User blog

Frank Diaz

Heading into the Roaring Skies format with Virizion/Genesect

Writing a good quality article is a lot of work

06/06/2015 by Frank Diaz

Writing a good quality article is a lot of work!  I often find it hard to complete a full article, but I don’t want that to prevent me from putting out interesting content, so today I have an abbreviated article for you.  In this mini-article I’ll provide some analysis on the deck(s) I used to win Alberta Regionals and touch a little on the recent Trump Card Ban.  

Heading into the Roaring Skies format I was looking for a deck that didn’t take many (or any) bad matchups.  I was willing to accept not having many great matchups in exchange for closer to even matchups against most decks.  Historically, I’ve found success using decks with few bad matchups, and working on the lists to make those matchups even or favorable, even at the cost of having excellent matchups elsewhere.  I also like to avoid the BDIF, worrying that I’ll see a lot of techs from players prepared to deal with it.  

After a lot of thought I settled on Virizion/Genesect.  I haven’t been a fan of this deck in the past.  Its game plan has always been too linear and I felt like I’d rather be playing a deck that shifted the emphasis more heavily on my skill.  With the release of Roaring Skies, however, I felt like the deck picked up some nice options that could make things messier and give me a chance to try some tricky plays.  I liked having a slightly favorable Toad matchup and excellent Groudon and Klinklang matchups.  I thought I could mitigate Colorless Rayquaza’s good matchup against me with some stadium play.  

My original concept had me playing Plasma Badge / Heavy Colress Machine to try to get a turn one Emerald Slash with consistency help from Shaymin.  It worked fine, but the combo took up a lot of space and I had several other things I wanted to fit in the list. I cut it in favor of a greater variety of options.  Here’s the list I ended up playing:

Illumise is great is a variety of early game situations.  Against an aggressive deck like Colorless Ray, it gives up only 1 prize and guarantees you still have energy in play after it dies.  Against Toad, it’s much easier to get 1 grass energy in play than 2 energy for an Emerald Slash.  Its second attack is underrated and can work in several situations, especially when trying to break a Quaking Punch lock.  

Heavy Shaymin count was just too good not to play.  Trainer’s Mail and Acro Bike go great with it and allow for a very fast consistent list.  

I played Ninetales to lock out Skyfield.  This helps against some of my tougher matchups (Colorless Ray and Raichu).  Andrew Estrada also showed up to the event with a VG list featuring Ninetales.  The rest of his list was much more conventional, with heavy Skyla, Energy Switch, no Shaymin etc.  I like the aggressive version I played better.  He did have Frozen City where I had Frigate.  His stadium was probably a better play than mine.  It allows him to get some extra damage needed to ko EXs (Colorless Ray).  Having a slightly better match against fire types isn’t worth not having access to that damage.  

Absol was a last minute addition. It allows some tricky plays especially when paired with Super Scoop Up and AZ.  Ultimately it was a “win more” card which I cut for Expanded later that day.  

Energy count was a little higher than I originally planned.  I was at 7 grass, but missed energy on Emerald Slash more than I would have liked.  Adding the 8th grass also helps against Toad.  This count was much lower than conventional lists, but worked fine with the new build.  Trump Card was critical to being able to play so few energy.  

The draw/search engine in this deck is substantially different than was standard before Roaring Skies.  Shaymin EX and Trainer’s Mail are excellent additions to the deck.  I coupled these cards with a few other changes to make a very fast, aggressive engine.  It’s similar to those seen in turbo Seismitoad decks.  Gets you the cards you need, when you need them.  

Super Scoop Up and AZ gain a lot from the release of Shaymin EX.  They’re no longer just utility cards for switching/healing/freeing up bench space ect.  They can now draw you cards, which makes them so much better.  While you have a Shaymin in play, Super Scoop Up is like a pseudo Roller Skates in addition to its usual benefits.  The only downside is that before you have a Shaymin down, you can’t draw cards with these cards.  Still worthwhile for this deck.  I think the Trump Card ban makes the Super Scoop Ups weak enough not to play, but I think an AZ could still be worthwhile.  

What’s left to the deck is a lot of low count utility cards.  You can recycle them with Trump/VS Seeker and find them in your prizes with Town Map, so I’m not too worried about the low counts.

For expanded I dropped 2 Plasma Frigate for 2 Skyarrow.  Skyarrow is just a better stadium.  I also dropped the Absol, which I hadn’t tested before the event and wasn’t good enough, for a Plasma Badge.  The single Plasma Badge would allow me to Colress Machine onto Virizion/Shaymin and added a second tool to get ahead of Head Ringer.  

I think it’s important to add some context to the above analysis.  Trump Card has been banned since I played this, but there are a few things that I learned through playing this deck.  Some key take aways for you to keep in mind:

Ninetales is a strong tech in this format, especially against Colorless Rayquaza, but won’t win that matchup on its own.

Absol can be very strong, but needs careful testing, because depending on the deck it’s in, it might only be good in games that you’d win anyway.

Shaymin is one of the best cards in the format.  I would play at least 1 in every deck. (I still think this is true even with the Trump Card ban.)

Give AZ a try

Old, well established decks can be successful even after a major overhaul.   Be on the lookout for ways to creatively transform old archetypes using new cards. As for the rest of the format post Trump Card ban, there’s a lot of testing to do!  I think Night March and Flareon get a lot better, which is scary for VG.  VG also loses its best answer to these decks (which is related to why those decks get stronger.)  In general, the Trump Card ban makes every deck prioritize resources.  I think we not only lose the most effective replenishment card ever, but we’re also thrust into an unusually resource tight format.   From early testing, that’s going to be a very tough transition to make.  Keep that in mind during deck construction by considering an extra energy or two and playing fewer cards like Acro Bike which burn through decks at breakneck speeds.  In game, you need to be very aware of how many resources you’re using / discarding.  You should also keep in mind that there’s potential for your opponent to run out of resources.  Keep an eye out, for example, for your opponent discarding 2 switch on an Ultra Ball early.  If you force them to use another mid-game, you might be able to catch them without one later on!

Good luck testing!



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