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Caleb Gedemer

"Time to Don the 'don" — Primal Groudon-EX in the Expanded Format

Caleb Gedemer analyzes Primal Groudon for the Black & White - Generations format.

05/18/2016 by Caleb Gedemer

INTRODUCTION

Hello everyone, today we will be talking about a deck that is making a big comeback, Primal Groudon-EX. This article will include some general gameplay and thoughts on the deck, followed by a very capable deck list and a matchup breakdown! Enjoy!

Primal Groudon-EX/Wobbuffet

Open Thoughts

The big boy is back. Primal Groudon-EX is really good right now! With so much of the Expanded format relying on Shaymin-EX and its Set Up Ability to get going, the ‘don gets forever in a day to set itself up and then go to town.

After playing this deck quite a bit in preparation for Spring Regional Championships, I have found that this deck is so incredibly intricate to play, contrary to what most people think. You really, really need to stave off the urge to get in there attacking right away. I personally feel like this is so much harder to do now with the name of the game being speed, speed, speed. Not only is it easy to misplay as the pilot of the deck, it is so simple to mess up on the receiving end as an opponent to Primal Groudon-EX. Flying through your deck is something you need to avoid. Recently, I watched a Crobat/Raichu player face off against Groudon. In this match, he hurried through his deck, playing Stadiums when he probably should not have and investing Double Colorless Energy when and where they were not needed. Most Groudon decks are playing one or more copies of Enhanced Hammer to buy themselves more time to set up and to play a different style of game. While playing the mountain man, it is entirely possible to deck opponents out by targeting the Energy that they give you (Enhanced Hammer targets) and then following that defense mechanism up with targeted attacks with Gaia Volcano on Energy-specific attackers, removing all their threats from play.

To avoid falling into Groudon’s trap, a player needs to be mindful of where their Energy should be going and to have a good idea of when they should play one. For instance, using that Crobat/Raichu example, we should just be playing down two Raichu and as many ‘bat lines as possible. Yes, Groudon can still N us, but for the time being, we can abuse their Tropical Beach and wait for the right time to strike. As long as we do not play too many Professor Juniper/Sycamore, our deck sizes should be about the same, so there is no need to pressure them by attacking into a Wobbuffet or anything like that. Just be patient, wait. The Primal will eventually be forced to attack.

Provided is Michael Canaves' Top Four deck list from Florida Regionals during Winter Regional Championships.

Deck List

Matchups

  • Accelgor/Wobbuffet: 30/70
    • This is tough! Accelgor hits us for Weakness, and Vespiquen can finish the game with the Weakness option as well. We play limited switching cards to get out of Paralysis, so the possibility to just get swept by a single Accelgor is presentable. Pokémon Center Lady can help our deck to keep chugging along and taking KOs. That is generally the way you will have to win.

  • Archeops/Yveltal-EX: 40/60 (with Silent Lab) or 65/35 (without Silent Lab)
    • At first glance Archeops might seem bothersome to stop Primal Groudon-EX from Evolving, but on second glance, remember, we play Wobbuffet. This matchup really depends on the opponent’s deck list. An Yveltal-EX build packing Silent Lab can shut off Mr. Mime on our Bench and allow Fright Night Yveltal’s Pitch-Black Spear attack to deal 60 damage to Benched Groudon. This definitely can swing the board in Yveltal-EX’s favor. In contrast, a version without Silent Lab will struggle to ever take a knockout and you should win handily.

  • Blastoise/Keldeo-EX: 70/30
    • Archie’s Blastoise decks have always struggled to set up under Wobbuffet lock. Groudon is probably the worst deck for a Blastoise deck to be facing with that very lock. Not only will Wobb stop them from setting up, but Focus Sash on a Primal Groudon-EX should guarantee you two EX knockouts if you play your cards right. If two Primal Groudon-EX ever hit the field with the necessary Energy, the game is over.

  • Crobat/Seismitoad-EX: 60/40 (with Manectric-EX) or 65/35 (without Manectric-EX)
    • Seismitoad-EX has always been at a disadvantage against Groudon decks. This is no different. Although ‘bat droppings can hit your Bench, the damage never quite gets as far as it needs to. A timely Grenade Hammer may throw you for a loop, but if our opponent ever does that we will have access to Items, most notably Mega Turbo to get moving on another ‘don. If the Crobat/Seismitoad-EX player decides to run Manectric-EX, this could be a little different. Their Head Ringers can still be placed through Omega Barrier, so Assault Laser can start hitting important numbers. However, Manec gets obliterated by Fighting Pokémon, which Groudon just so happens to be.

  • Darkrai-EX/Dark Patch/Max Elixir: 80/20
    • Turbo Darkrai-EX is a pretty short and sweet match...well, maybe not short. Groudon takes a bit to set up. Anyways, if we can just get two ‘dons online, the KOs will be back to back to back. Darkrai-EX needs to get all (generally which is ten) Darkness Energy in play to even threaten a one hit KO, and at that, they still need a Muscle Band, which some versions do not even include! The Fighting Weakness is much too much to overcome.

  • Eelektrik/Raikou: 65/35
    • Raikou, like Darkrai-EX, suffers from a Weakness plight to the Fighting type. Also, Wobbuffet stops Eelektrik from using its Ability and accelerating Raikous quickly. This will grant our Groudon deck more than enough time to get up to speed get two running. Once available, two Primal Groudon-EXs will be more than enough to handle a swarm of Raikous as well as an occasional Lugia-EX or Mewtwo-EX.

  • Flareon/Vespiquen: 50/50
    • One might think this is an awful matchup on paper, but it really comes down to the opponent. Earlier when I spoke of conserving Energy wisely this is exactly what I was talking about. Depending on how our opponent reacts, they might blaze right through their deck, not keeping in mind the omnipresent possibility of being punished by Enhanced Hammer and Xerosic drops. Once their board is weakened by these powerful Item and Supporter cards, we can jaunt in with a Primal Groudon-EX equipped with Focus Sash to score KOs on Pokémon carrying precious Energy cards. If we can manage to remove the Energy in time without them taking all their Prizes, the game is ours for the taking.

  • Garbodor/Sableye: 35/65
    • Now this is a deck that has not been seeing much play so I try not to worry about it all too much. But, unfortunately for us, this can be a really tough one. If we ever open with something other than Groudon-EX, that Pokémon will automatically become a target for getting locked in the Active position. Even if we do open with Groudon-EX, the use of Target Whistle can bring an unfavorable Pokémon from the discard onto our Bench, followed by being dragged into the Active with a Lysandre or Pokémon Catcher. Now you might ask “What if I avoid discarding a Basic Pokémon with Professor Juniper/Sycamore or Ultra Ball?” Trick Shovel can still screw up your plans that way. Basically, a Primal Groudon-EX with Omega Barrier can spell trouble for Sableye if you ever get going and avoid getting trapped. Life Dew can still run you over, though. A Sableye player may also resort to using Confuse Ray to make you flip when you attack if the going gets rough. This is definitely a winnable match, but might be an uphill battle.

  • Genesect-EX/Virizion-EX: 55/45
    • Starting with Wobbuffet prevents the Genesect-EX/Virizion-EX playing from using Red Signal, so you have all the time you need to get two Groudons chugging. When you get your Focus Sashes down, they will not be able to take one hit knockouts on those very ‘dons. Megalo Cannon can hit the Bench to break a Focus Sash, but Pokémon Center Lady and Super Potion will come in handy to reset our damage! This way, we can reliably take six easy Prizes off of three Pokémon-EX.

  • M Rayquaza-EX (Colorless) 45/55 (with Carnivine) 65/35 (without Carnivine)
    • Once again, Wobbuffet really hinders their entire deck. M Ray really relies on using Shaymin-EX to get going, so we get that extra time we need to set up. Primal Groudon-EX can take one hit KOs on Rays once we are ready to start attacking. Focus Sash prevents Groudon from being one hit in return. This helps us set the pace and we should win the trade. Now, some M Ray players have begun teching Carnivine from Dark Explorers to attempt to drag Groudons up before they are ready and break their Focus Sashes. There is a way you can combat this, though. A Groudon can get the Float Stone, so then we can Retreat for free each turn. We then sit back a few turns and let the Poison damage add up to roughly 60. A Pokémon Center Lady or Super Potion can then be used to get us back to full HP. Now, this is kinda tricky, but we can Xerosic our own Float Stone, attach a Focus Sash and then KO the Carnivine. This probably is not going to happen every game, but it is your out to when they use the little flytrap. This match is going to be really tough if they tech for Groudon.

  • Night March: 30/70
    • Night March can really go a variety of ways. If they get off to a hot start, the pressure comes fast and our Groudon-EX might start to fall quicker than desired. Our Energy disruption cards are going to be huge in this match. Xerosic and Enhanced Hammer can remove most of their Energy while we sit behind Wobbuffets and Robo Substitute. Focus Sash can get our Groudons to survive more than one hit if the Night March player ever managed to threaten a one hit knockout. Basically, we will have to focus all of our attention on running them dry on Energy to stand a chance. This will not be a game one on Prizes. Wobbuffet can slow them down a tad, but most games you will simply be blown out as NM just takes Prize after Prize each turn until your Primal Groudon-EX is forced into the Active position and hit with a huge attack.

  • Primal Groudon-EX/Wobbuffet: 50/50
    • The mirror match is tricky, there are a few tricks to it, however. Getting Focus Sashes on our Groudons is first and foremost important. This will be a slow grind of powering up two Primal Groudon-EX first. If we ever miss an Energy attachment, that could be the game right there. Each time we attempt to attack for a knockout, it will likely have to be two swings. Our opponent’s own Focus Sashes will get in the way. Prizes will be the last of our worries as we just try to take down our opponent’s Groudons first. The game will almost always be won by the first Groudon attacking, but late game Ace Trainers or Ns can be devastating if one player draws a Stadium and the other does not.

  • Trevenant BREAK: 30/70
    • This match is really tough. Our deck does not really play anything that can retreat at ease or threaten a quick attack. We take time to set up and rely on playing Items to thin our hand out and draw more cards with Tropical Beach. Trevenant Break’s Silent Fear attack can reach our Primal Groudon-EXs on the Bench very quickly and efficiently. Our Pokémon Center Lady and Hex Maniac plus Super Potion combo can heal up Groudons and alleviate a bit of the pressure. We want to avoid playing more than one Groudon-EX down at a time, since it makes no sense to do so. They will all be KOed at some point with Silent Fear. In a perfect scenario, we start with Wobbuffet, take four turns of Silent Fear damage and then go in with a Primal Groudon-EX to take some KOs. The only problem with this is without the necessary healing, Trevenant BREAK’s own Wobbuffet can swing for a KO on our Groudons. This match is pretty straightforward and there is not much that can be done.

  • Vespiquen/Vileplume: 60/40
    • Starting with a Wobbuffet can really screw up their plans, given that their deck relies so heavily on use of Shaymin-EX. This can give us the time we need to play down Focus Sashes on Primal Groudon-EXs and take a few hits from opposing Vespiquens. Also, not to mention, Wobbuffet shuts down Vileplume so we are free to play Item cards! Our Enhanced Hammers can come in handy to run them low on Energy before we come in swinging for KOs with Primal Groudon. This match should be pretty simple provided with start Wobbuffet. Now, in the case we do not, they can go off and trap us with use of Vileplume if we started say, Groudon-EX. Then they have the ability to just take a Prize each turn and win the game very quickly. This comes down to a bit of luck, but our starting odds with Wobbuffet are better than those of starting Groudon-EX.

CONCLUSION

Primal Groudon-EX/Wobbuffet totes an impressive resume of matchups as well as just being a very strong deck to begin with. The combination of these two makes for a very safe play for Spring Regional Championships.

That is all for today! Good luck at Spring Regional Championships everyone!

-Caleb

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