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Kevin Kobayashi

Fates Collide review

How does Fates Collide impact the format? Kevin Kobayashi highlights some potential new plays from the new set.

05/13/2016 by Kevin Kobayashi

Hello again.

I am here to discuss my feelings towards the game right now and look ahead to potential plays with the latest set Fates Collide. While I was able to steal 200 Championship Points early on in the season, I have continued to struggle at State/Regional events which is entirely frustrating. The lack of points from these events has left me feeling "burned out". Let me provide some examples of "bad luck" for me this season.

  • I chose to play Seismitoad/Crobat at PA Regionals. I removed my lone copy of Hex Maniac for a second Xerosic, and of course I face Blastoise in my win-and-in round. My opponent was able to not only get turn-one Blastoise out both games, but played multiple copies of Rough Seas. This matchup took a very long time due to the mass amount of Retreat and healing that could happen without Hex Maniac. First game, I bring it to 2-2 on Prizes. With two cards in deck and an Active Seismitoad EX, I simply need to draw Lysandre out of two cards, while also flipping heads on Sleep to Knock Out his Benched Keldeo-EX with 150 damage on it. The first turn I draw, it is not Lysandre and I flip heads on Sleep. The card I draw is Hypnotoxic Laser. I flip heads to put his Articuno to Sleep. If he flips tails, I win. In between turns he flips heads and wakes up, then puts me to sleep with Chilling Sigh. My last card in deck is Lysandre, but I hit tails on Sleep and lose an incredibly tight game one without Hex Maniac. There is less than 15 minutes for me to finish two games against Rough Seas Blastoise. Not happening. Had I flipped heads, had my opponent flipped tails (or if I had drawn Lysandre), I win the game.  
  • I spent months perfecting my Trevenant/Bursting Balloon deck. Countless hours of playtesting and tweaking. Three friends play the deck. I bomb, but between my two other friends, one makes Top 32 and the other wins the tournament. Go figure.

 

  • After this I attended FL States playing a vanilla Greninja list. I left before Round 6 began and I haven’t looked at a card since then. I didn't even want to attend nor play at this event.

Has "luck" really got anything to do with it? Not necessarily. But at least two of those decks (one that I literally made) either made Top 8 or won the event, which leaves me with a little bit of a sour taste. Alas, Regionals are coming up in less than a month and I have to decide if I will continue my quest in this game or pursue other options. 

Fates Collide

Let’s get started. The BREAK cards are all exceptional. Delphox, Omastar,  Carbink, Bronzong, Lugia, I consider all of them highly playable and have potential to bring decks back from the grave as well as birth some new contenders.

Pokémon BREAK

Delphox: 180 HP Stage 3. Fire acceleration to any Pokemon. Delphox itself is a fairly solid option, R for 40 + Sleep, or CCC for 20× all Energy attached to all Pokémon in play. Multiple Delphox could potentially attach 2-3 Energy per turn, and can run Colorless attackers such as Lugia BREAK or Lugia-EX. Big Basic Fire Pokémon-EX can abuse Delphox as well.

Omastar: 140 HP. Fossils haven’t been strong since I began playing the game. I see the potential of the cards and hope that they are good. Archie’s Ace in the Hole could potentially make this card playable, and possibly even function as its own deck with Aerodactyl from this set as well. The strength of a free EX Lysandre is very powerful. I hope that this card will be playable.

Bronzong: 130 HP. Very nice option for Metal. Bronzong can end games with a snipe to a low-HP Pokémon-EX such as Jirachi-EX (in Expanded) or Shaymin-EX. The best part about the card is the unpredictable nature of it. It can easily catch an opponent off guard and is an easy inclusion in any deck that runs a fairly thick Bronzong line.

Carbink: 110 HP. Fighting acceleration. Certainly terrifying considering that Zygarde is in the same set. It’s almost as if Pokémon wants people to combine them. Groudon and Zygarde really love this card.

Lugia: 150 HP. To me, this card seems deceptively strong. 150 damage isn’t massive but the basic appears to be similar to Raikou and can use Fighting Fury Belt quite well. The best part about the card is how easily you can splash it in any deck that uses Double Colorless Energy. My theory is that players will misjudge the strength of Lugia BREAK for some time. Only time will tell.

Pokémon-EX

A quick synopsis of some strong plays that I see for the latest set.

M-Alakazam EX

Alakazam: 160 HP/210 HP. M-Alakazam functions as its own deck, with Psychic support to ensure that the deck will set up and run optimally. Multiple copies of Battle Compressor, a four count of Dimension Valley, and a max count of Spirit Links to ensure that Alakazam will be able to Mega Evolve multiple times throughout the turn and game. Alakazam-EX does not have to be Active to activate his Ability. Kinesis places two damage counters on your opponent’s Active Pokémon and three damage counters on any one of your opponent’s Benched Pokémon. Multiple Mega Evolutions in one turn can be devastating, especially when M-Alakazam deals so much damage for one Energy and a Stadium. The wording of the attack appears deceptive, until you read that it does 10+30 for each damage counter on the Defending Pokemon. 170 HP Pokémon-EX only need six damage counters to be Knocked Out, which can be easily achieved by using Absol ROS to move damage counters from the Benched Pokémon to the Active. Aside from this, the deck would play multiple Scoop Up cards to continually Mega Evolve Alakazam, spreading counters all over the place and hitting very hard with Zen Force, which makes Absol an obvious inclusion.

Zygarde/Regirock/Carbink BREAK

This deck functions similar to Virizion/Genesect/Deoxys but appears to be stronger. Zygarde is a cheap attacker with one-hit KO potential as well as an impressive 190 HP. With Fighting Fury Belt, Zygarde towers over Mega Pokémon, reaching new heights at 230 HP. Three attacks, one that should always deal 40+ damage, and a G Booster esque option that is no longer limited to one (Power Memory), you can play four. This is quite frightening when you factor in Regirock’s Ability, which functions like Deoxys for Fighting Pokémon, and a searchable PlusPower. Carbink gives the deck a way to accelerate Energy through a Battle Compressor engine, which is currently the strongest, fastest way to play decks in the format. Zygarde can deal massive damage quickly through cards like Hoopa-EX (which can function as a triple PlusPower if you search three Regirock, or can grab multiple pieces of your setup), and Korrina. It’s frightening that all of these cards can also use Strong Energy and Fighting Stadium. The basic Carbink has Safeguard, for crying out loud! The damage will pile up quickly. This deck will dismantle most EX decks with ease and will hit very hard quickly. I expect it to be Tier 1.

Seismitoad/Eeveelutions/Mew

This deck is what makes me most excited to build and play again. Mew is a 50 HP Basic non-EX Pokémon that comes out in this set, with an Ability that allows it to copy any of your Basic Pokémon’s attacks in play as long as you meet the proper Energy requirement. When combined with Dimension Valley, every Basic attack for Mew will cost one Colorless less. This means that attacks such as Seismitoad-EX’s Quaking Punch will only cost one Energy. There are many ways to disrupt and lock your opponent out of the game, and Mew further enhances those strategies by adding speed to these types of decks. You would play multiple copies of the various Eeveelutions (primarily Glaceon and Jolteon) to lock your opponent’s respective Pokémon out of the game. Both Eeveelutions stop evolved and unevolved Pokémon from attacking, which can win the game alone. You can play many different Pokémon-EX in a deck with Mew, which makes this deck not only unpredictable but provides huge outplay potential.

Genesect/Bronzong BREAK

High-synergy Metal deck. The Pokémon line would most likely play a thick count of Bronzong with multiple copies of the BREAK as well as a high Genesect count and has potential room for other threats such as Dialga-EX or Cobalion-EX (in Expanded). Genesect has a cool Ability that is very functional. It can swap Tools each turn, giving it potential to play Muscle Band and Fighting Fury Belt without issue. It can also run other Tool options since they are easy to mix and match. The option to discard Metal Energy from Genesect is counteracted by Bronzong’s ability to reattach them from the discard. The biggest issue that this deck will come across is a fast start, because it can be difficult to get three Metal energy on a Genesect if you fall behind, however I still think that a deck like this has potential to win events if it hits the right decks throughout the tournament. It also can function off of the Battle Compressor engine with ease.

Misc.

Then you start to get to the cards that have potential but may be a complete flop. I consider decks like Fossils (Aerodactyl + Fossil support), Reuniclus, Serperior, etc. in that sort of tier. They need to be tested heavily and could suffer consistency issues or simply not meet the right frame for the metagame. I’m not a huge fan of the other Pokemon-EX in the set, either. Kingdra is by far the weakest, while the other two Megas (Audino and Altaria) don't seem too appealing, although they aren't downright unplayable. It is interesting that Altaria changes type when it Mega Evolves. It is also very nice to see that Marowak promo finally released. It completely shuts down Seismitoad’s Quaking Punch lock and could potentially bring Marowak into fruition, or could see play in other decks as a 1-1 tech line. Korrina can even search it out under lock, which is another nice option for Fighting. Let's not forget Power Memory - the G Booster for Zygarde. Mega Catcher could potentially be alluding to how powerful they are about to make Mega Evolutions, if they are not satisfactory as is. Mr Mime is hand shuffle for Fairy. There are many strong, playable cards in this set.

Overall I am quite pleased with Fates Collide and the steps that they are taking to change the game. I believe that with all of these new decks the metagame will flip completely. Certainly worth noting that N being reprinted will make the game a bit more skill intensive. The skill ceiling has simply been too low for far too long!

In this article I have barely scratched the surface of decks that you can build with this set. There are so many combinations of cards just waiting to be discovered with the release of Fates Collide. I look forward to all of the great decks that I will be exposed to at regionals and also will be working on my own decks for these tournaments as well. This may be my last article for some time so I would like to thank those who have supported me over the years and 60cards for giving me a home and place to express my thoughts. I have not decided if I will pursue my invite any longer, my priorities have shifted.

Thank you all for your time.

-Kevin

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