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Shiv Luthra

Follow the Rainbow Road

While the new set BREAKpoint in just around the corner, let's look at a card from BREAKthrough that went a bit overlooked: Xerneas

01/26/2016 by Shiv Luthra

Well I did plan to write about the last week of cities and leading into Regionals but the East Coast was met with magical frozen white stuff from the sky so I am stuck indoors.

So in a bit of productivity I decided to start testing for Winter Regionals and I stumbled upon a deck that is equally powerful and fun: Xerneas, also known as Rainbow Road.

Introduction

While everyone was off with their Zoroarks and Gallades from BREAKthrough, a few people probably looked at Xerneas.

Xerneas is a 120HP Fairy type. The main attack is Rainbow Force which for [Y][C][C] does 10 damage plus 30 for each different type of Pokemon on your bench. The second attack Power Creation for [Y][Y][C][C] does 80 damage plus 80 if Xerneas was healed that turn.

Now Rainbow Force has the potential to be an incredibly powerful attack while it can only do 10 damage, with a deck designed around it, with 5 different types on the bench you hit for 160. With Skyfield and 6 different types on your bench you hit 190 damage and knockout most EXs. With a Muscle Band you now knockout some Megas like Mega Manectric and Mega Gardevoir.

Because you are forced to play Xerneas with different types of Pokemon you also make a versatile multi typed deck. You can have different attackers, different setup Pokemon, and you can even have different energy types since Xerneas really only needs one Fairy.

Due the versatility of Xerneas I decided to go over three different decks for it. Two for Standard and one for Expanded. So let's take a drive down Rainbow Road, and remember: if you fall of the road several times and plummet to Earth like a meteor, that's completely normal.

Xerneas Toolbox

1 Xerneas XY

This card is definitely your best starter in the deck. Geomancy helps get energy on the field to powerup the attacking Xerneas since it needs a Fairy and a DCE. You shouln't be using Rainbow Spear too often since you shouldn't attach to this card more than once.

1 Dedenne

On the subject of good starters, Dedenne can fufill that role as well as others. Entrainment lets you set your bench up with the attackers you need in any given matchup. Energy Short also gives you great offense against Yveltal since you can hit for knockouts with Muscle Band. Now even thought Xerneas resists Darkness, the fact that Xerneas needs 3 energies, prevents Dedenne from becoming too out of hand because Yveltal will only need 3 energies itself. This means even with a Muscle Band, Dedenne will be 10 damage short of one-shotting Yveltal-EX. Its still a nice addition nontheless.

1-1 Zoroark

Its hard not to throw this guy into a deck with DCE. It works really well in this deck because Stand In and retreat lets you cycle your variety of attackers. Mind Jack is also a respectable attack to just hit for chunks of damage or landing knockouts on Skyfield decks.

1-1 Vespiquen

Now there are only 14 Pokemon in this deck. So why Vespiquen? Well you need a grass type and Vespiquen is one of few (if not only) grass attacker for colorless energies. Bee Revenge also is not terrible if your able to hit for weakness against Seismitoad or Primals.

1 Druddigon

Its hard to think to include a dragon type in this deck. Dragons can no longer hit anything for weakness and most require a slew of different energy types. Druddigon is solid enough to fill out this type though. Revenge can hit for 90 damage for a DCE and that is respectable damage from a non-EX. It works well against Night March or sealing up knockouts that Xerneas missed.

1 Seismitoad-EX

The one EX attacker of the deck belongs to the biggest annoyance in the game: Seismitoad. There really isn't a versatile water attacker and Seismitoad's Quaking Punch is always available to lock up a game versus Night March or Vespiquen.

1 Jynx

Jynx is probably the least known card is this deck. Sure it was in Toad decks a while ago but its pretty much faded away. Jynx fufills the role of a Psychic type and Victory Kiss can serve two main purposes. The first is that Yveltal's Oblivion Wing will only deal 10 damage to Xerneas because of resistance so Jynx is great for getting rid of these small bits of damage. Also, in the late game if there's a Parallel City down then Xerneas's Rainbow Force caps at 100 damage. So why not look at Power Creation which for one extra energy can hit for 160 damage if Xerneas was healed by Victory Kiss.

1 Revive

The only item I'm going to go over in this deck because its not in the others and its the only real special one. This list has only 14 Pokemon. So discarding Skyfield or worse someone putting down Parallel City, is really hard to recover from. Revive can help recover from a Stadium loss or at worst can read "+30 damage".

 

Strengths:

  • A good amount of attackers
  • Good starting options

 

Weaknesses:

  • Too slow versus Night March or Vespiquen
  • Not entirely consistent at keeping Xerneas's damage high

 

Xerneas and Stage1s

This deck is a lot like the last but it's different enough to seperate the two.

2-2 Raichu

Yveltal. Raichu has always been a solid option for countering Yveltal in any deck with DCE. With this deck a lot more focused on evolution than basics, Raichu fits this bill much better than Dedenne. Xerneas and Raichu both want a packed bench so Raichu can be a scary attacker even when not hitting for weakness.

1-1 Ninetales

There aren't many flexible fire types these days. Charizard is the best and needs 3 energies for only 60 damage. Ninetales can do its job fine on the bench. With Barrier Shrine you don't have to worry about discarding Pokemon after a Skyfield discard because Ninetales won't let that happen. Its there as a bench sitter and is a priority when you already have an attacker.

1-1 Octillery

This deck does need a nice consistent engine and Octillery provides just that. With Abyssal Hand letting you fill your hand up you can get energies, more Pokemon, whatever you need faster. Its also a water type that isn't Seismitoad

1 Unown

This probably seems like a contradiction. Unown is a card you want to discard from your bench not leave it there to increase Xerneas's damage. I thought just that but after testing, Unown seemed like a really nice card. While you really don't want to discard it early on, it does what everyone else does: increase Rainbow Force. In the late game, Unown becomes less of a necessesity and you can discard it to get a last Lysandre, Energy, whatever on top of Abyssal Hand.

Everything else stays more or less the same, with some reduced counts on energy and Sacred Ash and Evosoda.

Strengths:

  • Most consistent
  • Raichu provides a powerful option that doesn't rely on type matchups

 

Weaknesses:

  • Ability Lock when you need Abyssal Hand or Barrier Shrine
  • Only 2 main attackers

 

Xerneas and Ho-oh

This is probably the most flexible deck of the ones mentioned. Ho-oh lets you choose the two energies you want alongside fairy allowing for a lot of creative options.

2 Ho-oh EX, 4 Energy Switch

Well with Xerneas's horns having rainbow colors, we may as well have the deck include the rainbow colored bird. Ho-oh isn't exactly the core of the deck but it is a huge part of it. Rebirth lets you energy accelerate and add another type to your bench. This is especially good if you go turn 2 where in best case scenario you get to Rebirth a Ho-oh with at least one energy and Energy Switch that to Xerneas that has a manually attached DCE, letting you Rainbow Force on your first turn.

Ho-oh is also acts sort of as a Ninetales replacement, not having to worry about Skyfield getting discarded because you can discard Ho-oh and HOPEFULLY get it back the next time you play Skyfield.

Xerneas also has a Metal weakness so Ho-oh can Rainbow Burn for 80 damage with a Muscle Band 100 and for weakness 200. It also helps as an Aegislash counter because it hits it for weakness and it has to come out of discard with only Basic energies.

1 Darkrai-EX

With 3 Darkness energies, Darkrai won't be attacking very often, but Dark Cloak and Energy Switch is definitely a nice combo so you can get something out of the active spot and just move around your attackers.

1 Keldeo-EX

When you have Darkrai and you need a Water type, Keldeo is just a solid option. With a Darkness Energy you can Rush In and retreat at will giving your board more options. Secret Sword can be used but without Water energy it is not advised to ever attack with the pony.

1 Yveltal BKT

While this slot did originally go to Yveltal-EX, I just found that Yveltal-EX didn't give this deck too much of an edge really anywhere. No one really plays Darkness weak Pokemon because of Yveltal-EXs existence. So I turned to the Pitch Black Spear Yveltal. I really really wanted to put Landorus-EX into this deck for a bench sniper but I really didn't want another energy type. Yveltal was a nice second option. For a Darkness and DCE you can deal 60 damage on the board twice and if this card ever gets to attack twice you should have a massive edge if you knocked out a Mew, Jirachi, or Shaymin.

Yveltal's ability to cancel out all tool effects is also a nice added bonus to eliminate Assault Vest. It helps in the Sableye/Garb matchup because you can disregard Life Dew. I wish that this ability canceled Garbodor's ability so that you can use Ho-oh, Hoopa, Shaymin, etc. but unfortunately Garbodor needs a tool not the effect the tool gives. This does let you Lysandre a Garbodor and it can't really move without the effect of a Float Stone.

1 Manectric-EX

It's as simple as an Yveltal counter. While Xerneas can get rid of Yveltal nicely with its Dark resistance, it's always nice to have another. Assault Laser can knockout any Lightning weak Pokemon like Yveltal or Mega Rayquaza that has a Tool. Overrun is just another bench snipe versus Night March which while not as good as Landorus it is something.

1 Pinsir

This is probably the most oddball choice in the deck. Pinsir's Heavy Suplex for [G][C][C] does 40 damage plus 20 for each [C] in the opponent's retreat cost. This doesn't seem too good of an attack but look at some top Grass weak pokemon. Seismitoad: 3 retreat cost. Primal Groudon: 4 retreat cost. Primal Kyogre: 4 retreat cost. Keldeo: 2 retreat cost. Blastoise: 4 retreat cost. Heavy Suplex one-shots Seismitoad, both the Primals, and Keldeo with a Muscle Band. The main issue here is that any Pokemon with a Float Stone attached will not take additional damage.

While the deck does have only one grass energy that problem is adressed with the powers of Energy Switch and....

1 Smeargle

Smeargle's Recoat ability makes Ho-oh all the more powerful. To play Ho-oh and make it effective, you need to split your energy counts across different energy types. This makes you less likely to draw the energy you need to have a Pokemon attack. With Smeargle, it is a lot easier to attack with Pokemon like Xerneas, Yveltal, and Pinsir where you just need one energy of a specific type.

1 Shaymin-EX

I chose only one because for one, I understand that some people (myself included) are not willing to drop $80 dollars on two pieces of cardboard and two, there's no point to having two Shaymin's on your bench as they'll end up just taking up space.

1 Hoopa-EX

Hoopa is this decks lifeblood. Got an Ultra Ball? Go for Hoopa. Got a Skyla? Go for an Ultra Ball to get Hoopa. It is just really good here, letting you get the right attackers and even Shaymin for you draw power thanks to Scoundrel Ring.

1 Mewtwo-EX

I need something to hard check Blastoise decks and for now Mewtwo is the guy to make them pay for loading Keldeo with so much energy. Also, when Skyfield gets discarded, Hoopa is someone you'd proably want to send to the discard pile so Mewtwo makes sure you still have a Psychic type.

1 Jirachi-EX

The supporter count in this deck is pretty low because you want this deck to go fast with Hoopa, Shaymin and just flood the board. Jirachi is not only one of the few versatile metal types but letting you get a supporter is always great.

Strengths:

  • Much Faster
  • Not as reliant on DCE
  • More attackers with more energy types

 

Weaknesses:

  • Ho-oh is on a coin flip making it inconsistent
  • Turn 1 Hex Maniac/Wobbuffet will give you a very very difficult time
  • Worst under Item Lock

 

Conclusion

To start because Xerneas is pretty versatile, I'm going to list some other options that you can run:

  • Golurk provides two types in one
  • Bronzong energy accelerates
  • Assault Vest
  • Stunfisk as a Revenge attacker
  • Landorus for bench damage

 

When all's said and done, this is more of a fun deck than competitive. I think that this deck definitely has a lot going for it and it has placed a couple in Cities. I wouldn't count an expanded version out for Regionals but I wouldn't recommend it.

Looking ahead to BREAKpoint, one card that can make all of these decks get pretty crazy is Max Elixir. This card lets you look at the top 6 cards of your deck, if you find a Basic Energy you may attach this to one of your benched Basic Pokemon. This can really help the Standard Xerneas decks I mentioned because then Xerneas can be powered up in one turn. While the Ho-oh deck has a lot more Basic attackers, the issue is that you want your energies in the discard to Rebirth Ho-oh so there won't be too many in the deck for Max Elixir to find. On the upside, Smeargle makes it so that you can find any energy and make it into the energy you want.

Hope you enjoyed the article and that you try out this deck for yourself.

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