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Kevin Kobayashi

A Look at Manectric/Crobat

Aggression and perfect calculation is going to cause issues for most opponents...

01/16/2016 by Kevin Kobayashi

A few weeks ago, when I wrote the article on Seismitoad, my mindset on winning was so obsessed with locking the opponent out of the game. While locking is fantastic, if you do not win the game then the lock becomes irrelevant. I am saying this because I have shifted focus towards a new style of play. If I had to classify my playstyle then I’ve always considered myself a control player, I prefer to take dominance over the board as soon as I can and never really consider strong aggro cards to have that same sense of security that Seismitoad-EX’s Quaking Punch offers. I pondered on why I enjoyed playing Seismitoad-EX. The deck functioned so well and felt very consistent, had a great engine and pressure began immediately after the first Quaking Punch. I wanted to lock down my opponent in another way, though. I wanted to cause havoc in their setup, putting them into awkward positions and forcing suboptimal play. I imagined spread damage and big hitters, playing a fast paced game from the first turn, and leaving my opponents in the dust.

When constructing a new deck, I envisioned a Basic Pokmon-EX that could abuse a thick Crobat line, have a way to deal heavy damage with a maximum of two attachments, not be reliant on Special Energy and have the flexibility to offer alternative attackers. Seismitoad took three attachments to deal large amounts of damage but was usually a turn too slow and relied on Trainer cards that supported it. Head Ringer especially made things difficult and I had to keep this card in mind when considering which Basic-EX I would use as my main attacker, as ringer can render most Pokémon-EX useless. I really loved the pressure and versatility that the Crobat line in Seismitoad offered, and enjoyed the simplicity of a heavy Sycamore engine which felt simple and reliable and gave you a way to blow open games before your opponent could respond. The primary issue was dealing damage in a reliable timeframe without having to invest resources into your Pokémon-EX. With only 180 HP, three turns to power up Grenade Hammer is far too long and uses too many resources, especially when decks like Night March are attacking for that on turn two. I needed something faster that hit much harder.

Manectric was the card that I had been searching for. I really noticed how useful both attacks were along with the pressure of Crobat dealing damage throughout the game. Both attacks were quite cheap to use, ignored Head Ringer, and would create favorable outcomes against most of the metagame. Overrun is surprisingly useful attack for a single attachment, synchronizing with the Crobat line and focus of the deck quite well (taking quick Prizes). With Manectric’s Lightning typing, one attachment plus Muscle Band gives you cheap Prizes on Zubat, not to mention pressure on Basic EX, Stage 1s, or Pokémon that need an Evolution to be effective. Assault Laser is the true terror here. The attack takes only two turns to set up, and will deal 140 damage with a Muscle Band. With a couple of Golbat drops or a Crobat drop, Manectric would be one shotting Pokémon-EX! The attack encourages you to play Head Ringer as well, a card that fit my metagame perfectly. Assault Laser pressures your opponent into dumping their Tool cards, a perfect opportunity for you to seize their Tool space with Ringer. It creates disruption just by having presence.

The deck is unique in the sense of one-of EX attackers, most notably one copy of Lugia-EX and one copy of Seismitoad-EX. One-of EX cards feel very strong to me, providing such large amounts of utility for such a small price. There are plays where you can surprise-drop Seismitoad with a Double Colorless and lock your opponent out of the game. If they are aware that you have a Seismitoad in your deck, they are forced to play more hastily with their VS Seeker and it can put them in a bad position. Lugia-EX is one of the strongest cards in the game. For one attachment it can revenge-Knock Out large threats, especially with the amount of damage-boosting cards. Four Copies of Golbat, three copies of Crobat, one Giovanni’s Scheme with four VS Seeker, three Muscle Band. Head Ringer even increases Lugia’s damage in a way. If Lugia is ignored, simply attach another Double Colorless and use Deep Hurricane. With a Stadium in play and a Muscle Band, it will deal 170 damage!


The deck really shines when it can take one-hit knockouts without warning. Damage has to be strictly calculated and then executed with precision. You can’t afford to let your opponent SSU out of knockouts. This deck has insane capability to steal games right off of the bat with its aggression and speed. Opening with any one of your Pokémon-EX plus the appropriate Energy and a Muscle Band will set the tone to how the match plays out. Lugia with two DCE or Manectric with two Energy plus Crobat puts all of your opponent’s Pokémon at risk of being Lysandre’d and Knocked Out. This makes your deck very dangerous to majority of the top metagame decks as you only need two turns to deal lethal damage.

Matchups

You will beat Night March and most Evolution decks with relative ease. Low-HP Basics are easy to take advantage of. Typically your Zubat will become Golbat on the second turn. Mirror NORMALLY revolves around Head Ringer. You play Double Colorless, they do not. This means that their Head Ringers will not devastate you like yours will to their Manectric, and will give you a considerable advantage.

Yveltal/Gallade is an extremely beatable matchup. It ultimately boils down to player skill level but assuming players of equal skill, Manectric should win almost every time. Manectric is devastating to Yveltal. Gallade can counter your first Manectric but is going to face Crobat with Giovanni’s. It will be return-KO’d if it goes off. They will be forced to bring up Yveltal and accelerate Energy. Whatever they accelerate to is going to be damaged through Crobat and return-KO’d by either Lugia or Manectric. They will not have enough time or acceleration to out-trade you. Scoop up will put you in a great position and gives you an even easier time out-trading Yveltal decks.

You would think that Fighting would be difficult since the deck is Manectric-based, but you still beat it fairly easily. Crobat plus Giovanni’s Scheme plus Muscle Band deals 140 to Lucario-EX, one of the deck’s primary attackers. Lucario struggles to hit through Crobat, and Bat drops will finish the job. It is important to be mindful of what you Bench throughout the game. Lysandre on Manectric can be an easy two Prizes for a Lucario with a bit of investment. On the flipside, Lugia will be difficult for their deck to deal with. Hawlucha is no longer a threat thanks to your thick Bat line, so most of the time it’s simply a free Prize.

Gengar/Trevenant is quite simple. I have played against a few of these throughout Cities. All of your attackers only need one or two Energy to apply pressure, and Manectric will one-shot Trevenant if they ever attach a Tool (which they are typically forced to do). Lugia also runs through the deck. Your engine relies on playing Sycamore almost every turn so you should be able to dig through your deck to find the Energy you need. Be careful of Enhanced Hammer if you can help it.

Night March is laughable as previously stated. Overrun is devastating to their board. 20/20 to Night Marchers on the field puts them all at risk of being Knocked Out by bat drops. They will never keep up with your pressure even if they are taking one hit knockouts on your Pokémon-EX. I have yet to lose to NM with this deck.

You tend to struggle against decks like Entei, but the alternative to an Entei-centric metagame would be to replace a couple of copies of Manectric with more Seismitoad and/or play a Startling Megaphone or Assault Vest. One Seismitoad may not be enough, but two certainly would, and the matchup only gets easier as you increase the Seismitoad count. Rayquaza has the capability to beat you, but would have to do everything without error assuming perfect setup. Manectric with two Energy will knock out Mega Rayquaza in one shot. This deck also struggles against Mega Mewtwo. You have no way to reliably knock them out, Damage Swap hurts, and they can blow you up. You can still win but it is unlikely.


No deck is perfect, but there are plays that are optimal and others that are not. I would say that Manectric/Crobat is a top contender in the metagame, and certainly will continue to be.

Some updates on my season

I took this Manectric deck to a Second Place finish, losing to a dead start Game 3 against Entei piloted by 60cards’ own Daniel Altavilla. It was a good series overall; in Game 2, I was able to Sycamore into Seismitoad and DCE. From there, I surprise-dropped it and was able to take complete control. Game 3, I opened lone Zubat and passed. Despite losing, I still had a great time. My record at this City was 6-2-2, with both losses being in the Finals. The next day I played an Expanded City Championship. I played Seismitoad/Landorus/Crobat. I was able to make it to the Finals once more, losing out to Yveltal/Assault Vest. It was another very close series, where I lost in Sudden Death overtime Game 3 from a tails on Hypnotoxic Laser. Assault Vest is very strong! My record at this event was 6-2-2, where once again, my only losses were in the Finals.

The following weekend I had two more City Championships. The first was Standard. I played a deck quite similar to the list posted (Manectric/Seismitoad/Crobat) and was able to make it to the finals, losing to Seismitoad/Regice. My deck did not have any counters to Seismitoad and the changes I made were worse against Seismitoad-based decks. My only loss the entire day was to the Seismitoad/Regice deck. My record at the event was 7-2-2 overall, only dropping two in the finals. The next day was an expanded City Championship. I played Seismitoad/Crobat. For the fourth consecutive City I was able to make it to the Finals. I was determined to finally win after three Second Place finishes. In Top 8, I had a bad matchup against Manectric/Genesect, but was able to take the series to Game 3 Sudden Death and won in turn three. In Top 4, I won two quick games against Yveltal/Seismitoad. In Top 2 I faced Archie’s Blastoise, and won in an exciting three games. My record at this event was 9-2-2. My losses were to Manectric Genesect Game 2, where I Prized two of my three Fighting and was unable to find one, so my Landorus sat Active for multiple turns. Another loss was to Blastoise in the Finals, where I was unable to Quaking Punch until I was too far behind.

I have attended six City Championships total. I still have to play League Challenges and Regionals/States/Nationals. My current Championship Point total is 170, and is entirely from Cities! I had a great run, and I am excited to play more next weekend. I am having a great time playing and writing, and I feel myself improving event after event. As always I would like to thank 60cards for giving me a place to write and discuss with you all. Thank you so much for reading and good luck at the rest of your City Championships!

-Kevin

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