"Pop the Trunk" - A Planter's Guide to Trevenant
Having trouble growing your garden? Trevenants need lots of love — learn how to nurture yours today!
10/22/2018 by Jay Lesage
Good evening, 60Cards Readers! It’s getting pretty late in October, and we’re slowly inching closer to my personal favourite holiday — Halloween. It’s a time for candy, costumes, and celebration — but most importantly, it’s about to get scary. We’re approaching the Portland Regional Championships, where it’s in the Expanded format. My personal goal as of late has been to deliver articles to take players (especially the newer ones who are attending) out of the shadows, and show everybody once and for all that with a little bit of research, Expanded isn’t THAT scary….. you know, unless you’re unprepared. If you haven’t subscribed to 60Cards yet, I would soon, because otherwise you’ll be in for a trick (and a nasty treat) at your upcoming Regionals! For those of you on the fence, follow up on some of these exciting new articles on the site, and let the content be the judge. Speaking of spookiness, my last article detailed a little introduction into Expanded, followed by a Sableye/Garbodor list towards the end of the article. This time around, I wanted to dive a little deeper into Expanded, and showcase a deck that got a new ace up its sleeve — Trevenant.
Trevenant was born back during ‘16 Florida Regionals, when Travis Nunlist and Aaron Tarbell took the unforeseen deck to a first place finish — it managed to beat out the entire format, even barring the Dark-type attackers that were present that day. It notably took down the Primal Groudon matchup in the finals, and with relative ease, may I add! Flash forward a year; it has seen numerous high showings in combination with consistency cards such as Mysterious Treasure, and new tech cards like Necrozma-GX for its spread-based Black Ray GX. In today’s day and age, it has some interesting new barriers and boosts: Wally has just been banned from the Expanded format, Hex Maniac has just been banned from the Expanded format, and Tapu Lele (Promo) has just been released. It’s been a good exchange for Trevenant, and we’re going to chop down on some myths about this deck being “bad” since Wally is no longer around. Let’s hop to it.
As of this season, Wally and Hex Maniac have been banned from the Expanded format. The following statement was made by Pokémon about the ban:
"Wally enables a combo with Trevenant that creates similar (turn one) problems (as Vileplume), so it falls into (the same) category as (Forest of Giant Plants). Without these cards in the environment, hopefully gameplay will become more enjoyable."
Wally was most likely a card that was banned as an after-thought to Hex Maniac being banned, largely due to the fact that Hex Maniac was one of the common solutions to Trevenant’s Forest Curse ability. Besides Guzma, Hex was the only real “out” to being able to use Item cards once again. Now that Hex has been banned, Trevenant gets increasingly stronger, so they had to balance it out a little bit. I’m completely fine though with the opponent getting one turn of Items, as it is eerily similar to Seismitoad-EX in operation. Your deck becomes less “turbo” based, and more focused around the longevity of the whole game (which is actually much stronger than previous Trevenant concepts). You’ll see in the list we now feature more disruptive cards than before in order to capitalize on that one turn of Item-lock that we “lost” (due to the inability of using Wally anymore). Hex Maniac being gone now reinforces Forest’s Curse as an even stronger ability, and allows us to use abilities at any turn of the game.
Lastly, Tapu Lele Promo has to be the juiciest 1-of copy in the entire deck! This card has been aching to see play since its release, and its gameplay time in Standard has been enormous alongside Tapu Koko and Weavile. In Expanded, its new partner, Trevenant, is able to do such a good job of spreading damage around the field while locking down our opponent it is just unbelievable. If your opponent is setting up a big boy on the bench? You can now just Magical Swap to target down that single Pokémon. Don’t want to KO some Pokémon on your opponent’s side? Utilize Magical Swap to keep your opponent and five benched Pokémon, and pile on the damage. This is the card this deck was specifically missing, and it can abuse Dimension Valley as well, tying in the synergy to this already synergetic deck.
- 4x Phantump
- 4x Trevenant
- 3x Trevenant BREAK
- 2x Tapu Lele GX
- 1x Espeon EX
- 1x Tapu Lele
- 2x N-supporter
- 4x Cynthia
- 4x VS Seeker
- 4x Ultra Ball
- 4x Mysterious Treasure
- 4x Enhanced Hammer
- 3x Counter Catcher
- 1x Super Rod
- 1x Computer Search
- 3x Rescue Scarf
- 4x Dimension Valley
- 2x Professor Sycamore
- 1x Xerosic
- 4x Psychic Energy
- 4x Mystery Energy
This list is based around pure consistency, maxing out multiple copies of 4-ofs and is crafted in order to preserve resources, all the while being able to spawn as many Trevenant as necessary as early as turn two. There are certain counts in this list that are untouchable, and others that are just being trialled (such as three Counter Catcher), but overall this list has been testing formidably and I’m enjoying it very much so.
The main strategy of this list is one that is simple, tried, and true: use Trevenant’s Forest’s Curse ability in order to place the opponent underneath an Item-lock. From there, utilizing your disruption cards, keep your opponent’s attackers at bay, and spread damage all across the board using Trevenant BREAK’s Silent Fear attack. Situationally, use Trevenant’s Tree Slam attack whenever you need to expedite the removal of a threat from the opponent’s board. Tapu Lele Promo serves as a nice backup to win a game promptly on a quicker route, or in order to target/preserve certain Pokémon on the opponent’s board. This is a fairly easy deck to pilot, and can be given to beignners to play, or expertly timed by a veteran at any Expanded tournament — it’s always a fan favourite.
Here are the Pokémon that are featured in the deck. Let's go through them one by one.
This is the best given Phantump because it is so important to utilize Acension on our first turn. It helps us to establish Item-lock, setup more attackers, gain more HP in order to survive, and this basic is Psychic! This means we can search it out via Mysterious Treasure. This is our most optimal starter in every game!
This is an important count as well because we don’t want to have a vulnerable Phantump on the field. Whenever we can, we always want to evolve them on our bench to prevent our opponent from using Guzma on a target, and then getting a turn of Items! If we can ever create a field of just Trevenant, that is our goal.
3 Trevenant BREAK
The ideal count, as we can always recycle these with Rescue Scarf! Trevenant BREAK is able to spread all over our opponent’s entire field, and do it for the cost of a single Psychic Energy (with the aid of Dimension Valley). Keep in mind though — if you don’t need to BREAK evolve in a game, then don’t: by BREAK evolving, you’re opening yourself up to your opponent playing down a Giratina Promo, and allowing them to play Items! Keep your guard up, and keep this guy in your hand for when you need him the most.
Espeon-EX is just a flash-in-the-pan finisher for when you’re playing against a deck like Zoroark-GX, and want to pop-off their highest stage of Pokémon. You can really only use this to finish off a game, or to sweep your opponent’s field of attackers in one foul swoop. Espeon-EX is a card I’ve considered cutting from the deck in order to put in more consistency, but with four Mystery Energy and a bunch of search cards, you’re never not going to be able to move this from the active position, or get it into the active position. In short, this card is just universally good in Expanded where there are tons of evolution Pokémon.
1 Tapu Lele Promo
As mentioned before, this card has the perk of being able to move damage anywhere you like on your opponent’s field. Wherever the damage is placed, it can be swapped around! This fantastic addition to the deck allows for us to make interesting plays, such as targeting down specific threats (such as Giratina), or perhaps even preserving your opponent’s bench from being KO’d in order to continue spreading damage to all Pokémon in play. It is also one of two of the only Pokémon in the deck that can attack a Latias-EX, with the other being Espeon-EX.
4 Dimension Valley
I see some lists using copies of cards like Silent Lab, or some that I’m sure will include Shrine of Punishment, but one of the key things about Trevenant is that we want to keep the pressure on the opponent. Without pressure, it’ll allow our opponent the time they so desperately need in order to setup and eventually win the game. While it can be frustrating to restrict ourselves to a single Stadium card, we’ll always have it when we need it. We also play four to replace pesky Stadiums such as Rough Seas (which can heal our spread damage off very easily), and Tropical Beach (which can help our opponent when they are struggling to set up).
3 Rescue Scarf
Rescue Scarf is very reminiscent of those times when I used to play Greninja — I’d attach a Splash Energy, get KO’d, and then return the Pokémon into my hand. Much like Greninja, we carry a very similar principle: we must continue to stream Trevenant, and promote them into the active spot. The longer we can stream Trevenant/preserve them, the longer the Item-lock will last, and hopefully that’s all game! This is a fantastic Pokémon Tool considering we don’t need Choice Band (we’re dealing with damage counters primarily, not damage).
4 Enhanced Hammer
This is one of the few ways we’re able to consistently deny our opponent Prize Cards; it’s difficult to find Energy cards underneath Item-lock. This specifically applies to Zoroark decks, when they primarily play Double Colourless Energy in a four count — if we can discard a couple of those with Enhanced Hammer, we’ve pretty much won the game. It’s increasingly difficult for Zoroark players to recover Energy, because they need to utilize Item cards such as Special Charge to do so. Because we’ll always have Forest’s Curse in the active position, our opponent won’t have many chances to play Special Charge, if any chance at all. Enhanced Hammer also helps against Buzzwole decks with Strong Energy, or really any random deck with Special Energy (ex. Greninja with Splash Energy). Like I said earlier — the longer our Trevenant’s can live, the better. We aren’t taking OHKO’s, so our opponent’s attackers will always live turn after turn. It’s our job to disrupt them as much as possible, since it’ll take quite a few turns to take them down.
3 Counter Catcher
This is the same premise as Enhanced Hammer — we want to disrupt our opponent while they’re under Item-lock so we can get as many Silent Fears in as possible. Since we’re almost always going to be behind in Prize Cards since we’re spreading damage rather than taking KO’s, Counter Catcher will always be live within the deck past the first few turns. All you have to do is bring up one big guy, strand him there, and wait while your opponent struggles to find themselves a Guzma.
This is a juicy disruptive card that’s multi-purposed — for one, it can help to remove a Special Energy fromeither side of the board. This would usually be something reserved for the job of an Enhanced Hammer, however this card is a Supporter so it is recyclable via VS Seeker (this is extremely important, otherwise we probably wouldn’t play this card). That also means that it is a searchable card via Tapu Lele-GX’s Wonder Tag ability (equally very important). Lastly, it can remove Pokémon Tools from either side of the board. The main scenario we’re looking to capitalize on is when our opponent is playing Garbodor, because if Garbotoxin comes into play, then we’re, well…S C R E W E D! Getting rid of that Pokémon Tool off of a Garbodor is vital in that matchup, and has fringe uses in other ways (ex. using Counter Catcher on a Diancie Prism with a Float Stone, and then using Xerosic to discard Float Stone). You can even remove your own Special Energy in order to get around things like Xurkitree-GX’s Flash Head ability.
4 Cynthia / 2 N / 2 Professor Juniper
This is an interesting Supporter split, and I based this off of previously successful Trevenant lists. My ultimate goal with this Supporter split was to preserve the amount of resources being used in the deck, namely by shuffling them back into the deck rather than discarding them. Professor Juniper is extremely important as a Supporter option, but I wanted to avoid situations where I would discard important cards in specific matchups in order to retain my pace. One of my first experiences playing in the Expanded format with Trevenant involved me discarding three Dimension Valley on the first turn with a Juniper because I had no choice — I was going up against a Water-type deck using Rough Seas to heal (I didn’t know this at the time I played the Juniper). Needless to say, I lost pretty quickly, and the point is, I don’t want that to happen to you. This is the ideal Supporter count as far as I’m concerned!
4 Mystery Energy
These are used in order to retreat a Trevenant for “free” into something like a Tapu Lele, or something like an Espeon-EX. They save up space in our list, because otherwise we’d need to play something like a Guzma or a few copies of Float Stone. Our entire deck is Psychic-type, and we void off Enhanced Hammer from being played, so why not maximize this count? This card is pretty niche, but trust me, when it works it works!
Most of your matchups play out the same. Against traditionally slower decks you can overwhelm them quickly, even if they’re playing a card like Garbodor which is difficult to deal with. Your raw disruption gives you great opportunities to spread damage and go from there. Against Pokémon-EX/GX-based decks you are almost always favored because we play primarily 1-Prize Pokémon.
Item-based decks such as Night March are our easiest matchups, or decks that poke for small amounts of damage (ex. Seismitoad/Garbodor or Buzzwole/Garbodor). Decks that are Mill-based are notoriously tough for us, most notably Wailord due to their high-HP and disruption options. Malamar is going to be very simple because all of their Malamar have 90HP — that means three Silent Fears will sweep their main engine. BuzzRoc decks prove to be difficult at times because they have a non-Guzma way of dealing with our Item-lock, but they also have high-retreat Pokémon for us to Counter Catcher, Strong Energy to Enhanced Hammer off, and we also possess Resistance to their whole deck. Whenever in trouble, just keep Item-lock as your priority and keep Trev’ing onward!
Archie’s Blastoise – Slightly Unfavourable
Buzzwole/Lycanroc – Slightly Favourable
Night March – Favourable
Buzzwole/Garbodor – Favourable
Garbodor/Drampa – Even
Malamar – Very Favourable
Wailord – Slightly Unfavourable
Seismitoad/Garbodor – Very Favourable
Zoroark-GX – Slightly Favourable
Trevenant at a glance is at the highest position in the metagame it’s been in a long time. Just looking at the deck right now as is, it’s crazy how many decks just lose to it because they can’t keep up with the Item-lock, or the Prize Trade that they’re up against. It has phenomenal typing in the current metagame, and since every deck plays Items, it’ll always have a fair chance of taking down any game. Since Hex Maniac is out of the way, there’s limited ways to deal with this deck (barring Guzma), and it should be at the tippity-top of the Tier 1 decks.
I hope I didn’t scare you too much with this article — the thought of not being able to play your Item cards can be quite scary, but do you know what’s scarier? You being the pilot behind the deck. There’s only two weeks before the Portland Regional Championships, and two more before Halloween! It’s an exciting time of year, and I couldn’t be any more excited to go and venture the West Coast during Fall — a time I typically would never be there during. Thank you for reading my article today, and I hope you enjoyed it! Now if you don’t mind me, I’m off to the nearest Wal-Mart to go stock up on some Halloween candy, sit back, and crush my opponents on PTCGO. I’ll see you all in my next article, and as always, get lucky, and run hot!
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02/22/2019 by Jose Marrero // Jose goes over his outstanding Top 4 finish at this past Oceania International Championships. (+36)