldn’t be able to use Volcanion EX’s Ability either. This was an early build of my friend’s Volcanion deck, and he has since added in Stadiums. :)

I also played (and won) against a Rainbow Road deck. Throughout the game, I found out that Aerodactyl is actually well position against Xerneas. Xerneas has 120HP, which means it gets KOed by a single Jet Draft. If they have a Fighting Fury Belt attached to give it +40HP, then you discard their DCE (which is highly likely to be on Xerneas). This forces the opponent to sacrifice another DCE, or sacrifice the Xerneas; both of which are favourable scenarios for you (remember that DCEs are a limited resource). Sure they can knock out Aerodactyl in a single hit too, but (provided Omastar is out) Aerodactyl is slightly easier to set up since it requires 1 less Energy.

Overall, I was pleasantly surprised with the deck. Once you get Omastar out, you can stream Aerodactyls and actually keep the opponent on their toes. The catch is that you have to get Omanyte out with Helix Fossil first, and as soon as possible. I felt that I got too lucky with this in one or two of the games I played that night. As such, I choose to turn back to an old friend…


Archie in Standard, yeah right… right?

After Battle Compressor rotated, I thought Archie’s Ace in the Hole would be dead (and same with Maxie’s). At the same time, I didn’t initially think that there’d be a deck that could run off of a single Basic and 4 Talonflames. Talonflame is good for Archie’s since it helps get that last piece or two necessary to pull it off. Another thought was to use the Litwik with the Battle Compressor-like attack, but I felt that Talonflame would be better. Before I talk more about card choices, here’s the list:

Explanations for most of the cards in the Archie’s engine can be found in my previous article. I’ll go over some of the changes to the engine, as well as the Pokémon choices.

VS Seeker: since we don’t have Battle Compressor, there’s no need for a playset of VS Seekers anymore.

Random Receiver: Since we can’t do the Battle Compressor/VS seeker combo in Standard, we need a way to search out Archie’s. It is somewhat like the 5th-8th copies of Archie’s (except for the odd occasion we reveal Sycamore, which is sometimes what we actually do want). Occasionally, it does hurt not being able to have access to N or Lysandre, but that’s the cost of trying to get a turn 1 Archie’s into an Omastar.

Sycamore: Sometimes we just need a fresh hand.

Omastar Break: Loves pulling up Shaymin EXes for Aerodactyl to smash. Additionally, a free Lysandre each turn against EX decks is nothing to scoff at. In some games, it is the reason why you win, which makes me want to add in another; but the list is tight, it doesn’t help play Archie’s and in some matchups it is a dead card.

Omastar: I wish there were more cards to get this guy into the Discard Pile, but unfortunately Ultra Ball is the only way (there’s still Acro Bike, occasionally with Reserved Ticket, but this isn’t the most reliable). I should probably add another one in.

Omanyte: I decided to try a one-off Omanyte since it can be Archie’d, but it can also be brought into play with Omastar’s Restoring Beam so to set up another Omastar in case the opponent knocks out the first one. Only once I’ve wished it were an Omastar, whilst it has come in handy once too.

Talonflame: like I mentioned above, it helps get your hand ready for the Archie’s. After you get Omastar out, you can just free Retreat into Aerodatcyl. If it survives until the late game, it is a handy way of getting DCEs, or Puzzle of Time. It can also be used sometimes to get the coup de grace if you don’t want to have to use an Aerodactyl (and have it return KO’ed). For the games when you don’t start with Talonflame, you cry on the inside.

Wobbuffet: All decks need a Basic, which is Wobbuffet’s main role. I originally kept it in because Karl had it in his, but I later realised that you need this to be able to have a chance against Vileplume decks (otherwise you get Item locked, and then gg).

When I originally started playing this build in November, I was hitting a turn 1 Omastar quite often. I even managed to get back to back Archie’s on turn 1 and 2 a couple of times. In recent weeks, however, it hasn’t been as smooth. Overall though, I’d say the deck has a bit over 50% chance of achieving an Archie turn 1, and around a 75% chance of doing it by turn 2. This still isn’t as good as it used to be, but at least it’s bearable.

Matchups are a bit hard to say. A number of games I’ve lost because the deck conked out, not because I got outplayed. Provided you can hit the Archie’s early, you’ll be in most games with a reasonable chance of success. The other thing to be aware of is that you can be donked sometimes. Until you use Archie’s, the only Pokémon you’ll be able to get in play is Talonflame (if you open with it) and Wobbuffet. If you take too long to use Archie’s and/or your opponent is playing a particularly fast deck, then you’ll be Benched very easily.

Rainbow Road, evolution decks that rely on DCE (e.g Vespiquen or Gyarados) and EX decks are generally good matchups for this deck. Aerodactyls are typically easier to stream than non-EX, and it can either get the KO, or put them behind a turn of Energy attachment. Even with a FFB, most EXes cap at 220HP, which is still well within two hits of Jet Draft.

MewBox with Vileplume is a bit hit and miss. Item lock will hurts, but if you can get an Omastar out first and/or get a Wobbuffet Active you will have a chance. Omastar Break helps a lot in this matchup, it can pull up an EX to stall while you try and draw an Energy, or it can pull up easy prizes like Mew EX, Manaphy EX or Shaymin EX.
M Garvevoir EX is also a bit of a middle ground. Again Omastar Break is a star in this matchup. M Gardevoir PRC is better for Aerodactyl since it is slower and sometimes has DCEs. The dual type M Gardevoir is bearable, but annoying since it can discard your opponent’s Benched Shaymins, Hoopa EXes, etc, whilst it can also put a bit of pressure on you if they get M Gardy attacking on the second turn.

Yveltals and Darkrai EX aren’t too bad for this deck. If, and when, Garbodor comes out, your best line of play is to scoop and then find a corner to cry in. Garbodor shuts the deck down, and you have no way to interact with it. You can’t remove its Pokémon Tool, nor can you bring it Active (unless you KO every other Pokémon your opponent has in play… but that’s seldom going to happen). Your only chance is to get as many Aerodactyls out before the Garbodor comes out to play and hope that that will do. Or hope that your opponent can’t get Garbodor out.

Greninja isn’t great for the deck either. Greninja is a bit slow, so you could take some early KOs, but it has a much better late game than Aerodactyl. This is made worse by the fact that Greninja can also cause Ability lock.


Conclusion

Overall, Omastar/Aerodactyl is a decent deck and has been a blast to play. If you’re looking for something fun to play at a tournament, I highly recommend this deck. If you’re looking to do well, you might want to look elsewhere - when the line of thought is “if the meta is right and I draw well…”, you know you should find another deck. Having said that, if someone does place well at a tournament with this deck, the only reason I’d be surprised for is that someone was actually game enough to play it. Omastar/Aerodactyl isn’t a bad deck, it just needs to have a lot of things go its way at a tournament.

The deck loses to itself (i.e. fails to get going) more often than most decks. This isn’t helped by the fact that there’s no backup plan. As in, you can’t just chuck Energies at an EX (e.g. non-Mega Scizor EX or Gardevoir EX) and deal some damage.

When you do get going, which at least is the majority of the time, the deck is pretty good. Streaming attackers isn’t too hard, and Jet Draft does hit for a good number with a nice side effect. Omastar Break has a game winning Ability too – everyone likes sniping Shaymin EXes every now and then. :)

One final thing, even though we don’t have Battle Compressor, Archie’s (and Maxie’s) is still possible. They’re less consistent than what it used to be, but they are still doable. 

[+2] ok


 

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