Back to the War - 2 different playstyles of fighting decks
2 different decks with fighting Pokémon that could influence the European Regionals.
11/06/2014 by Martin Janouš
Regionals in Europe are ongoing and with the ruling which allows to play the new edition after 21 days after its release, most of the Regionals will be without Phantom Forces. American Regionals formed metagame and except for Donphan, there weren´t many surprises. The other metagame Fighting decks made the most changes by the time. Players found many ways of how to play fighting and there are many styles of how fightning Pokémon can be played.
Table of contents:
1. Warrior - agressive strategy
2. Defender - defensive strategy
3. New age - Phantom Forces in fighting
Warrior - agressive strategy
Agressive decks have a simple strategy: Winning as soon as possible. Fighting decks have good equipment for this strategy because they can do about 60-100 damage for just a single energy thanks to Strong Energy and other cards like Fighting Stadium and Muscle Band. The key and strenght of this strategy is in the beginning of the game. You can outdamage your opponent so fast that he can't set-up anything to counter your aggro. However if you draw dead in the beginning of the game and have a slow start, you will struggle, because your opponent will have enough time to set-up and destroy you with his big hitters like Yveltal EX or Genesect EX with G-Booster. Here is my list for a super agressive strategy:
- 2x Beartic
- 2x Lucario EX
- 1x M Lucario EX
- 3x Hawlucha
- 1x Landorus EX
- 2x Mewtwo EX
- 2x Cubchoo
- 1x Computer Search
- 2x Lysandre
- 1x Pokémon Center Lady
- 3x Fighting Stadium
- 3x Focus Sash
- 3x Korrina
- 1x Shauna
- 4x Professor Sycamore
- 2x Switch
- 4x N-supporter
- 2x Ultra Ball
- 2x Bicycle
- 2x Colress
- 2x Escape Rope
- 2x Muscle Band
- 1x Max Potion
- 5x Fighting Energy
- 4x Strong Energy
- 3x Double Colorless Energy
This is your main hitter. With Strong Energy and Fighting Stadium you can do 100 damage to the opponent's EX Pokémon. 2-hit is enough and 100 damage is just enough to do so. You hit the 100 damage mark even without a Focus Band/silver Bangle attached to Hawlucha. And that gives you the option to attach Focus Sash to Hawlucha to protect it from being one-hitted by your opponent's Pokémon. Your opponent might use Startling Megaphone or Hypnotoxic Laser but those are more resources that your opponent needs and it blocks his set-up because he has to spend cards to deal with just a Focus Sashed Hawlucha. Also in the end of the game your opponent will miss his Lasers which he wasted on Hawlucha. And of course, Hawlucha is a non-EX Pokémon, so your opponent takes just 1 prize card. The key thing in this deck is that your Pokémon deal overall big damage for just 1 energy. Whenever went second I managed to attack with Hawlucha T1 (or any other fighting Pokémon like Lucario EX or Landorus EX) in about 80 % of all games.
I think one copy of Landorus is fine. If you have it at the start of the game, you can spread some damage for better knockouts later. For example if you are able to Hammerhead 2 opponent EX, you can later kill them with Hawlucha with Muscle Band, Strong Energy and Fighting Stadium. Also don't forget about Landoruses second attack Land's Judgment. It can swing the game for you by knocking out a full HP Pokémon EX for the last 2 prizes. Another reason to play just one Landorus is because of Seismitoad EX. On this field it is too easy to lock your Landorus with Seismitoad EX and Lysandre in the active spot.
I played one copy of Mewtwo but during testing I realized that second Mewtwo is necessary. It helps you against mirror and against your opponent's Mewtwo which could come to the field unexpectadly. Mewtwo can do about 100 damage very often. You can use it against Genesect EX or Yveltal EX with many energies.
In my opinion this Pokémon is one of the best Pyroar counters. It knocks out Pyroar for just a single Double Colorless Energy and Pyroar will have a hard time to knock it back because he can do 110 damage maximum and that is not enough. When you support Beartic with Max Potion or Pokémon Center Lady, you can easily win this match-up. But still care and have your own Mewtwo ready as a counter against your opponent's Mewtwo.
The Mewtwo in Pyroar deck cant really one-hit your Beartic, because it can do only 100 damage most of the time (your DCE, his DCE + Muscle Band), but it can be a problem if you let your opponent loads it up on the bench. Beartic is great against Donphan as well. With Lysandre, you can KO Donphan which will slow down your opponent's setup.
Lucario EX + Mega Lucario EX
Lucario is an another fighting Pokémon which can do heavy damage for just a single energy. His second attack helps you with consistency as well. If you don't have all the necessary cards for your setup for just 2 energies you draw up to 6 cards which is really good in the early game.
Lucarios mega evolution is good against Pyroar and it helps you if your opponent has not the best start. If your opponent has slow start you can "waste" one turn of attacking for the Mega Lucario evolve. When you charge it up, knock out opponent's EX is really easy and if you will have Pokémon Center Lady at the right time, it can knock out 2 or even 3 Pokémon. The problem with Mega Lucario EX is that it can be easilly countered by a Mewtwo EX, however there are some ways which can increase your chance to not be knocked out. The first one is Focus Sash.
The other way is knocking out Mewtwo before he can knock out yours. Or just simply keep your Mega Lucario on your bench with just 2 energies attached and when you promote him to the active spot, attach a third energy, Lysandre the Mewtwo and knock it out. The last thing how to protect your Mega Lucario in play is N. If you shuffle your opponent you have bigger chance that your opponent will not have Startling Megaphone on your Focus Sash or DCE for KO.
I like Computer in agressive decks. You can find everything with it. It can help you to get the key card for T1 Hawlucha attack for 100 damage or in late game for DCE. The huge thing is that you can find it with Korrina. There are a lot of combos included in it. You can play Korrina for Hawlucha (or Lucario) and take Computer Search and get Strong Energy and do massive damage pretty fast. Computer also helps you with consistency. It is your another supporter if necessary.
I like it over Dowsing Machine because I sometimes had it in hand with Sycamore at the start of the game with no useful Items in the discard pile. And if you look at the list there is not so many cards that you'll want to reuse. Yes, you might get a second Max Potion, but you still play Pokémon Center Lady. I think that one heal card per game is enough to swing the game in your favor and so I don't really mind to discard one. Since there is awlays one healing card remaining and you can still search through your deck with Computer for it. Also Dowsing can't get you Strong Energy or DCE and because of it I prefer Computer in this deck.
Max Potion + Pokémon Center Lady
Healing is good in this deck. It puts your opponent under bigger pressure. Thanks to the fact that your Pokémon need just 1 energy for their attacks, you have no problem to play Max Potion.
Healing especially helps against Genesect because Megalo Cannon does 20 damage to your bench, so your opponent can outplay your Focus Sash strategy by hitting your Hawlucha for 20. With healing you can surprise your opponent. You can also heal your Mega Lucario (but in this case just with Pokémon Center Lady because discarding energies with Max Potion from Mega Lucario is not that good).
2 Switch, 2 Escape Rope
I originally played 3 Switch and 1 Escape Rope, but my brother got an idea that you still want to have EX Pokémon as a defending Pokémon. Escape Rope can help you with it very efectively. The whole field is about EX Pokémon. Every deck plays from 5 to 7 EX Pokémon (except for Donphan and Pyroar) and just a few non-EX Pokémon. So if your opponent attacks or stalls with a non-EX, escape rope forces him to promote his EX active. Thanks to Hawlucha's 0 retreat cost you can retreat your original active Pokémon without wasting switching resources.
2 Ultra Ball
With Korrina you have no problem getting your fighting Pokémon out. Ultra Balls are here to help you get out Beartic or Mewtwo if necessary.
2 Muscle Band, 3 Focus Sash
At the first stage of testing I played 3 Muscle Band and 2 Focus Sash. However I realized that my main strategy is to attack with Hawlucha that has Focus Sash attached and 2 were not enough. So I changed the number of Muscle Band to 2 and increased Focus Sash to 3. I think that it was a good choice. I often had both Focus Sash and Muscle Band when I need them.
Great with Korrina. You can search for a Pokémon and than draw some cards as well. It helps you with consistency. If you already have Bicycle in your hand with Korrina, you can go for Ultra Ball or Computer Search with Korrina to discard cards and again draw more cards with Bicycle.
3 DCE, 4 Strong, 5 Fighting
The count of energies is pretty standart. Why just 3 DCE? You can play 4-4-4, but Lucario and Hawlucha can not attack with DCE and when you want to charge Mega Lucario sometimes or get simply more energies to fighting Pokémon, you need Fighting Energies. Double Colorless Energies are just the bonus for Mewtwos or Beartic. These Pokémon are there for certain match-ups. When you play versus a match-up where Mewtwo and Beartic are not needed, you can use the DCE to switch your Fightning Pokémon if you have them in your hand and you need to retreat.
Defender - defensive strategy
The defensive strategy slows down your opponents. You block their set-up and load something up on your bench and in the right time you promote them active and take last prizes. Great cards for the defensive strategy are Garbodor and Seismitoad EX. They work together efectively and you have time to set-up your attackers while locking your opponent. Garbodor and Seismitoad are paired with Yveltal or just played together, but they could be paired with Fighting as well:
- 1x Landorus EX
- 3x Seismitoad EX
- 2x Lucario EX
- 2x Garbodor
- 2x Mewtwo EX
- 2x Trubbish
- 1x Hawlucha
- 1x Dowsing Machine
- 3x Muscle Band
- 4x Professor Sycamore
- 1x Shauna
- 2x Lysandre
- 1x Pokémon Center Lady
- 2x Korrina
- 2x Virbank City Gym
- 4x Hypnotoxic Laser
- 1x Switch
- 4x N-supporter
- 3x Ultra Ball
- 2x Float Stone
- 2x Bicycle
- 2x Colress
- 1x Escape Rope
- 4x Fighting Energy
- 4x Strong Energy
- 4x Double Colorless Energy
I will point out main differences from an agressive deck:
Seismitoad EX + Garbodor
As Hawlucha was the main hitter in the agressive strategy, in a defensive strategy Seismitoad EX takes this role. It locks your opponent from items such as Switch, Hypnotoxic Lasers, Ultra balls and many other important cards. The Switch lock is the most important thing. With Muscle band + Hypnotoxic Laser + Virbank City Gym you are able to 2-hit opponent's Pokémon EX and if you have lucky flips on your Hypnotoxic Lasers you are in a very good position to win the game. Thanks to Garbodor, your opponent can not use Keldeo EX as a switch or Darkrai's ability and so the only way how to prevent a 2-hit is retreating, but that is good for you aswell, because your opponent is wasting his energy cards. You can help this strategy with Lysandre. You can grab a high retreat pokémon and lock it in the active spot with Seismitoad. Seismitoad in combination with Garbodor also works against Pyroar. When you set-up the Garbodor your opponent can't Megaphone your tool thanks to Seismitoad and you can easily knock out your opponent's Litleos or even the Pyroar. While you rush your opponent with Seismitoad you can load your fight hitters for final knockouts. The interesting fact in this deck is that you turn off your Hawlucha's ability, so you can One-hit Thundurus EX or Darkrai EX with just a Hawlucha that has the support of 2 damage increasing cards.
I prefer Dowsing Machine over Computer Search in this kind of deck. It allows you to reuse many cards that you play once or to reuse important cards like Hypnotoxic Laser or Lysandre which is great in lock. Also I play just 1 Pokémon Center Lady there, so Dowsing could be the key card if you discard it early. Dowsing can help you with stadium wars as welll. When you play against a deck, which counters your Virbanks with their own stadiums, you can Dowsing your stadiums back. And a third Lysandre is always good aswell.
3 Ultra Ball
You play many non-fighting Pokémon, so increasing the number of Ultra Balls is a must. You need to get Seismitoad out as soon as possible and Ultra Ball helps you with this. It also helps with setting up Garbodor which is another key card to keep your pponent under the lock.
It gives you other options besides Fighting Stadium. Firstly, it gives you extra damage even if your opponent's active is a non-EX and secondly with Seismitoad and Garbodor you can lock your opponent for 1 turn. If you flip heads and your opponent flips tails, your opponent is basically attack-locked for his whole turn. Obviously you will need Garbodors Neurotoxin to be active and you still need 2 favourable flips to make it work, however if you can get it just once per game it is gamebreaking most of the time. You are knocking a Pokémon EX without your opponent being able to attack you back.
1 Switch, 1 Escape Rope, 2 Float Stone
These 4 cards are still cards which allow you switch/retreat your Pokémon, but they have more use. Float Stone is a staple thing for Garbodor, but in some cases you will want to give your Landorus EX free retreat to protect him from being one hitted by Beartic. Even if you start with Landorus EX against a deck that plays Beartic you can counter them just by attaching Float Stone. Switch and Escape Rope protect you from falling asleep to Hypnotoxic Laser.
New Age - Phantom Forces in fighting
In the new edition there are no good fightning type Pokémon, probably because fighting got its cards released in Furious Fists. Now another types like psychic and lighting are given new strong Pokémon. However there are some good Trainer cards that could be played in fighting decks.
I really like the idea of Battle Compresor. It has more potencial in deck that needs discarding cards like Bronzong, Flareon or Plasma. However in other decks like fighting it could be a good tech. Sometimes you play some techs in your deck which you don't want to use in certain match-ups and Battle Compresor can get them out from the deck. But it is not just for discarding techs.
You could play a deck without techs and you will still find use for Battle Compressor. For example you are playing a defensive fightning mirror match. In this matchup you don't need Garbodor. With just one Battle Compresor you can find and discard almost the whole Garbodor line. Than you have bigger chances to draw better cards. Or in the end of the game when you need specific cards (like Hypnotoxic Lasers for example), you discard unnecessary cards to have a higher chance to draw into them with cards like Prof. Sycamore . It is also searchable with Korrina, so in my opinion I think one copy will be a decent play in fightning decks.
Enhanced Hammer is back! It will help you to tune down your opponent´s pressure I think 2 copies is a good play in both of the fightning decks. especially in mirror matches when your opponent plays 3-4 DCE and 4 Strong Energies you have a high probability that you will use both of your Enhanced Hammers.
This is the card that Seismitoad needed. Now when you play Seismitoad against Virizion and you attach the Head Ringer to Virizion, it will have hard time to hit you harder with Emerald Slash. With Garbodor's Neurotoxin active you'll outdamage the Virizions with Lasers and Muscle Bands pretty fast.
In my opinion the match-up will be about who places his tool cards first, since Head Ringer can be weapon against you as well. If your opponent is able to put Head Ringer under your Pokémon, you will have hard time to attack efficiently. Using Quaking Punch for 3 energies is not good and Head Ringer under your fighting EXs will slow you down and destroy both of your strategies. It will be interesting to see how Head Ringer influences the upcoming metagame.
This card makes Computer Search much more stronger than Dowsing Machine. Sometimes players play Dowsing Machine just for the option to reuse Lysandre and now you have VS Seeker to do that. That means that you can play Computer Search for better consistency in your early game.
Well, I think that fighting decks are a good choice for the BC-FF format, but with the incoming Phantom Forces they will have a harder time thanks to Head Ringer. However if you attach your tools faster than your opponent, you will have better chances to win. Good luck to everyone who will be playing fighting decks and feel free to comment which strategy you like better.
Martin "Onix" Janouš
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