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Marc Lutz

The Night March Championships

Marc Lutz shares his insights about what to expect at the 2016 World Championship.

08/09/2016 by Marc Lutz

Hello, 60cards readers it’s me again, Marc Lutz. This time I'll be talking about Worlds and what decks you can expect in case you're still deciding on your on deck or if you just want a sneak peak of what's most likely going to be the meta at Worlds so you can adjust your own deck to that. In this article I will only focus on the decks which I think are relevant for Worlds so there are no niche viable decks like Yveltal/Gallade versions, Greninja or Manectric stuff, but rather the top contenders for taking the title. Without further ado, let's get right into the article!

The current format is largely based on two different kind of decks. It's either Night March or decks that counter Night March relatively well such as Trevenant or Seismitoad-EX variants. However with Steam Siege added in to the mix we get that supporter card called Pokémon Ranger. While it doesn't have that big of an impact in item lock decks it sure helps Night March against Seismitoad-EX and Giratina-EX. Usually you would have a ton of trouble as Night March if your opponent gets to use their Quaking Punch or Chaos Wheel attacks, but with Pokémon Ranger you can simply negate those effects. The only slight difficulty here is getting that card in your hand when you need it. Since you can't use VS Seeker for example when you're under the item lock it's necessary to set up a hand with Pokémon Ranger during the turn you can play item cards.

With that out of the way there aren't too many other choices for Worlds in my opinion. Of course there will most likely be some people who play something like Mega Manectric-EX with a bunch of tech cards, but in my mind if your deck doesn't beat Night March on a consistent basis you're not going to do well at Worlds. Before Steam Siege you could get away with that and take a few games with Jolteon-EX, but now with Pokémon Ranger even that seems impossible. Prior to US Nationals Night March was obviously a very good deck, but there was still enough other stuff around which you could easily beat with your Manectric deck and maybe win a tournament that way, but now that Night March seems to be able to win against Seismitoad-EX and Giratina-EX decks more often it would be a bold move to bring a deck like that to Worlds.

Looking at the results of U.S. Nationals, there are basically only Night March decks and decks that try to counter Night March (if you're going to put Darkrai-EX/Giratina-EX in that category as well). Let's take a closer look at Night March and some of the more interesting tech choices.

Night March

Here we are again talking about Night March. Yes it's undeniable that it is the strongest deck for World Championships. Being able to pick up early Prizes against-EX heavy decks while being super consistent is just the way to go into a tournament with that many rounds. As most of you guys should know how the deck works by now I'm not gonna go in detail about that, but rather talk about how you build the deck and certain matchups which is more important in my opinion. Besides the Pokémon Ranger we've already mentioned there are a couple other cards from this expansion that are great in Night March.

Special Charge is obviously a great addition to the deck. Being able to shuffle back 2 Double Colorless Energy in addition to the 4 Puzzle of Time we already got is just insane. With that many ways of getting back Double Colorless Energy you should be good against all sorts of Energy removals like Xerosic or Enhanced Hammer. In theory you should be able to pick up at least 1 Prize card with each Double Colorless Energy so that should also work against decks that focus around non-EX attackers and pack some Energy removal cards like some Yveltal variants. Special Charge should be a staple in all Night March decks at worlds without a doubt. It also makes the versions that run Mew and some basic Energy nearly irrelevant as they are much more inconsistent most of the time.

The other item card that seems viable in Night March is Captivating Poké Puff. That card is somewhat similar to Target Whistle except that it targets the opponent's hand. If you can get it off on turn 1 before your opponent had a chance to play some cards that card seems to be amazing. Not only do you get the chance to deny your opponent the use of Shaymin-EX if they have it in their hand, but you also know what they have in hand which allows you to play around certain things if necessary. In the later stages of the game you can use this card to force out additional Pokémon-EX to target them down with Lysandre and end the game faster, much like you did with Target Whistle. However this card gives you much more utility at almost any stage of the game and you can always play it unlike Target Whistle which requires a target in your opponent's discard pile. This makes it much better as you can just throw it away before you play your Shaymin-EX to draw additional cards.

That's pretty much the most standard Night March list you can have except for the fact that it runs the Captivating Poké Puff which I'm not 100% sold on, but it seems to work at least from my testing experience. You're gonna need 2 Lysandres for sure because it's one of the only ways to get out of Trevenant's item lock aside from Hex Maniac. Trevenant is probably the only 'negative' matchup you have with Night March, but it's still close to 50:50 in my eyes because they need to go first and get the item lock out immediately in order to be favored. If you get just a single turn of playing items you should be good against Trevenant.

The other Night March version that is viable is the one that the winner of US Nationals used which features Vespiquen as a secondary attacker. The advantage you have with this deck is mostly the additional type you can attack with. Obviously the Night Marchers can easily deal 180 damage which is enough to OHKO most Pokémon-EX unless they have a Fighting Fury Belt attached, but especially against Seismitoad-EX and if they put you under the item lock and you don't have the Pokémon Ranger in time that Vespiquen really helps you out as it's quite easy to knock out a Seismitoad-EX if you can hit it for weakness. Other than that it's simply an additional attacker that tends to synergize with the general strategy of Night March that is getting a ton of Pokémon into the discard pile.

If you're playing the version with Vespiquen you probably don't need additional ways to get back Pokémon from your discard pile. However for the non Vespiquen version of Night March I would probably play a copy of Buddy-Buddy Rescue just in case you need that extra attacker in the late game. In some games you really need to discard 10 Night Marchers to knock out that big Pokémon-EX with the Muscle Band attached and then you could run out of attackers and might not be able to use double Puzzle of Time to get one back. Buddy-Buddy Rescue also tends to combo somewhat decently with Battle Compressor and Shaymin-EX in case you have an awkward hand in the early game so it has some utility at least. It also helps you to play around Target Whistle in some cases.

Let's take a look at some of the matchups which I think are the most relevant ones for worlds. I'll be running the numbers based on the non Vespiquen version of Night March so keep that in mind. For example in any Seismitoad-EX matchup you should have a better percentage with the Vespiquen version of course. Also those numbers are based on my testing results. Mirror matches are always 50:50 so I'm not gonna mention those.

Seismitoad-EX/Giratina-EX (slightly favored)

This matchup is still somewhat difficult in my opinion. They generally have the Quaking Punch on turn 2 and with Ninja Boy they can easily switch between Seismitoad-EX and Giratina-EX. However you do have at least one turn of items against this deck and if you're able to get off a Pokémon Ranger at any point in the game you should be able to win that unless you're too much behind. You're not too favored in this matchup unlike others, but I'm sure you will win with Night March more often than not.
(0.55 WR)

Water Toolbox (favored)

The matchup against this Water Toolbox deck is really good in my opinion. Of course they have the Articuno which is able to pick up multiple Prizes against Night Marchers, but in the end they should not be able to keep up with Night March. You only need a Double Colorless Energy and you're good to go while they need to hit with multiple Max Elixirs and also require the Energy Switch in some cases. Also that deck is filled with Pokémon-EX which are easy targets for Night March. Unless you brick with your opening hand and get caught in an awkward item lock you should be good to go here.
(0.65 WR)


Trevenant (slightly unfavored)

Here we have the only 'unfavored' matchup that is relevant. Unless you're playing against some Vespiquen/Vileplume deck, Trevenant is the only deck that can setup an item lock going first. Even though it heavily depends on your opening hand it is really difficult to get out of that situation. Lysandre and Hex Maniac are your only options to get rid of the item lock and even if you have that Hex Maniac you're preventing yourself from using Shaymin-EX during that turn. The other problem we have is Bursting Balloon which is played in most Trevenant decks. Obviously you can try to play around it, but in most cases it's going to give you a headache. However since going first is coin flip based and getting Trevenant out on turn 1 is not guaranteed you're going to have a turn of items over 50% of the time.
(0.45 WR)

Vespiquen (no Vileplume) (even)

Much like the Night March mirror match this is all about trading Prizes back and forth. Depending on what Vespiquen version you're playing against the win percentage can go up and down, but against the most standard one which is running Yveltal and maybe Zoroark you should have the upper hand I think. While they need to evolve their Vespiquen to start attacking you can attack with your Night Marchers right away. Just keep in mind that Yveltal is able to knock out all of your Night Marchers for just a Darkness Energy. Getting off a good Captivating Poké Puff is really key in this matchup.
(0.50 WR)

Vespiquen (Vileplume) (unfavored)

Similar to Trevenant this deck is able to setup a turn 1 item lock going first. However this one is much more devastating. Lysandre is no longer an option to get out of it and Hex Maniac still denies your own Shaymin-EX. The fact that this deck also relies on non-EX attackers doesn't make it easier. Overall this should be really difficult to win against. The good thing here is that this deck will most likely see much less play than Trevenant. It did make top 8 at US Nationals, but I'm pretty sure that non many people will bring it due to its awkward matchups against anything but Night March.
(0.40 WR)

That's it with the coverage for Night March. I only split the Vespiquen matchup in Vileplume and non-Vileplume versions for Night March because I feel it's the only deck that you try to target down with Vileplume other than maybe Max Elixir decks, but that matchup shouldn't happen too often. Let's move on and take a look at some Vespiquen variants.

Vespiquen Variants

Vespiquen is actually my favorite deck for Worlds. In theory it should be the best deck as it has an even Night March matchup and its chances against other decks are great as well. You counter Seismitoad-EX's weakness, you're not having trouble with Pokémon Ranger and you make good use of the new cards like Special Charge and Captivating Poké Puff. The only problem I see is that the Trevenant matchup might not be the best one. They have the Bursting Balloon to deal 60 damage and then Silent Fear deals with the Vespiquen and slowly wears down your Bench as well. Other than that tough I don't think there are many things that can stop Vespiquen. This deck is also really consistent. Despite the fact that you have to run so many Pokémon in order to deal the ideal amount of damage with Vespiquen you still have a lot of card draw going on there as well. Besides the obligatory Shaymin-EX you also play Unown which lets you cycle through your deck faster while setting up Bee Revenges. A turn 1 Hex Maniac can be somewhat of a problem because so much of your card draw comes from abilities.

In terms of deck building you have a decent amount of options as well. While I would go for the simpler version of the deck with Yveltal and Zoroark you could also go for something with Crobat. Use Sky Field to build up a big Bench with multiple Golbat, Crobat and Shaymin-EX. While you use the Crobat to setup the first knock outs with Bee Revenge you can then use Parallel City later to discard all those Pokémon you don't need anymore and fuel Bee Revenge again to get the last knock outs. Other than that there's also the Vespiquen/Vileplume deck I've already mentioned above. That deck is mainly to counter Night March, but in my opinion it's not necessary to go that far. The 50:50 chance against Night March you have with the 'normal' version of Vespiquen is good enough. If you're a good player you should be able to win more often than not and with some techs like Delinquent you can even go for a better chance than just 50:50.

This is the Vespiquen version I would play. It doesn't run that many tech cards, but rather aims for a consistent game play. I do like the Delinquent in this deck because you can get rid of the Sky Field or Parallel City in some cases to manipulate the Bench size. It also helps you against Night March in particular if you can disrupt their hand in the late game where they usually don't have that many cards left. You can also use it to remove multiple Dimensional Valleys from play which is good against Night March and also Trevenant which is one of the weaker matchups you have. The Yveltal help you to keep up with Night March as you don't have to use a stage 1 attacker that requires a Double Colorless Energy each turn.

The following matchups are based on any Vespiquen build in general and doesn't include Vileplume. Of course there are some differences with the Vileplume version, but I don't feel the deck is too relevant for Worlds so we're going with the standard Vespiquen line here.

Night March (even)

As I've already mentioned this is a pretty even matchup as it is somewhat of a 'mirror match'. Prizes are being traded back and forth and this matchup is mostly decided by Captivating Poké Puff as it is one of the ways to get a Pokémon-EX in play if neither player decides to drop a Shaymin-EX.
(0.50 WR)

Water Toolbox (favored)

Much like Night March you have the upper hand here. While they heavily rely on Pokémon-EX that are even weak to Vespiquen. The only way they can really fight back is with Articuno, but that requires much more setup than your Vespiquen. The only reason I'm not going higher with the win percentage here is that you can get in an awkward spot where they pick up some Prizes with Articuno and you don't have the Vespiquen to counter it immediately. Also your Yveltal aren't that useful in that matchup, but I'm sure you're quite favored to win this matchup.
(0.65 WR)

Seismitoad-EX/Giratina-EX (slightly favored)

Similar to the Water Toolbox matchup Vespiquen can easily take on Seismitoad-EX. However with Ninja Boy you can get in trouble if they attack with Giratina-EX because they OHKO your Vespiquen and prevent you from attaching Double Colorless Energy unless you get that Pokémon Ranger. If you can avoid those tricky situations you should be good to go.
(0.55 WR)

Trevenant (slightly unfavored)

As always the turn 1 item lock from Trevenant can really set you back. However you do have the advantage that more of your card draw is based on abilities. You also don't need that many Pokémon in your discard pile to deal with Trevenant. Keep in mind that the 'slightly unfavored' matchup is based on any Vespiquen deck. If you're running something like the list above with dark types you have a much better matchup against Trevenant because Yveltal and Zoroark can easily deal with Trevenant.
(0.45 WR)

Next up we have the Seismitoad-EX decks which are mostly Seismitoad-EX/Giratina-EX and the Water Toolbox. Let's have a look at those, shall we?

Seismitoad-EX Variants

As I've already said above there are two major contenders that run Seismitoad-EX as their main attacker. Let's break down the Water Toolbox deck first. I'm not gonna provide you guys with a deck list for this deck here, because there are so many different versions of this deck. I'd much rather give you a brief explanation of how the deck is supposed to work and then talk about all the different possibilities you have. The Water Toolbox deck is a very fast one that relies on getting multiple Water Energy into play using Max Elixir. Most of those decks just run 12 basic Water Energy cards and no Double Colorless Energy at all. All of your attackers are Water Types that make great use of Manaphy-EX as well. Similar to the old Darkrai-EX, Manaphy-EX grants all of your Pokémon in play that have any Water Energy attached to them free retreat. That's really good because most of your guys are heavy and have high retreat cost. The deck's main attacker is obviously Seismitoad-EX. However the difference here is that you don't rely on Quaking Punch only, but rather knock outs with Grenade Hammer unless the Quaking Punch is really good in certain situations.


There are many other cards you can tech into that deck. One of the most interesting ones is definitely Articuno. With its ancient trait you get to draw an extra Prize if you knock out a Pokémon with it. Its attacks aren't that impressive and kinda rely on coin flips, but in most cases you only need to flip one out of three heads to get the knock out on that Night Marcher and draw 2 Prizes that way. With Max Elixir and Energy Switch you are able to attack with Articuno on your first turn. Other common tech cards in this deck are Regice and Glaceon-EX. Both of those are counters to certain decks, but with the addition of Pokémon Ranger I'm not sure if they're still viable. Prior to Steam Siege you could already use Lysandre to counter them, but now with another card that directly counters them I would just not play them anymore.

The big problem this deck has are its weak matchups against both Night March and Vespiquen decks, but I still think a good amount of people will play it because it’s one of the decks with a really good matchup against Trevenant and people like it. Let's take a look at some of the matchups.

Night March & Vespiquen (heavily unfavored)

Both of those matchups are heavily unfavored. While you have to rely on a perfect start and good Max Elixirs on Articuno to even stand a chance with them they simply do their stuff on turn 1 and wreak havoc on your deck. If you're lucky you can get away with an early Quaking Punch and put them in an awkward spot if they have a bad hand, but since you have to play a best of three match it's difficult to pull that off two times. The advantage against Vespiquen is that Articuno should be better against that deck as they need to evolve their Combee first to attack and if you can target them down fast enough you might be able to win, but the problem here is that your Seismitoad-EX is much worse against Vespiquen than it is against Night March.
(0.35 WR) 

Seismitoad-EX/Giratina-EX (favored)

This is one of the better matchups for the deck. With Rough Seas you're able to counter the damage from Quaking Punch relatively well and their special Energy disruption doesn't work against Water Toolbox. Also you have the ability to use Grenade Hammer instead of Quaking Punch which helps you to pick up Prizes much faster. Manaphy-EX is really good in this matchup as well because it gives you free retreat across the board most of the time which prevents them from using Lysandre to stall.
(0.60 WR)

Trevenant (heavily favored)

This is by far your best matchup. Trevenant does have the Item-lock, but what it doesn't have is a high damage output on single targets. They usually rely on Trevenant BREAK's Silent Fear attack which spreads 30 damage across the board. With Rough Seas in play you can remove that damage from all of your Water types which is the most part of your deck. Also Manaphy-EX has an attack that heals damage from your Bench. Both of these cards completely negate the damage output from Trevenant BREAK and the 60 damage form the regular Trevenant can also be negated by Rough Seas and continuous Retreating. Just keep in mind that you can't Bench too many Shaymin-EX and Hoopa-EX because they're gonna die to Trevenant eventually.
(0.80 WR)

The other Seismitoad-EX variant we have is Seismitoad-EX/Giratina-EX. It doesn't seem to be that good of a choice at first because all of its attacks are countered by Pokémon Ranger, but it might be viable. It does have a decent chance against Trevenant and the matchups against Night March and Vespiquen aren't that awful. This deck still does the same old thing as it tries to lock the opponent out of the game as early as possible. With Steam Siege there are a couple new tricks to the deck. One of them is Ninja Boy which I really like especially in this deck. The ability to swap between Seismitoad-EX and Giratina-EX within a single turn is really good. It also makes Hoopa-EX a little bit better as you can just shuffle it back into your deck if you happen to start with it. The same applies to Shaymin-EX and Absol which has seen less play lately, but I do think with Ninja Boy you can pick it up again as it provides you with some sort of utility and if you can use its Ability to Knock Out a Joltik, for example, that's really good.

That's the list I've been messing around with lately. I really like the Latios-EX in here as it improves your Night March and Vespiquen matchup a little bit. If you like you can include a Muscle Band because then you get to knock out 60HP basics on the first turn, but I don't think it's necessary. After you used Latios-EX on turn 1 which does require a Double Dragon Energy you can then use Ninja Boy to transform it into Giratina-EX and attack with Chaos Wheel.

One of the newer additions to this deck is the promo Shaymin-EX from the Generations Elite Trainer Box. Its ability is similar to Rough Seas as it heals all of your Benched Basic Pokémon for 20 damage each turn. This is especially good against Trevenant. It does count towards your total amount of 4 Shaymin-EX in your deck so you can't play multiple copies of it. I really think that it's a powerful card in this deck, but I'm not sure if that many people will play it as it's somewhat difficult to get if you're outside of the US, but keep that card in mind guys! The promo Shaymin-EX isn't available in the 60cards deck editor yet so I'm using the Next Destinies one as a substitute in case you're wondering. Other than that the list is fairly standard, I do still like the single copy of Team Aqua's Secret Base in this deck as a counter stadium.

Its matchups aren't the best against the decks I've tested, but it does have great matchups against many of the less frequent decks while still having a chance to compete with the top decks.

Night March & Vespiquen (slightly unfavored)

Both of these matchups are mainly decided by Pokémon Ranger. If they don't get it you should have a good chance of winning against them. However since they will have Pokémon Ranger more often than not the matchup is slightly in their favor. One of the ways you can have a better shot of winning here is if you get that early knock out with Latios-EX or if you can pick up a Prize with Absol during the late game.

(0.45 WR)

Water Toolbox (slightly unfavored)

The biggest problem in this matchup is that they have too much healing going on for your limited damage output. You can try to run them out of Energy if you're lucky enough with the Crushing Hammer coin flips and win the game that way. Attacking with Chaos Wheel and playing your own stadium is key in this matchup because then you should be able to 2HKO them.
(0.40 WR)

Trevenant (slightly favored)

With the promo Shaymin-EX you should have a really good matchup here. While you not only negate their Silent Fear attacks you also have very good attackers against their decks. Quaking Punch isn't the worst against Trevenant as they play a good amount of items themselves and Giratina-EX can easily knock out the regular Trevenant if you can get it out fast with Ninja Boy. Also Latios-EX is great if you can get an early knock out on one of their Phantump.
(0.55 WR)

The last deck we will talk about is none other than Trevenant. The deck that's been chosen to beat Night March, let's have a look at it!


Trevenant aims to get the fastest Item-lock in the game as it is able to come into play on turn 1 with the use of Wally. Multiple Shaymin-EX, Trainer's Mail and sometimes Battle Compressor help you to get there. If you can't get it out on turn 1 you have it as good as guaranteed on turn 2 because of Phantump’s Ascension attack which also works if you're going second. The fact that you're able to setup an item lock going first is really good especially against those Night March decks. The biggest factor here is that it is an item lock which can't be negated by Pokémon Ranger unlike Seismitoad-EX's Quaking Punch attack.

After you got your Trevenant in play you can go even further beyond and BREAK evolve it to get access to the Silent Fear attack. Silent Fear is the main attack of this deck, for just a single Psychic Energy if you have Dimensional Valley in play you're putting 3 damage counters on each of your opponent's Pokémon in play. Combined with the item lock you can wear your opponent down in just a couple of turns. The biggest offenders of this strategy are healing effects such as Rough Seas and the newly released promo Shaymin-EX. Rough Seas has been a staple in many water based decks and the Shaymin-EX will surely make its way into the metagame if Trevenant keeps on being popular.

This is a simple Trevenant list for you guys to mess around with. It does run Bursting Balloon which is the tech choice against Night March and Vespiquen decks. Unless they have a Fighting Fury Belt attached to their Night Marchers they get knocked out immediately just form an item card. Other than that there are a lot of disruptive cards like Head Ringer and Team Flare Grunt in this deck which work really well in combination with the item lock. I decided to put in a promo Shaymin-EX in this deck as well to help in the mirror match. That's pretty much everything I have to say about this deck, it's really simple in what it does yet very effective. Let's take a look at all the matchups!

Night March & Vespiquen (slightly favored)

As I've already said this is the main reason why you play this deck. Both of these matchups tend to go in your favor. Getting out the Trevenant early is key in those matchups. After that you just go for Silent Fears until their entire board disappears. Try to setup a board with only Trevenant in this matchup to prevent them from using Lysandre as an out against the item lock. You should also avoid playing too many Shaymin-EX here which shouldn't be that much of a problem as you don't need that many cards to get into the game.
(0.55 WR)

Water Toolbox (heavily unfavored)

There's the problem with Rough Seas and Manaphy-EX being able to negate pretty much all of your damage output. It is nearly impossible to win this matchup and heavily relies on who's going first. If you're able to get out your Trevenant on turn 1 and prevent them from getting into the game with Max Elixirs you might be able to sneak in a win, but it's certainly not the easiest task.
(0.20 WR)

Seismitoad-EX/Giratina-EX (slightly unfavored)

The unfavored part mostly comes from my testing experience with the promo Shaymin-EX. If they don't have it in their deck you certainly have a more even ground to play on. However they're not that much affected by the turn 1 item lock and with Ninja Boy they can do some cute things which could get you in trouble. Also the Latios-EX tech can really ruin your day if they knock out one of your Phantump on turn 1.
(0.45 WR)

Lastly I would like to share my spreadsheet with all the win rates form my testing sessions with your guys in case you were wondering where I got these numbers from, so enjoy!


That's it for the article, guys! I will be at Worlds this year and will definitely try to get better results than last year! My pick for the Worlds-winning deck is probably Vespiquen because it feels to me that it has the best matchups across the board. As always, if you have any questions, feel free to ask them in the comments and I will gladly answer them.

- Marc Lutz

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