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Caleb Gedemer

"Taking Down Night March" — Countering the Best Deck and More in the Standard Format

Let us update our notes on Night March and how it stands up against the rest of the field and then take a look at some greatly positioned counters to the dreaded best deck in the format.

08/15/2016 by Caleb Gedemer


Hey again readers, I am back again with another article which is sure to appeal to those playing in the upcoming World Championships of the Pokemon Trading Card Game. I have been rigorously testing decks for the past few decks, building most of the top contenders and trying to zone in on what people are likely to be considering.

The fact of the matter is, that going into Worlds, Night March will still remain the best deck, by far, honestly. It gains some key new partners in Steam Siege that are sure to buff out its ceiling for power even more, as if it was not good enough already.

I expect most players to turn to Night March as their deck of choice if they have not already and that counters to the deck will be the next most successful concept. Clearly, with this is mind, it is important to have the best looking Night March deck as possible and if not that, the best counter out there.



Bronzong BREAK (Slightly Favorable)
This matchup in a nutshell comes down to a few things on both sides which will determine the outcome of the game. The Bronzong BREAK player can get a quick Aegislash-EX with equipped with a Fighting Fury Belt to slow Night March to a halt while they dig for a Hex Maniac as well as a Startling Megaphone and of course the necessary number of Night March Pokemon needed for a knockout. This is pretty difficult to accomplish and allows for some extra time to set up.

Carbink BREAK (Slightly Favorable)

This matchup can depend quite a bit on the type of build we are facing, but Medicham as well as Vileplume variants can be tough. Not only can Medicham make use of Focus Sash to survive knockouts from Night March, but it’s Yoga Kick attack can disregard Resistance on Pumpkaboo and already knockout a Joltik. ‘cham has the Barrage Trait which allows it to attack twice and get ahead on Prizes by knocking out multiple Night March Pokemon in a single turn. The Vileplume version of this deck is more difficult because it will be a struggle to compete with the large HP of Zygarde-EX with Item lock.

Darkrai-EX/Giratina-EX (Favorable)

A once relatively unfavorable matchup is now very winnable with help from Pokemon Ranger. Ranger gets the all important Double Colorless Energy we need down into play. Giratina-EX is a huge investment for the Darkrai-EX/Giratina-EX player and once that bad boy is offline, the game is going to be a quick breeze through EX Pokemon to victory.

Greninja BREAK (Unfavorable)

Greninja BREAK stays fairly neutral with the new set’s release and maintains a strong Night March matchup. Although Jirachi with Stardust can still remove Double Colorless Energy, Pokemon Ranger can now knock out a Jirachi that had the fortune of stripping one of those resources off. ‘Ninja will still more than likely take enough Prizes off of Water Shuriken Abilities and get on top with a late game N, but Night March can still snag cheap wins.

M Manectric-EX (Highly Favorable)

Night March has always done well against this deck and will continue to with the new set coming out. Sometimes these decks included techs for Night March, but Pokemon Ranger is available to stop those counters in their tracks.
M Rayquaza-EX (Highly Favorable)

Another chip in win for the Marchers. M Ray really stands no chance and gets blown into oblivion with the non-EX power of Night March combined with its inherent Weakness to the Lightning type.

Night March (Even/Tips and Tricks)

In the mirror match we need to remember to make use of Shaymin-EX’s Sky Return at every moment possible. Avoiding the Benching of Shaymin-EX in general is a great idea to instill in the mind. Utilizing each Puzzle of Time piece carefully to ensure that there are enough Double Colorless Energy for the entire duration of the game is another necessity. Mapping out the Prize exchange is pretty neat so that we can figure out what needs to be done to sign the win on the match slip. Waiting for a moment to play a Target Whistle can get us ahead on Prizes. Teammates is incredibly important and it is often great to Battle Compressor it away early on to be able to fetch it with a VS Seeker to start a chain of the powerful Supporter card.

Seismitoad-EX/Giratina-EX (Slightly Favorable)

This deck can be manhandled if we manage to have a decent enough turn one where we can get enough Night March Pokemon to do some serious damage. From there, Pokemon Ranger can be utilized to take knockouts on pesky Giratina-EX and stop Item lock to keep digging against Seismitoad-EX.

Seismitoad-EX/Max Elixir (Favorable)

This matchup was already favorable prior to Pokemon Ranger, but now that Quaking Punch on ‘toad can be stopped to minimize its damage against a Night March deck makes for an even better matchup. Night March can now take a moment to catch up on Battle Compressor drops and things of that nature to make sure that the numbers fall correctly for knockouts.

Trevenant BREAK (Unfavorable)

This matchup is going to be unfavorable no matter how we look at it. Item lock combined with an insanely great attack against the low HP Pokemon of Night March is a deadly combination. The only path to victory in this one is potentially playing first and setting up a formidable board that can repeatedly one hit knockout Trevenant BREAKs and secondly hoping for the opponent to have a less than ideal start to optimize our chances of chaining knockouts and racing to victory.

Vileplume/Vespiquen (Slightly Unfavorable)

We say slightly unfavorable since if we go first, most times we will come out on top. Hex Maniac can be played turn one and render most of the draw power of the ‘plume decks useless right off the bat. If that does not happen, either way, a nice board can be established and VS Seekers can be prematurely played to recycle Supporters and prepare for a back and forth trade under Item lock.

Yveltal/Zoroark BREAK (Slightly Favorable)

This is a back and forth Prize exchange with primarily non-EX Pokemon. They will struggle to reach knockouts with Yveltal’s Oblivion Wing due to Fighting Fury Belt and then Zoroark will have to Evolve to even see the battlefield. Night March along with Puzzle of Time can continually promote attackers and take a knockout for each Energy in the deck.

New Techs 


This card comes in clutch in the mirror and also provides a different style of attacking gameplan for Night March. The deck can now bare to come close to a knockout and then finish the threat off later on with the Stage 1 spider. In addition, Shaymin-EXs are easily knocked out with just two attacks from Galvantula, due to the fact that it does apply Resistance and Weakness on the Bench.

Pokemon Ranger

The end all for Night March, the answer to nearly every problem. It is here and it is going to change the game. Night March’s dominance takes a new step now that it can disable crippling and powerful attacks such as Giratina-EX’s Chaos Wheel and Seismitoad-EX’s Quaking Punch.
Special Charge

This card replenishes Energy into a deck that needs them more than anything. With Puzzle of Time formerly fueling this Energy renewal, Special Charge can now supplement that stream of life and Puzzle of Times can now be used for more luxurious options that can lead to quicker wins.


My main piece of advice going for any competitors at the World Championships this year would to be playing Night March themselves, or beating it. Yes, normally this would give away some matchups that beat Night March counters, but this tournament will without a doubt be the most highly concentrated Marcher tournament ever.

Night March was too darn good before and with new releases, dare I say it, ten times better? Most of its problems are gone and mainly Trevenant BREAK decks as well as Vileplume decks stand in its way. These decks are problematic for most competitive decks in general when they achieve the optimal setup, not just Night March, so it is more easy to sacrifice one or two bad matchups like this.

Anyways, like I stated earlier, it is best advised to be playing the dreaded Night March or one of the following decks. These decks are considered to have positive Night March matches and do well against most other decks, if as a player you happen to play against something other than the March (hopefully this does happen).

Trevenant BREAK

Trevenant BREAK pairs up to Night March very well. Not only is the turn one Item lock basically enough to finish it right away, but even when that turn one lock is not established, Item lock along with the BREAK’s Silent Fear spread damage is enough to knock out a Joltik in one hit (without Fighting Fury Belt) and two shot a Pumpkaboo (without Fighting Fury Belt).

Night March even in an ideal situation has to Discard eight total Night March Pokemon to be able to knock out a Trevenant BREAK in one attack. This being said, there will be only four left in play, unless some are Prized. So, as long as a Trevenant BREAK can knock out three of them (one is likely to be knocked out at the same time as the other ones) the Trev’ player will likely shut the Night March player out of even attacking for the rest of the game.

Shaymin-EX Sky Return loops are a strategy a Night March player may try to combat Trevenant BREAK decks, but unfortunately, Head Ringers are usually played to counteract this. Trevenant makes for a very strong play all around since its worst matchup of Darkrai-EX/Giratina-EX gets significantly weakened with the release of Pokemon Ranger and should not be all that popular at Worlds.


This is a neat deck that a player used to make the second day of play at the United States National Championship. They incorporated Glaceon-EX and Jolteon-EX in the same deck to have answers to decks that their counterpart did not take down. Vespiquen was also included to punish big attackers and close out games.

This archetype is still strong against Night March because even if they play Pokemon Ranger, with Vileplume being out in play, they are either unlikely to ever draw the card, or even if they do they only get one use of it in most cases, due to no VS Seekers available to be played.

This deck stands up to most of the rest of the metagame, having good matchups against Evolution attacking decks and other Basic decks. Vespiquen is just a strong attacker alone and can steal games all by itself, but with partners that are nearly as powerful, this deck makes for a solid counter to nearly anything.


One of the original counters to Night March, at least in the fact that that was what it was intended to do, is still a great deck in its own regard. Getting a Vileplume into play on the first turn and having powerful Vespiquens to attack with can swamp over pretty much anything, especially Night March.

Battle Compressoring away useless pieces of the Vileplume line prior to it Evolving adds lots and lots of damage to the Bee Revenge total. Against Night March, Vespiquens can trade super easily with Night Marchers and Shaymin-EX will even play a big role too. Since Pumpkaboo cannot attack without Dimension Valley or two Double Colorless Energy, it is quite feasible that the opponent will stick to Joltik instead. Since they are Item locked, Fighting Fury Belt cannot be attached and Sky Return will put in lots of work.

Item lock has always been Night March’s biggest pitfall and this Item lock deck has the best chance of achieving the lock in the early turns, specifically turn one. It is my personal favorite counter to the dreaded March of the Night.


Hopefully we have all been overlooking something that will beat out Night March at the World Championships, but as of now, all signs point to yes when it comes to the halloween critters taking down another big tournament. Is this bad for the health of the game? Yes, pretty much, but thankfully the rotation will be hitting right after Worlds and it will be on to the next format. Good luck at any future tournaments everyone, thanks for reading!

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