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Caleb Gedemer

"Oblivious" — Yveltal BREAK with Shrine of Punishment

Shrine of Punishment is a big-time addition for Yveltal BREAK. Time to see how it changes the deck!

08/09/2018 by Caleb Gedemer

Oblivious, we were, as a group of top players from the United States piloted their unique Yveltal BREAK deck to top placements at the North American International Championship. Was it a fluke? I’d say not, with solid matchups against most of the top decks and pesky Pokemon like Hoopa to disrupt your opponent’s strategy, it’s very hard to consistently seal wins against this sort of thing. Moving forward, you might ask, does the deck gain anything? It does, and at that, it gains something that’s going to bolster its strength two-fold, moving it into the top ranks. Shrine of Punishment serves as an activator for Yveltal BREAK. Quite simply, Yveltal BREAK only serves as an HP boost for Yveltal and brings nothing more than a solid attack which is as follows:

[D][D][D] Baleful Night: 120 damage. This attack does 30 damage to each of your opponent’s Benched Pokémon that has any damage counters on it. (Don’t apply Weakness and Resistance for Benched Pokémon.)

120 damage is incredibly solid. While it won’t ever one-shot Pokemon-EX/GX, it should reliably two-shot them rather consistently. Here’s where Shrine of Punishment comes in… You can use it as a way to start hitting your opponent’s Bench Pokemon for another 30 every turn after a wave of Pokemon-EX/GX get hit with the effects of the Stadium. That’s an additional 50 damage going into your next turn, so long as the Stadium doesn’t get replaced, and that’s a whole lot of pressure to go with it!

This deck wants to be as consistently linear as possible, so cutting down on techs and focusing on ways to elongate the game and press forward are preferable. This means things like Guzma are less important, since you want to focus on spreading damage to the Bench. I think this is the strongest way to build this deck overall, however hard counters like Mr. Mime exist, making you nearly unwinnable against decks packing it. You want to prioritize getting an Oblivion Wing off quickly, for effect, so adding more ways to discard Darkness Energy is nice.

Why should you play anything more than Yveltal stuff? I don’t really think you should, a higher count of Rescue Stretcher and full package of the dark bird should do the trick. There’s a thin line of something special that goes well with the deck that I’ll cover in a bit. This deck is a hard counter to much of the biggest decks in the format, but does very poorly against Zoroark-GX / Garbodor, as that deck brings not only healing to the table, but one-hit Knockouts also. Before I start, I’d like to point out that my friend Kidd Starck has had a lot to do with the creation of this deck and his input has been invaluable in the creation of this piece. Enough chat, let’s get to the list…

Deck List

Explanations

You probably weren’t expecting to see something quite like this. Looks simple, right? Almost too simple? That’s mainly because it is, but it’s a strong kind of simple: the deck does what it wants almost every game. You want to focus on getting Darkness Energy in the discard pile and more ways to accomplish that are included. N is weak in this deck because you want to see more cards as frequently as possible without hurting the power of Random Receiver. Let me delve into the cards more thoroughly…

Yveltal (XY; 78)

Your best starter, and the only starter you have besides Zubat at that, Yveltal powers your deck with its Oblivion Wing attack. Getting many Darkness Energy in play to get your Baleful Night attacks in range is very important. Since this deck already relies on Rescue Stretcher to give yourself six attackers, having four Yveltal is essential to executing your strategy and keeping the attacks coming.

Yveltal BREAK (STS; 66)

The Yveltal BREAK is the main attacker of the deck and to the same logic of playing four Yveltal, you’re going to want four Yveltal BREAK. Your Rescue Stretcher are quite valuable, so having more of the important Pokemon to the deck is important so you don’t have to spend the Rescue Stretcher resources unnecessarily.

Zubat (GEN; 30)

This line here is simply for beating Buzzwole decks. Zubat is of no importance on its own, but Skill Dive can be okay once in a great while by putting 10 damage wherever you want in order to either soften something up or activate Baleful Night on Yveltal BREAK.

Golbat (GEN; 31)

Golbat is great for this deck in literally every way. Its Ability can activate Baleful Night, or just set something up for an easy Knockout. Swoop Across is the true beauty of this card though, giving you a means to spread damage to all of your opponent’s Pokemon for just a single Energy. Unlike Tapu Koko and its Flying Flip, you won’t even need to play Double Colorless Energy. While this card isn’t anything spectacular, it’s the best way to put damage on all of your opponent’s Pokemon when they are non-EX/GX (I only wish Spinda was still legal).

Professor Sycamore (XY; 122)

Getting Darkness Energy into your discard pile is incredibly important. Professor Sycamore is one of the best ways to do it so playing four copies is essential. This deck can have a lot of fluff and this Supporter is essential to cleaning some of it out and giving you more aggressive ways to draw cards.

Cynthia (UPR; 119)

I already mentioned N is lackluster in this build, and that’s where a full four Cynthia comes in… Able to grab you a fresh six, Cynthia doesn’t do quite what Professor Sycamore can, but it’s the “second-best” Supporter a deck can play.

Ultra Ball (DE; 102)

Another way to get Darkness Energy into the discard pile, you’ll want all four of these to give you chances to thin junk out and get your Oblivion Wing going for full effect. While you don’t need heavy search in this deck for it to operate, a playset of Ultra Ball is a necessity nonetheless simply for its discarding abilities.

Random Receiver (FCO; 109)

Woah, what do we have here? While Guzma and N are really unnecessary for this deck, and quite frankly “win-more” (you already win, but now you win “harder”), four Random Receiver serves as a way for you to get the best Supporters in your deck without having to play junky ones like N. If a deck isn’t playing Guzma then Random Receiver becomes a whole lot better.

Max Elixir (BKP; 102)

Powering up Yveltal before it becomes Yveltal BREAK with Max Elixir further pushes the game in your favor. When you can attack with six different, powerful Basic Pokemon for solid chunks of damage, you want to give yourself the best chance of being able to do just that as many times as possible. Max Elixir will assist you in powering up multiple attackers and making sure that you can attack that whole six times.

Acro Bike (PRC; 122)

As another way to get Darkness Energy in your discard pile, Acro Bike is worth it. It doubles as a consistency card, not outright draw power, but yet another way to thin your deck and give you more reach to get a draw Supporter (if that’s what you’re looking for). The biggest part about this engine is getting those Darkness Energy in the discard pile, when you’re playing a deck like this with larger attack costs, every Energy counts.

Wishful Baton (BUS; 128)

These are weird, but strong, inclusions. They are specifically for the Buzzwole and Rayquaza-GX matchups, two decks that do not traditionally play Field Blower. Even if they do, though, if you can get use out of Wishful Baton at least once that is almost always more than enough to give you the last shove of power that you need to take a game home.

Rescue Stretcher (GRI; 130)

With only four defined main attackers, you’re going to need ways to recover them so you can still play with six Prizes. You never want to run out of Pokemon either, so multiple copies of Rescue Stretcher only make sense. I’d love to have a fourth, but it’s not something needed. I could see a fourth over a consistency card perhaps, as much of the time you’re vying to simply see a Rescue Stretcher off your draw anyways.

Nest Ball (SUM; 158)

Getting multiple Yveltal into play quickly is a must, so having more search cards to get them is a necessity. These can also get Zubat, so you’ll have more ways to actually get some use out of your thin Golbat line. Nest Ball is a solid card in any deck that relies primarily on Basic attackers, and in a deck that ultimately runs on a “Stage 1” BREAK Evolution, you’re going to want to get as many of the bottom Stage as you can into play as quickly as possible.

Shrine of Punishment (CLS; 143)

Here’s where the magic happens… Shrine of Punishment is an excellent activator for your Baleful Night attack, and it gives you an even better time against decks that rely largely on Pokemon-EX/GX like Zoroark-GX builds. Almost every deck is playing multiple Pokemon-EX/GX, so having this Stadium to disrupt those and guides you to easier Knockouts. While Parallel City and other Stadiums aren’t of much importance for this deck, with four of your own Stadium you can counter them and make sure that they never get in the way.

10 Darkness Energy

Having a whopping ten Darkness Energy gives you strong chances of hitting your Max Elixir drops and also getting those Darkness Energy into the discard pile quickly. When you can use Oblivion Wing to full effect that leads to a more dominant game being played, one that you’ll be better favored in. I keep repeating myself about that sentiment because it’s true, getting multiple Yveltal BREAK going is going to pay off in the long run.

Counter Energy (CIN; 100)

Here’s where my list takes a strange turn as well, Counter Energy is pretty unconventional to this deck. While it was originally played as a way use Tapu Lele to Magical Swap, it became more than that… This deck frequently falls behind on Prizes only to come out ahead in the end, and Counter Energy is a fantastic way to bolster the speed of your Yveltal BREAK, giving you a way to catch back up on attachments if you happen to skip a beat or quite bluntly if you’re to drop back on Prizes.

Consideration Musings

As I just touched on, one of the first cards in this deck was Tapu Lele with Magical Swap. I preferred the Psychic one for the better counter to Buzzwole, but as it turned out it wasn’t very great in practice. It became an easy cut, as well as the Tapu Lele-GX that was originally included. My own Tapu Lele-GX would generally get weakened by Shrine of Punishment and then fall as an easy target to Guzma. I’ve tried to mesh Double Colorless Energy and attackers that work with it into the deck but it’s just too hard to work with Counter Energy, which I legitimately think is a necessity to the deck. Counter Energy isn’t a staple in other Yveltal BREAK decks and that’s why I think it’s been vastly overlooked until now. As a believer in the card now I think it improves this bulky attacker by a fair amount and is worth the space commitment. This deck is very simple besides all of this, and while I’ve played it a bit more conventionally with a beefier lineup of Supporters including Guzma and N, they’re just unnecessary to the deck. You’re spreading damage already to the point of taking Knockouts, so having Guzma to handpick things becomes less of a necessity. N is just underpowered once you start taking Prizes and doesn’t advance you much when you’re looking to discard Darkness Energy at will early on. I could see splitting Cynthia and N half and half, however, that’s something I’ve only begun to test with mixed results.

Matchups

I was enthralled with this deck’s testing results starting off. It seemingly beat every best deck, save Zoroark-GX / Garbodor. With the later coming off a big International Championship victory and gaining many supporters around the world, I would have originally expected it to be the most popular deck at the World Championship. With many of the latest developments, though, I think that the format is shifting away from Zoroark-GX / Garbodor and a cleaner, more favorable path may be paved for Yveltal BREAK to cruise through. Regardless of its popularity, Zoroark-GX / Garbodor might just be a matchup you can take a loss to with the rest of your matchup spread being favorable. Try as you may, there has been nothing that I have personally been able to make work against Zoroark-GX / Garbodor, even lunacy like dropping the Item count to historically low counts and trying to play a slower game such to limit the power of Garbodor; it’s a lost cause by my measurement. Time to look at everything in detail, let’s begin…

Buzzwole: Favorable

Shrine of Punishment isn’t extremely effective here, but it keeps Buzzwole-GX and Lycanroc-GX in check, while making your opponent weary of playing down Regirock-EX or Tapu Lele-GX. If nothing else, it’s simply a counter Stadium, which will disrupt your opponent in its own right. Your Yveltal are resistant to Fighting, so you’ll have extra time than what you’re generally accompanied to. So long as each Yveltal BREAK can attack twice you’ll be in a great spot.

Golbat is critical to this matchup with Swoop Across. Buzzwole cannot normally be touched with a “one-hit” Knockout, but after a Swoop Across you put it to 120 HP remaining… This makes perfect math for Baleful Night and you can sweep the rest of your opponent’s board easily. While you may lose a few Yveltal BREAK early from the power of Buzzwole, don’t worry too much because Counter Energy will keep your attacks coming and you should eventually finish everything up.

What’s easy to miss is the raw power of 30 spread damage to your opponent’s Pokemon on the Bench. This damage chaining makes for exceedingly easy Knockouts, ones that are just built-in to your main attack which is already doing an overly presentable 120 damage to your opponent’s Active. After that Bench damage adds up you will be able to start taking multiple Knockouts in a single turn and if your opponent has to bench any Pokemon-EX/GX then it will be even easier to finish things off since Shrine of Punishment will be doing work. Between your Resistance and ways to pressure opposing Pokemon with one-hit Knockouts, this matchup is fairly simple to win.

Gardevoir-GX: Even

Everyone’s favorite Fairy is making a bit of a comeback, be it with Zoroark-GX or on its own, due to the rise of Rayquaza-GX. This deck can be taught to beat, but it matters much on the count of Max Potion your opponent decides to play. Your spread can eventually overwhelm your opponent, and it’s important to keep in mind that a Gardevoir-GX will only need two Energy attached to one-shot an Yveltal BREAK using Baleful Night. With such a low Energy requirement to do such heavy damage, it’s going to be difficult to win this one. After Resistance you Baleful Night only does 100 to make matters worse, putting you in a three-shot situation unless your Forbidden Shrine Stadiums put in some serious work, which is completely possible. Your Golbat can soften things up as well, so this matchup is tough, but still maneuverable.

Malamar: Favorable

Malamar decks have set out to employ a somewhat similar strategy to this deck, using Shrine of Punishment and non-EX/GX attackers like Hoopa from Steam Siege to pack a punch with little to no risk attached. Tapu Lele with Magical Swap is designed to put the icing on the cake by moving damage around and finishing up Knockouts. While none of your opponent’s attackers present a huge threat, Hoopa can use Hyperspace Punch to set your Yveltal BREAK up for Knockouts by doing 20 to them, so watch out for that. Your Golbat will again be important to use Swoop Across or at the least Sneaky Bite to finish a Hoopa off since Baleful Night only does 120. You can clear all Malamar off the board if you get a Swoop Across off and then punish your opponent’s Bench with Baleful Night. Don’t expect Shrine of Punishment to be of much use since your opponent will more than likely be playing a low count of Pokemon-EX/GX and won’t be too keen to play them down in the first place.

Mill: Favorable

Mill decks are free for this one since Oblivion Wing is a built in counter to them outright. Reattaching fallen Energy will outlast your opponent’s string of denial, and while he or she can also heal, they will eventually get outpaced since you should never miss a turn of attacking with all of the acceleration that you have. The only scenario that exists where you could get locked out is if you don’t invest enough Energy to an Active Yveltal and get locked out of attacks if the one in the Active loses all of its Energy. Without a way to get back to the Bench for a different attacker you need to pay the cost, so there’s where that situation can arise.

Rayquaza-GX: Favorable

Shrine of Punishment absolutely destroys Rayquaza-GX decks, as they usually don’t have a counter, and if they do, there’s not going to be many of them. On top of that, once the first wave of damage from the Stadium hits then your Baleful Night will be ripped and ready to go, dealing huge damage to your opponent’s Bench with no downside. While you’ll lose an Yveltal BREAK every turn on average, you can take solace in that you have a large count of Rescue Stretcher to get more back and the Counter Energy package will make it easier to keep attacking even under extreme pressure from your opponent. Your Stadium is truly the ticket here above all else, it will help you chain together Knockouts and you’ll have to do less attacking in the end. With roughly six attacks from your Pokemon, you’ll be safely clearing at least three Rayquaza-GX for six Prizes.

Yveltal BREAK: Even

The mirror is weird, but I’ll say that this version is likely slightly favored against the more traditional builds. You have more ways to power up Yveltal BREAK at will, and with Counter Energy you can chain them even if you fall behind. While things like Mewtwo might be a little annoying to handle, you should eventually knock it out and you’ll be back to smoothly sailing. Tapu Koko can be frustrating as well since it does hit you for Weakness and set your Bench up for Knockouts, but you can at least one-shot it with Baleful Night to get it out of your way and force your opponent to push up more valuable, threatening Pokemon.

Zoroark-GX / Garbodor: Unfavorable

Here’s where things go south for this deck. While Shrine of Punishment is fine and dandy, your opponent’s combination of Parallel City (which can also double as a healing card by discarding damaged Pokemon) and Garbodor is too much for this deck to handle. While you can limit your Items (or play a lower Item count), you always always still get into a position where Trashalanche one-shots your Pokemon. This is bad, because when your opponent is both healing and dealing one-hit Knockouts it is almost impossible to win. To make matters worse, the popular tech of Latios can set up perfect math Knockouts from Zoroark-GX by putting your Yveltal BREAK down to 120 HP after a Break Through attack. Acerola is just another disaster as it can even be recycled with Puzzle of Time, so resistance is almost futile in this matchup and you’d best be avoiding it to just bypass the almost impossible threat.

Zoroark-GX / Other (Non-Garbodor): Favorable

Non-Garbodor versions of Zoroark-GX are much easier. Without a true one-shot threat, you can wrack up damage at all and you have less to worry about. While healing options will still be present, not being one-shot each turn will make all the difference. When you’re losing a main attacker every turn it’s hard to keep up in the Prize trade. Now that you don’t have to fear that as much, it’s just the healing that’s the issue. All you need to ensure is that your opponent starts the Stadium war. While four Stadiums is quite a few, you still will be outpaced in the end by the combination of Field Blower, Parallel City, and then Puzzle of Time to get them all back. Let your opponent initiate it, and then hopefully you can finish it. If your opponent staggers his or her Pokemon-EX/GX then he or she will just be playing a slower game that’s doomed to fail, as his or her setup will be less potent.

Try to be mindful in any matchup about deactivating Counter Energy, so don’t get too greedy by focusing in excessively on a Knockout that might be foolhardy overall. You want to play a slower game and keep your snowball moving until the spread damage catches up with your opponent, that will just take a bit of time. 150 HP gives you plenty of time, so be patient.

You can handle your opponent healing a few times, primarily because you’ll still be the aggressor in those situations. You do get six Yveltal and/or Yveltal BREAK to attack with, not to mention it’s rather unlikely that a Zoroark-GX player will be one-shotting you (not talking about Garbodor here). Take it slow, play your Stadiums wisely, and eventually you’ll find your opponent’s board covered in a mess of damage.

Conclusions

This is a great play when you’re not expecting much Zoroark-GX / Garbodor. While Rayquaza-GX and Zoroark-GX / Oranguru are probably my top two choices right now, Yveltal BREAK feels like my ultimate fallback if I faver in either of those choices. It’s matchups are well defined and myself and other friends have tested it extensively, helping me make an informed opinion on it. Moving forward I see less of a need to test it personally, as I think I’ve come across the optimal list (as unorthodox as it is), and I’ll be giving myself more time to focus on other unexplored decks. I should be back one more time before the World Championships, so until then, good luck and take care!

~Caleb

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