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Caleb Gedemer

"Vesp’ ain't Dead, Trainers" — Vespiquen in the Expanded Format

Caleb Gedemer discusses Vespiquen's prospects in the Black & White - Generations format.

05/12/2016 by Caleb Gedemer

INTRODUCTION

Hey 60cards.net readers! Let me take this moment to introduce myself, I am Caleb Gedemer, a recently turned eighteen year old high school graduate and Pokémon Trading Card Game player hailing from the great state of Wisconsin in the United States. I have been playing competitively since the 2013-2014 season of play, earning an invitation to the World Championships in that year as well as in the three following years. I have had some big finishes thus far, including trips to the finals in both Regional and State Championships as well as multiple Top Fours and Top Eights in other Regionals and States.

Outside of Pokémon, I devote most of my time to work, as well as spending time with my friends and my wonderful girlfriend. I will be starting up school again this coming autumn semester, working towards an accounting degree. I enjoy Futurama and other satirical-esque television. I love some alternative, electronic, hardcore, indie, pop punk and rap music. Some of my personal favorites at the moment include Alan Walker, Balance and Composure, Circa Survive, Dance Gavin Dance, Into It. Over It., Man Overboard, nothing,nowhere., Seasons Change, Title Fight, Troye Sivan, Turnstile and Yung Lean.

In my first article, I will discuss four different Vespiquen decks which I think are all great choices for week one of Spring Regional Championships. Each option will include a deep breakdown of each archetype along with decklists and matchup analysis for each. Enjoy!

Part One: Flareon, Gallade, and Garbodor

Open Thoughts

“Hey, I thought it was dead!” Ha! Not a chance. Many have been extremely quick to dismiss what was considered by many the best overall deck for Expanded just a few months ago. Fighting Fury Belt was supposed to summon the end for this deck, but after playing rigorously, my personal favorite still has what it takes to win in a big tournament.

The most popular deck packing multiple copies of Fighting Fury Belt are Turbo Dark decks. These decks rely heavily on Darkrai-EX as their main attacker. Now, Gallade was included in Kevin Baxter’s second place finishing Flareon/Vespiquen build at Virginia Regionals over Valentine’s weekend. As a Flareon/Vespiquen player, we can choose to include Gallade to give us an advantage over those now beefy Darkrai-EX. Gallade wings for a one hit knockout, and we can almost always expect to get two Sensitive Blade attacks per Gallade.

Gallade is not quite a newcomer to the Flareon/Vespiquen deck anymore, but Garbodor is. Recently, along with fellow 60cards.net writer Daniel Altavilla, I have been testing Garbodor as a partner in the deck. At first I was skeptical when he suggested the idea. I started with a 1-1 line, but after realizing how important it can be to avoid discarding it, bumped it up to a 2-2 chain. Garbodor helps out in a variety of matchups. We can play it down versus Crobat based decks to avoid being hit by ‘bat drops which lead to our opponent getting ahead in the Prize trade. Against Archeops decks, Garbodor can be used as a means to Evolve even through the Evolution lock. If our opponent were to drop ‘chops on their first turn before we can Evolve ourselves, Wobbuffet can always be utilized to get Garbodor up and running and allow access to our powerful Stage One attackers. Blastoise, even for as unpopular as it has become, is hindered extremely by Garb. A Vespiquen taking a knockout on a Keldeo-EX with Garbotoxin online can spell game for an opponent right then and there. If that was not enough already, Eelektrik decks, which have been on the rise, become next to a joke with the use of Garbodor. If you are lucky enough to get Trubbish and Float Stone during your first turn against a Trevenant BREAK deck, you may find yourself in a position where you have Item access all game! Hex Maniac can also be played if you so choose to play Trubbish with a Float Stone under Item lock. Flareon/Vespiquen has always had a tiny problem with Night March decks. Garbodor can help us to fix that problem. Not only does Garb stop Mew-EX from copying Night March Pokémon's attacks, but it stops the Night March player from utilizing Shaymin-EX later in the game. This makes our N drops much more potent once we have established a winning board position. This can help us get ahead and more importantly, stay ahead.

After grinding daily with this deck on the Pokémon Trading Card Game Online, I am very confident in this deck and its corresponding deck list for upcoming Regional play. Here is my first deck list for Flareon/Vespiquen including Gallade and Garbodor!

Deck List

Matchups

  • Accelgor/Wobbuffet: 40/60
    • With our obvious lack of a way out of Paralysis, this is going to be hard. Not only that, but if our opponent were to start with Wobbuffet, our setup is going to be pretty shaky while they get to start building a winning board of Accelgors.

  • Archeops/Yveltal-EX: 50/50 (with Silent Lab) or 60/40 (without Silent Lab)
    • Archeops/Yveltal-EX with Silent Lab creates a weird problem for us, our Wobbuffet’s Bide Barricade is shut down, so we can no longer get around Archeops’ own Ability. To circumvent this, we must conserve our Tropical Beaches and play them in combination with Evolution Pokémon to remove the threat of Archeops once more. If Garbodor manages to find its place on the board, the game should be won as we can Evolve at will. Yveltal decks really struggle to trade with Flareon/Vespiquen as the HP of our non-EXs proves too much in combination with high damage output attacks. Now if Archeops/Yveltal-EX is not playing Silent Lab, the game becomes a bit easier, as we can use Energy Evolution on our Eevee’s to get through Archeops lock, as well as keep Wobbuffet working and Evolve that way.

  • Blastoise/Keldeo-EX: 80/20
    • Garbodor shuts down their entire deck and Vespiquen rages through it with one hit knockouts. This is probably one of your best matchups.

  • Seismitoad-EX/Crobat: 55/35 (with Manectric-EX) or 65/35 (without Manectric-EX)
    • The perfect turn one for a Crobat/Seismitoad-EX deck playing against Flareon/Vespiquen involves a Silent Lab drop followed by a Ghetsis. If our opponent is able to pull that off, this will be incredibly tricky. Since we do play two Tropical Beach, however, we can counter the Silent Lab and regain use of Shaymin-EX. If we manage to get multiple Vespiquen online, this match is super easy, provided you can find Double Colorless Energy to keep attacking. Manectric-EX in partner with Crobat and Seismitoad-EX makes this a bit harder, since they can play a KO game on our tiny HP Basics before they get a chance to Evolve. The only downside to this strategy for them is that they are leaving the door open for our Item cards to be played and we can build a nice field of attackers churning out the high damage we desire.

  • Darkrai-EX/Dark Patch/Max Elixir: 55/45
    • This is one of the harder matchups that generally requires use of Gallade. The numbers are hard to hit with Darkrai-EXs weighing in at 220 HP. Gallade can take care of this problem with our Weakness advantage, though. Later in the game it becomes easier for Flareon and Vespiquen to hit the upper 200s and the game will be a pinch. If Darkrai-EX is able to go off quickly in the early game and set up Bench KOs, this game can be rough, however.

  • Eelektrik/Raikou: 70/30
    • Garbodor, just like with the Blastoise matchup, makes this one pretty easy. In addition, Gallade can become really hard to KO if we have the chance to get it into play. Flareon and Vespiquen swinging for one hit KOs on Raikous while they cannot use Abilities to catch up makes this pretty short and sweet.

  • Flareon/Vespiquen: 55/45
    • Our mirror match is going to be different than usual because we have Gallade and/or Garbodor. We can play this two different ways, one is to go for Gallade and establish a point where we can be safe from using N because of Premonition. The other option is to establish a winning board position and then drop Garbodor and use N in conjunction. This will stop them from using Shaymin-EX and they will have to rely on draws and top decks. Other than that, it is a back and forth trade that we should have a slight advantage in due to our techs.

  • Garbodor/Sableye: 30/70
    • Garbodor/Sableye is much harder now that they have Puzzle of Time. They can now constantly get back Life Dew, making it impossible for us to take Prizes and win the game. Our only real out to this is trying to stop them from having follow-up Sableyes. We can try and N away the Life Dew after a Junk Hunt and see what happens. This is an extremely tough matchup that we probably will not be winning. Blacksmith can help us achieve more attacks after our four Double Colorless Energy have been spent, but it likely will not be enough to pull it out. A cute way to maybe stand a chance is using Trubbish’s Garbage Collection to recycle Energy Cards and VS Seekers. This can backfire though if our opponent usings a Trick Shovel, but it might be worth a shot.

  • Genesect-EX/Virizion-EX: 80/20
    • Flareon just takes care of business in this one. Genesect-EX/Virizion-EX stands no chance once a Flareon can hit for a one hit knockout. They could possibly win if we managed to draw extremely poorly and never set up. Even then, comeback wins are possible.

  • M Manectric-EX: 60/40
    • Here, Gallade will be important again in the early game, unless we get off to a crazy start. Knocking out 210 HP Mega Pokémon is incredibly difficult earlier in the game. Later, we can rely on that damage output, but until then we either have to two hit for a knockout or use Gallade as a crutch to get the job done.

  • M Rayquaza-EX (Colorless): 60/40
    • Jolteon makes this kinda easy. As long as we can get multiple Eevees down early on to prevent a Lysandre threat before we can Evolve, we will be fine. Once the wheels start rolling, we can take an EX KO each turn and win the Prize trade efficiently. Some may argue without playing extensively that a Hex Maniac drop from the M Rayquaza-EX player can alter the outcome of the game by disabling Jolteon for a turn. Yes, this may be true, but we can still hit 220 if in a pinch and we have to. Also, not to mention, most times when you’re feeling the pressure from a non-EX deck, you simply do not have a turn to play a non-draw Supporter to catch up and build more M Rayquaza-EX.

  • Night March: 40/60
    • This match is tough, they have Basic non-EXs and we have Stage One non-EXs. This match will undoubtedly be a Prize trade. We need to avoid Benching our Jirachi-EX and Shaymin-EXs. Late game N in combination with Garbodor can give us a lead if we ever fall behind. This is winnable as any other match is but albeit at a disadvantage.

  • Primal Groudon-EX/Wobbuffet: 60/40
    • This match can be difficult if we mess up. The correct way to play this is to avoid Benching any Pokémon-EX and slowly build multiple Flareon and Vespiquen and get other Pokémon in the Discard. Overextending is almost always for no reason. Their threat is Groudon-EX, we do not really care about Wobbuffet. Shaymin-EX’s Sky Return can be very good, just continually Sky Returning against a Wobbuffet and taking care of Robo Substitutes is a great way to conserve Energy without them being at risk of a Xerosic or Enhanced Hammer. Sky Return is also useful to pop a Focus Sash on a Primal Groudon-EX, but there is a risk that our opponent may have a Pokémon Center Lady or Super Potion to reset the damage and get us. Most times, it is going to be most advantageous to simply N them (hoping to get rid of any cards they were collecting for when we actually play an Energy and attack, like Enhanced Hammer) and hit for as much as we can with a Vespiquen. We will be two hitting them in this way, but it is the only way to do it. Blacksmith and Fire Energy will actually be really important in this matchup since generally they will be able to clear us of Double Colorless Energy at some point. Flareon is really important for this reason. Since we are never going to actually one hit them, it is correct to just hit for 120 or so, getting 10 Pokémon in the discard can be pretty simple. This should be a victory if we play smart.

  • Trevenant BREAK: 35/65
    • Trevenant BREAK is probably the deck we are most worried about. It has hype coming in from a win and a finals appearance in Winter Regional Championships. Silent Fear is an absolutely devastating attack against our smaller HP Stage One deck. Within three or four turns a Trevenant BREAK player may have already won the game. Not only is Silent Fear great for them, turn one Item lock capabilities are extremely crippling. If we play first, we actually stand a chance, though! The pressure coming from bang, bang KOs can lock them out of the game entirely. They will not be able to Evolve into multiple Trevenants repeatedly as they need to to capture a win. If they play first and were to whiff the turn one Trevenant and the Item Lock that goes along with it, we would still be in the same potentially winning position. Another out is our Garbodor option. If Trubbish can find a Tool card while we still have Items, Trevenant BREAK can be in for a tough time as we can repeatedly play our Items and most importantly, VS Seekers, digging for Supporter cards to draw more cards and discard more Pokémon to fuel our hard hitting attacks.

  • Vespiquen/Vileplume: 50/50
    • Most of the time when playing against Vespiquen/Vileplume it is a bit of a luckfest. Even if our opponent manages to play first and get a turn one Vileplume, the game is not out of our hands. Depending on the strength of our hand, meaning Pokémon and Professor Juniper/Sycamore, we can manually discard Pokémon without the aid of Battle Compressor. On the flipside, if we are to play first, we can go off and set ourselves up for success. Grabbing a Trubbish with Float Stone will more than likely pay dividends as our opponent’s Vileplume will be rendered useless. From here, we can take KOs each turn, conserving Energy for opportune times to strike. Our Ability to Lysandre more than once will most likely spell the win when Vespiquen/Vileplume is forced to Bench multiple Shaymin-EX to achieve a half-decent setup before Abilities are locked out by Garbodor.

Part Two: Flareon, Vespiquen and Parallel City

Open Thoughts

Now, back to basics. Flareon/Vespiquen started off the season hot in Jimmy O'Brien’s hands. This deck is still extremely strong, the ability to Knock Out Pokémon-EX in one hit with non-EX Pokémon has always been amazing. Once again, this deck is thought to be at an extreme disadvantage due to Fighting Fury Belt seeing more play. This might seem like a sound way to put this build in the backseat, but after some extensive gameplay, we can simply just two-hit each Fighting Fury Belted Pokémon-EX. After the trade starts, each Pokémon of ours that is KO'd adds to our damage output. Eventually, we can hit a number where even 210 and 220 HP Pokémon-EX can be Knocked Out in one attack.

Other than the new “weakness” to Fighting Fury Belt, the deck for the most part retains the same matchups. Flareon and Vespiquen are still extremely powerful attackers that hit for obscene numbers for just two Colorless Energy. My personal list includes Parallel City, a cute way to play down our Jirachi-EX and Shaymin-EX more generously without worrying about them being targeted. Not only do we prevent EX knockouts, we add to our damage output with discarding Pokemon from our Bench. In addition, I have copies of Ghetsis, which can steal cheap wins against Item-reliant decks when we play first, as well as Hex Maniac, which gives us a chance to catch up against even our worst matchup of Trevenant BREAK.

Deck List

Matchups 

  • Accelgor/Wobbuffet: 40/60
    • This is a lot of the same from before, except we do have a Paralysis out in AZ. That likely will not be enough to really change the matchup at all, though. Once again, Accelgor simply traps our attackers in the Active position and repeatedly stops us from taking KOs. If we can manage to muster a strong start where the pressure is too much for them, that is how we would win.

  • Archeops/Yveltal-EX: 35/65 (with Silent Lab) or 60/40 (without Silent Lab)
    • Yveltal-EX with ‘chops playing Silent Lab can be really annoying for us if they get it on their first turn while playing first. Shaymin-EX and Unown are the engine of our deck and without them, it is super hard to really get anything done efficiently. Our single copy of Parallel City is not going to do us that much good if we have to play it early on, it will either limit our attacks or limit our Bench, nearly nullifying the effect of even playing a Shaymin-EX and actually getting to use Set Up. It will prove difficult to not only establish a board under Silent Lab, but at the same time there’s another thing to worry about, that being Archeops. The two of those in combination make this pretty unfavorable. When Archeops/Yveltal is not playing Silent Lab, the match becomes much more doable. We can use Energy Evolution just like with the Garbodor version, but we also have Hex Maniac this time. We can Evolve up a few Pokémon that way and get those much needed attackers. Generally three attackers should net you six Prizes, so keep that in mind.

  • Blastoise/Keldeo-EX: 65/35
    • This match is still extremely winnable, we can lock them out of the game with a timely Hex Maniac in conjunction with a knockout. Articuno can be annoying to deal with if they can flip the necessary number of heads to take two Prize knockouts. Hex Maniac will decide this match as it will prevent them from attacking for a turn.

  • Seismitoad-EX/Crobat: 55/45 (with Manectric-EX) or 65/35 (without Manectric-EX)
    • Not much is different about this match. We do have more Supporters in this version which should help us. Teammates is helpful against Seismitoad-EX decks when they take a KO. In many cases it can simply fetch us say, a Vespiquen and a Double Colorless Energy. We should then be able to score a KO and be in a favorable position to win.

  • Darkrai-EX/Dark Patch/Max Elixir: 40/60
    • Without Gallade, this is a lot more difficult. Darkrai-EX toting 220 HP is going to have to be two hit, until we are later in the game and can one shot it. They will most likely be able to spread damage effectively so that they can get ahead in the Prize trade by taking Bench KOs.

  • Eelektrik/Raikou: 40/60
    • This is a little harder since we do not have Garbodor. Hex Maniac can still do the job, but it will be much harder to not only repeatedly get attackers up, but lock our opponent out of Abilities. Sure, it can be done, it will just be more difficult, however.

  • Flareon/Vespiquen: 50/50
    • A mirror match, for this game we have Parallel City which can allow us to play Shaymin-EX when we want and then clear them from the board. This will provide us with a bit of a consistency boost which may be able to score a win. Other than that, this is simply a Prize trade. Flareon is super important to be able to Blacksmith to and keep attacking.

  • Garbodor/Sableye: 45/55
    • With this version we have a chance! The Life Dew/Puzzle of Time chain is still going to exist, but we now have Ghetsis to shuffle it away. This may force our opponent to miss a turn of attacking with Sableye and with that, we can start taking Prizes and moving along in the world. Sometimes Sableye decks have to Bench Pokémon-EX like Jirachi-EX and Shaymin-EX to set up, so it is possible to take six Prizes incorporating a strategy like this.

  • Genesect-EX/Virizion-EX: 80/20
    • Once again, Flareon is just gonna have a hayday. Grass Pokémon dislike the Fire type. We are not losing unless you draw poorly.

  • M Manectric-EX: 40/60
    • This is difficult if you play second. If you go first, you can go off with a bunch of Battle Compressors and hopefully swing for a 170 attack on a regular Manectric-EX. Once the Megas get partying, though, we are in for a tough time. Getting to the point of hitting for 210 means will have to shave off plenty of our attackers and we get stuck in a weird position where we want to keep up trading KOs but at the same time we do not want to lock ourselves out of a game. When we get to the point of taking a KO each turn, the game is over.

  • M Rayquaza-EX (Colorless): 60/40
    • Jolteon will get there. Remember Eevee is important to play down early so that they cannot target a lone Eevee with Lysandre and KO it. Once we have multiple Flareon and Vespiquen ready to attack in addition to our Jolteon, the game should be ours.

  • Night March: 45/55
    • Parallel City should help us out some in this matchup. We can get the consistency boost of playing Jirachi-EX and Shaymin-EX without the downside of our opponent scoring big KOs on them. This match is still in their favor due to the speedier nature of Night March.

  • Primal Groudon-EX/Wobbuffet: 50/50
    • Not much of this matchup changes between the two different decks. We need to be patient and let the Groudon come to us. Slowly set up our own field, abuse Sky Return and hold our precious Double Colorless Energy cards.

  • Trevenant BREAK: 30/70
    • This matchup gets a tad worse since we do not have the Garbodor option anymore. If we can go first and build a nice field of attackers while keeping our Bench small, this is still winnable, however.

  • Vespiquen/Vileplume: 50/50
    • Once again, it is a toss up. Heads or tails? If Vileplume goes first, they will likely win, although we still can manually pitch Pokémon with help from Professor Juniper/Sycamore.

Part Three: Vileplume

Open Thoughts

Back in December, Andrew Wamboldt shocked the room at the Romeoville, Illinois City Championship with his Vespiquen/Vileplume deck. I watched curiously as Wamboldt scored multiple wins within the first couple turns after achieving a turn one Vileplume and then dishing out attackers in the upper hundreds! This deck leapfrogged from his success to one of the better decks in the Standard Format come State Championships. The uncanny ability to not only lock an opponent out of a game, but also maintain a solid offensive attack is an unrivaled gameplan that no other deck in the history of the game has possessed.

In the Expanded format, the main thing that the deck gains is Mew-EX. Mew-EX allows us to attack with “more” Vespiquen than normal. The biggest problem and honestly just the way the deck plays, is that you get perhaps two attackers per game. Most decks can beat you if they can manage to KO two Vespiquen. Mew-EX gives us another attacker to fill that hole.

Less importantly, but still nifty, is the inclusion of Exeggcute from Plasma Freeze. The Egg makes Ultra Ball searches more manageable helps us keep more of our hand intact. For a deck that struggles to conserve precious resources like Double Colorless Energy in the early game, the Egg can help us to discard around the Energy and keep our hands intact.

Expanded has become home to crazy Item-based engines that can be and will be crippled by a turn one Vileplume. As a result, this deck still stands a chance to the competition. Below is a list utilizing Puzzle of Time.

Deck List

Matchups

For this deck since so much of the variance depends on if you go first or second, I will just discuss decks quickly in bullet points.

  • Accelgor/Wobbuffet is going to be difficult for sure if they open with a Wobbuffet, it really shuts this deck down.

  • Archeops/Yveltal-EX, just like anything packing Archeops, is going to be an automatic loss if they can get a turn one Archeops playing first before us.

  • Blastoise/Keldeo-EX can likely be won even if we go second, since even in the late game Item lock really gets at them.

  • Crobat/Seismitoad-EX doesn’t stand the greatest chance against us since they have Weakness to Grass, but at the same time they can drop a Silent Lab and hinder us if we do not have a Forest of Giant Plants.

  • Darkrai-EX/Dark Patch/Max Elixir is going to be a challenge if they play first since they can build a beefy Darkrai-EX and repeatedly KO our Vespiquen attackers.

  • Eelektrik/Raikou can be outsped if we play first, but if they go first they can get Assault Vests down to buy themselves turns and start attacking quickly for KOs.

  • Flareon/Vespiquen was discussed earlier in our matchup breakdown, but going first will be extremely advantageous for us.

  • Garbodor/Sableye is next to an autowin if we play first and get the turn one Vileplume. If they go second and get a Trubbish with Float Stone, our Lysandre is going to have to target that very Pokémon to ensure that Garbodor does not screw up our plans.

  • Genesect-EX/Virizion-EX could be somewhat difficult, they do not really need as many Items as most decks. Genesect-EX one hit KOs Vespiquens, so there pressure will be there to take a KO on a potentially 210 HP EX with a Fighting Fury Belt. It may be wise to just forgo Vileplume altogether and opt to discard it with Battle Compressor to add to our damage output.

  • M Manectric-EX is tough. The 210 HP and ability to constantly make new fully powered attackers is quite strong against a fragile deck. Playing first you might be able to steal a quick win by locking them out of Items. If they go first, once again, it may be wise to just discard the Vileplume in exchange for more damage.

  • M Rayquaza-EX (Colorless) is one of the most difficult matches for this deck. They play one or more copies of Hex Maniac, so they can still set up through Item lock. M Rayquaza is super hard to KO when it comes in with 220 HP. They can quickly roll your board if you are not ready.

  • Night March is a bit similar to the Flareon/Vespiquen matchup, where depending on their list, they can still build a formidable offensive without the use of Item cards. Generally, though, most Night March decks are super Item reliant and will be crippled by Vileplume, allowing for an easy victory.

  • Primal Groudon-EX/Wobbuffet has, y'know, Wobbuffet, so if they start with him you are going to be in a world of hurt. They can still play down Focus Sash and avoid ever getting one-hit KO'd since Wobb also stops Vileplume. This is probably going to be a loss regardless of what happens.

  • Trevenant BREAK, a battle of the turn one Item lock decks! Whoever goes first will probably come out on top. Silent Fear can also quickly spread enough damage to take a quick win. Watch out for Trev.

  • Vespiquen/Vileplume in the mirror is just a mess. Whoever goes first and successfully gets the lock is going to take the victory. Not much to really discuss here.

Part Four: Zoroark BREAK

Open Thoughts

Flareon/Vespiquen can have some difficulty with Trevenant BREAK, well not just any difficulty, it is probably its worst matchup, by far! What is a good counter to Trevenant BREAK? Think Weakness, Zoroark! To make this fit, we have to swap out Flareon for a Zoroark BREAK line. This does a few things for us.

Against M Rayquaza-EX (Colorless), we still manage to keep a decent matchup. M Ray fills their Bench easily and Zoroark punishes anyone that plays down too many Pokémon. The BREAK can also be used to score a KO by copying Emerald Break and even the Black & White Zoroark can use its own Foul Play to do the same! Towards the end of the game, Vespiquen should be able to take a knockout on opposing M Rayquaza-EX alone.

Trevenant BREAK can easily be one hit KO'd with Zoroark as well. Most Trevenant decks require a bit of setup, using Jirachi-EX or Shaymin-EX and of course, they are going to want at least one follow-up Phantump and/or Trevenant on the Bench for when the Active one hits the Discard. Darkness type is a huge problem for Trevenant BREAK decks and Zoroark proves greatly useful to take advantage of this Weakness. Later in the game after you have played a Professor Sycamore or two and used multiple Unowns, Vespiquen can deal damage in the knockout range. If Trevenant manages to play first and get the turn one Wally Evolution, this match can still be extremely difficult, it just depends on your own starting hand strength.

Flareon is used in many Vespiquen decks as an out to Giratina-EX’s Chaos Wheel attack, which stops play of Special Energy, namely Double Colorless Energy in this case. Zoroark BREAK is insane against Giratina-EX, giving them a taste of their own medicine in combination with Xerosic. We can copy Chaos Wheel with Foul Play to deal 100 damage as well as discard their own Special Energy with Xerosic and then lock them out of playing a subsequent Energy! This locks them out of attacking and you should be able to coast to victory.

I played Vespiquen/Zoroark BREAK to a Top Four finish at a State Championship back in March and the deck played very well for me. It was relatively consistent and provided ways to win in almost any matchup. Cutting Flareon may seem irrational, but I would advise to play around with the provided list to make sure you know how good Zoroark and the BREAK can be first.

Deck List

Matchups 

  • Accelgor/Wobbuffet: 60/40
    • Finally, this version of Vespiquen can beat this pesky deck! Zoroark can use its Stand In Ability to get rid of the Paralysis effect and go to town on whatever wall the Accelgor player sends up. 

  • Archeops/Yveltal-EX: 40/60 (with Silent Lab) or 60/40 (without Silent Lab)
    • As always, Silent Lab shuts off Wobbuffet making it so that we cannot Bide Barricade Evolve. Thankfully, we play two copies of Tropical Beach, so it will still be possible to get around that. Once the Evolution dance is ready to begin, we can start taking KOs and trading Prizes. Per usual, when they do not play Lab, it is much, much more easy.

  • Blastoise/Keldeo-EX: 65/35
    • This match is still very favorable for us. Vespiquen still punishes Keldeo-EXs for two Prizes, so the trade should still be in our favor. Hex Maniac seals the deal.

  • Seismitoad-EX/Crobat: 55/45 (with Manectric-EX) or 65/35 (without Manectric-EX)
    • As always, Vespiquen plays a huge roll in this match. Our addition of Zoroark may prove to be useful as well, most Crobat decks have to fill their Bench to make Crobat relevant and useful. Once Vespiquen is rolling the game is your’s for the taking.

  • Darkrai-EX/Dark Patch/Max Elixir: 35/65
    • This match is one of the ones that gets significantly worse do to the omission of Flareon and Gallade. Zoroark does not deal as much as Flareon so we have less powerful attackers. The Zoroark BREAK can kind of come in handy in avoiding a KO, but still might be one hit. This will be really tough to compete with their high HP Pokémon-EX.

  • Eelektrik/Raikou: 40/60
    • With Hex Maniac we can stand a chance, but this is still in their favor. It is hard to compete with trading KOs and still attempt to lock Abilities. Definitely winnable, but we will be at a disadvantage.

  • Flareon/Vespiquen: 50/50
    • Just another Prize trade mirror match. We will have to avoid Benching Shaymin-EX to stay in the game. The Zoroarks will both in most cases be able to reach a KO, so the trade-off there between Flareon in Zoroark will not be noticeable.

  • Garbodor/Sableye: 55/45
    • In this matchup, we have a really cool gimmick we can do: using Foul Play to copy Junk Hunt and getting our Float Stone (if it happened to be discarded) and Super Rod back.

  • Genesect-EX/Virizion-EX: 65/35
    • This matchup takes a bit of a hit due to the fact that we do not have Flareon anymore. However, we still have non-EX Pokémon and Genesect-EX/Virizion-EX is quite weak against those types of decks. Vespiquen can still pull its weight and swing for one hit KOs after the game progresses. Zoroark can still be used to two hit in most cases as well.

  • M Manectric-EX: 50/50
    • M Manec is kinda tricky without Flareon. The Zoroark with Foul Play and its BREAK counterpart can each hit Manec with its own attack for 110, leading to a two-hit KO barring any use of Rough Seas. Later in the game the hope is that Vespiquen can swing for one-hit KOs.

  • M Rayquaza-EX (Colorless): 60/40
    • Equipped with both Zoroarks and even the BREAK, we can constantly threaten one hit KOs provided our opponent plays down a Sky Field. Later in the game, Vespiquen can take out whatever is left for a win.

  • Night March: 45/55
    • This match can be slightly better since we have an Yveltal to attack with for one Energy. Back to before, this is just a back and forth trade. Night March will always have the on-paper advantage due to its Basic Pokémon nature.

  • Primal Groudon-EX/Wobbuffet: 60/40
    • In this match with Zoroark we bring some new tricks. Foul Play can be used to copy Gaia Volcano and hit Primal Groudon-EX for 200 damage. With a Silver Bangle, this number can reach 230. This can then be followed up with a Sky Return for a KO. Other than that, the same deal goes. Vespiquen is pretty good if we can manage our Energy drops in a constructive manner.

  • Trevenant BREAK: 55/45
    • Here is where our new and improved deck gets to shine. Trevenant’s attack can be copied by Zoroark’s Foul Play, that attack being Tree Slam. With this attack we can either KO a Trevenant in one hit, or smack the BREAK for a nice 120. This can be followed up by a couple Sky Returns for a KO, or simply another attack. Trevenant is always at a disadvantage to us if we play first so alternate win conditions exist as well.

  • Vespiquen/Vileplume: 55/45
    • Zoroark with Mind Jack can be good against Vespiquen/Vileplume even when we do not have Pokémon in the Discard. For this reason, this matchup is a bit better on paper. Of course, if we play first, that Mind Jack might not even be necessary.

CONCLUSION

Out of all the Vespiquen decks, I would highly recommend the standard, tried and true version being Flareon/Vespiquen with Parallel City. The deck’s matchups are very well rounded and it makes for a safe play at upcoming Regional Championships.

Well, that is all for today. I really hope you enjoyed reading this behemoth of an article and I hope you will pop in the next time I release more content. Good luck at Spring Regional Championships everyone!

-Caleb

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