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Daniel Altavilla

Max Repel: Warding off Bats in Standard

Daniel goes over Bats and soft and hard counters to them in the Standard format

12/14/2015 by Daniel Altavilla

Introduction

Hey, 60cards readers! Your favorite author is back, now with some tips on dealing with Crobat in Standard! City Championships have officially started up, and now that they're here, we'll need to work out what the right choices are for specific metas that can still beat Bat variants. I've chalked it down to a couple of my favorite plays, and I think with enough of a balance between consistency and important juicy techs, we can truly have a meta call for each meta in this undefined Standard format. 

It's also important to keep in mind that even though you have some decks in Standard that are important to beat, with such a huge variety of decks, you'll need to be prepared for other things too. For example, I ran M-Manectric/Raikou at a City Championship last weekend, and it was a good meta call to take care of Bat-related decks and Tyrantrum/Giratina from the tournament the day prior, but it was a horrible call on that day as a whole, because Mewtwo was at the tourney in abundance, as was Night March, two decks that pretty much stomp M Manectric-EX. 

That pretty much proved to me that right now one of the more important things to consider for decks that aren't strong enough to just OHKO whatever is in front of them is that the Bench can net you just as many Prizes as the Active position. This notion, along with the extra damage Bats put on the Active to assist in an OHKO, is what makes Bat decks such a strong force in the meta. Stage 1s can hardly survive, Shaymin-EX is seldom Benched to avoid a free two Prizes for the Bats player, and they have a backup attacker in Crobat for when their Pokémon-EX take too much damage. Bats decks are way too good right now, but that doesn't mean they're unstoppable. 

For example, one of the easiest ways to counter Crobat decks is to simply play Hex Maniac every turn that a Surprise Bite or Sneaky Bite could truly hurt you. But there are much stronger counters, so first I'll go over a bat deck, and then I'll explain exactly what beats them.

This deck was created by Zander Bennett and pretty much given out to the world because it's purely a good, fun deck that everybody was enjoying for the first week of Cities. This deck really packs a punch and beats so many decks in our current meta that it shouldn't be overlooked when deciding on a deck to run for an event. The thing that makes this Crobat deck in particular an awesome one is the ability to Brigette for three Pokémon on turn one. If you pull it off, you'll usually have two or three Zubat on the field ready to be Evolved during your next turn and putting an extra 60 damage on the field right away. The thing that makes this deck vulnerable is that it takes a pretty hard loss to Giratina-EX and Seismitoad-EX (sometimes) unlike Manectric-Ex/Bats or Toad/Bats. I've made some slight changes to the original list, but it's still pretty much exactly the same, so I'll go over it to show everyone the deck's power despite such an awkward looking list.

3 Unown/3 Brigette

Although I didn't build the deck, after playing it for a while, I'm pretty certain that I know what the inclusions are meant for. Unown obviously is a great Pokémon to Bench in this deck because you can use it to add 20 to Raichu's Circle Circuit and then next turn, maybe after a Judge by your opponent, you can discard it right away to get another card and hopefully hit the card you need. If your hand is trash on your first turn but you need to hit one card specifically, you can Brigette into an Unown or two and hopefully get the card you need, or at least a Plan B, off of Farewell Letter. So including these two cards in this deck makes a lot of sense compared to running a lower Brigette count or Eeveelutions over Unown. 

2-2/1 Feebas-Milotic PRC/Milotic FLF

Milotic is awesome. Originally, Zander ran two Sparkling Ripples Milotic in a 2-2 line and called it a day, but after I took two losses to Giratina-EX/Bronzong, I thought it was time to tech an Energy Grace in here, too. In theory it's awesome because your opponent is never ahead on Prize trade, they can only win by locking you out of attacking. So if you prevent them from doing that with Energy Grace, then you should be able to finish out the game pretty easily. Also, you can put two Energy on Jirachi so that it's not getting Flare Grunted by Toad/Tina decks and then being deemed useless. 

Also, keep in mind that Sparkling Ripples can grab ANYTHING out of your discard pile. You don't have to necessarily grab a Raichu; you can grab Sacred Ash to shuffle in Raichu and other Pokémon, and do combo plays in that way. For such a simple ability, there are many different ways you can use it, and sometimes finding the right card with it makes the difference between winning a game and losing it.

1 Jirachi

It's kind of important that I mention Jirachi, because I still see people using him wrong. If you try and use Stardust at any point during your game, it won't be as effective as using it when you absolutely need to. For example, you have a Raichu Active against your opponent's Seismitoad-EX. You want to hit it twice for 160 and get it out of there, but if you do, then they can use Super Scoop Up. So, it would probably be best to Stardust, take off their DCE, and hope that you can use the Buddy-Buddy Rescue in your hand to grab Golbat out of your discard next turn to hit for 180 and not have to worry about a Super Scoop Up. There are other situations, but that was the type of situation I found myself in many times when I piloted the deck at Cities. 

1 Teammates

Teammates is always kind of a bad card in decks like this one because you always want four or five different cards every turn so that you not only have a return attack, but you have a Pikachu on the Bench ready to go for when your Raichu gets slaughtered. Teammates can't give you all four or five of those cards, but it can guarantee you a KO most of the time, which is pretty important. Plus, it's reassurance. A Professor Sycamore can always cause you to whiff the KO AND the backup Pika, while Teammates always grants you at least one and sometimes, when you're lucky enough, both! Moral of the story is that if you're a high-risk, high-reward player, you can probably drop Teammates for a third Sycamore, but if you're worried more that you'll whiff or you're a methodical player, Teammates is probably better for you. 

1 Buddy-Buddy Rescue

This card doesn't really need an explanation, but I thought it might be pretty important to point out that this card forces your opponent to pick up a Pokémon out of their discard. You can potentially Brigette for an Unown on your first turn, and then Farewell Letter, and then Buddy-Buddy into the Unown, and force your opponent to pick their Gallade out of the discard, making Maxie's tougher. Alternatively, you can also give Night March back a Shaymin-EX or you can give Toad/Bats that last Crobat they need to win the game. It's common sense when to use this card and when not to, but I felt it was important to go over it anyways because some people just don't grasp that some cards can potentially be more harmful than helpful in certain situations.

Other Choices For This Deck

Raichu BREAK and Lightning Energy: Zander originally ran no Buddy-Buddy, and he had Lightning over Water. But with just one BREAK in the deck, it turned out that it was too inconsistent and not super necessary. Although that 170 is a beautiful number for some matchups, it just isn't worth it compared to being able to attack with Milotic in a desperate situation.

4 Level Ball, third Sycamore, 0 Brigette: This is what I'd run if Brigette wasn't cutting it anymore. This makes your matchup against Toad quite tougher, but it makes it more consistent to get out your Pokémon and to set up.

1-1 Octillery: Octillery is a great card. He's essentially Shaymin-EX minus the whole "I'm a liability late-game" thing. He also has an interesting attack, locking your opponent's Active late game. When paired with Crobat, you can lock a Pokémon Active, for a while, set up multiple Raichu, KO that Pokémon with a Bat and then continue on to KO a second Pokémon or simply keep the lock going! This is an interesting attack for late game when resources are expended. Octillery can pull out those 25-minute grinders, and can also force ties. Keep this card in mind!

Now that we've gone over one of the more prominent Bats decks in the format, let's hop right into some meta decks that can contend with most of the meta while still beating this deck and other Bats decks.

Good Decks with Soft Counters

As I stated in the beginning of the article, there are plenty of decks that are important to watch out for besides Bats. Some of those include Giratina/Tyrantrum/Bronzong, Night March, Yveltal/Zoroark variants, Mega Manectric, and Mega Mewtwo. With that in mind, I picked 2 decks that have the most solid matchups around the board: Night March/Bronzong and M Manectric-EX/Techs.

 

This deck just got second in a City Championship in Florida, being piloted by Mike Canaves, and I'm pretty sure Brandon Smiley ran it to a second place finish in Texas. No matter how this deck is built, the list is always going to be a card or two off at most, which shows how tight this list is even for just a 1-1 Bronzong line. The main culprits are Giovanni's Scheme and Xerosic. Night March rarely needs to Sycamore late game, so they use a toolbox of Supporters to get whatever they need done, done. You need 20 more damage to OHKO M Manectric-EX? No biggie, Giovanni. You need to take off both of Giratina's Energy with Jirachi? No biggie, Xerosic. You're afraid of Bats? Don't ever Bench a Joltik, and when you do, Hex Maniac. It’s pretty awesome how much of a counter to everything Night March has become with a couple simple Supporters. 

3 Trainers’ Mail

Trainers’ Mail grabs you that sweet, sweet Buddy-Buddy Rescue late game when your deck consists of only 3 cards. It's an awesome card in this deck and when people omit this card for Town Map and other things, it really ruins the consistency of spamming attackers and of setting up for 180 on turn 1. Also, who needs Town Map when you have the ability to add 20 to your attack with Giovanni's Scheme?
 Another thing about this card over things like Roller Skates and Acro Bike or a 4th Shaymin-EX is that it's literally not a liability no matter what. With Acro you can hit two cards you need and have to discard one. With Skates you can simply flip Tails. But with Trainers’ Mail, you'll most likely always hit a card, whether it be what you need or not. And most of the time, if you don't need it, you can just fail the Mail and keep the card you wanted in your deck for later.

2 Buddy-Buddy Rescue

Remember how in the Raichu portion of this deck I mentioned that Buddy-Buddy could be a liability? Well it's the same for this deck, too. That's why sometimes I'd prefer one Revive and one Buddy-Buddy Rescue, but you run a Super Rod anyways, so I doubt you'll ever need Revive. Buddy-Buddy is just way better because it can grab out Bronzong and Shaymin-EX. You could use Battle Compressor to discard ANY Pokémon, and then use Buddy-Buddy Rescue to get it back into your hand. That pretty much makes them two extra Ultra Balls!

1-1 Bronzong

This line is kinda lame because you could easily Prize them or you could just never see them in the game but also Bronzong isn't necessary at a thicker line so this is all we need. The idea is that you do 180, get two Prizes, and attach a Metal to one of your attackers with Metal Links, and then next turn manually attach or just Metal Links again after promoting a Pokémon with a Float Stone attached. This not only gives you unlimited attacks, but it allows you to get through Giratina-EX's Chaos Wheel. Yeah, there's nothing stopping the Giratina player from Chaos Wheeling to KO Bronzong, but if they do that, they're either keeping a DCE in play or giving you an extra turn to attach your second Metal Energy. It's a win-win for you! 

Other Choices for This Deck

1 Assault Vest: Lucario-EX gets through Pumpkaboo's Weakness, making him a very solid attacker. But in order to OHKO Pumpkaboo, he needs 1 Strong Energy and one Muscle Band. With an Assault Vest attached, you're punishing Lucario-EX/Bats heavily and you're also giving your Joltik a fighting chance against Seismitoad-EX. Not to mention never getting your Joltik KO'd by Sky Return again!

Second Jirachi: For the mirror match and if there's too much Giratina in your area. One Jirachi pretty much does the trick when paired with AZ, but two helps you start with it more and it also helps you find it when going through your deck turn one.

So this is a deck that potentially beats everything. It has a horrible Yveltal/Zoroark matchup, but it smashes everything else, so as with every other deck this format, it's a meta call, but it also can destroy Bats decks, and that sets it above the rest. This next deck is also a Bat killer, and one of my favorite plays so far.

Here we go, baby! You all know me and how much I love Mega Manectric, and yet again I have a cool M Manny list for you all! Complete with heavy counters for Gallade/Lucario and all! My pal Chris Hoag gave me the idea to pair Cresselia and Smeargle, and my other pal Harrison Leven and I decided it would be a cool idea to go 2/2 split on Rough Seas/Parallel City, which eventually became 2/1. I think that M Manectric has Devolved from an all-around consistency machine and turned into a deck that uses heavy techs to become successful, but regardless the deck IS successful, which is all that matters. If the list seems all over the place at first, it's simply because of the previous statement.

2 Raikou

Raikou is an amazing card. I never knew exactly how incredible Raikou was until the City I played an M Manectric-EX/Raikou deck in, when I was facing a Zoroark deck in Round 1. I had a Raikou set up with an Assault Vest attached, and only two Benched Pokémon. This meant that my opponent's Zoroark was only hitting 10 damage every turn, and I had three Prizes left, so he only had three turns to KO me. He could've attached Basic Energy, but he would still only be hitting 50, meaning the game was 100% locked because my Raikou wasn't going to get KO'd anytime soon.
 
Raikou also is a solid attacker against Raichu/Crobat. 160-60=100, so they still need a Golbat to OHKO you, and if they don't have it, you're taking between 2-4 Prizes with one Pokémon! And let's not forget the capabilities you have with Parallel City. With that card, Raichu is hitting a literal 0 damage. Talk about tanky!

1 Pikachu-EX

I don't like this card too much, but it's the only guy in this deck that can hit more than 110 damage at a time. I use Pika for the Tyrantrum matchup, which is usually impossibly difficult, but with Pikachu able to OHKO Tyrantrum-EX, it becomes much easier. The only negative thing about this Pokémon is his low HP and the fact that you can start with him.

1 Cresselia

Cresselia is the only Psychic-type attacker I like. With a Stadium in play, he has free Retreat, so he's pretty solid to OHKO Gallade and then to Retreat and prepare for the next Gallade. Back when Machamp-EX was a thing in my area, I actually built M Manectric-EX but with that horrible Promo Latios, and this Cresselia is pretty much that Latios but way better. Healing 20 is also an interesting effect when paired with Assault Vest, because this makes another Pokémon that you can heal damage from in the way you do with Rough Seas.

1 Smeargle

I was so excited for Smeargle to come out because it really makes M Manectric a toolbox. In theory you can run six Lightning Energy, one Psychic, one Water, and then Psychic/Water attackers and be able to consistently use them as long as Smeargle is in play. It seems that Manectric-EX is definitely leaning towards a toolbox too, so it's worth testing this little guy out in the deck and seeing exactly how far you can push him!

2 Assault Vest

PSA: Assault Vest attached to M Manectric-EX who also has a Flash Energy attached to it causes said Manectric to not get OHKO'd by Primal Groudon-EX's Gaia Volcano! Your Groudon matchup is still horrid, but it gets a little bit better with that knowledge. When Max Potion comes out, I could see running Tool Retriever in M Manectric-EX decks to pick up your Spirit Link and attach Assault Vest, just to have a tank that is mostly impossible to OHKO. 

1 Parallel City/2 Rough Seas

1 Parallel City is pretty much just another tech for Tyrantrum/Giratina/Bronzong, but it also helps as a counter to Bats decks. After turn one, when they drop down a couple Bats and a Shaymin-EX, you drop Parallel City, and then if they don't have a counter Stadium, they pretty much lose. Alternatively, you can use it as a Giant Stump, discarding your own Bench down to three, so that you can discard your Shaymin-EX, and deny your opponent Prizes. So many options! Rough Seas are an obvious choice for this deck, and they're more important for Raikou than for M Manectric-EX. They allow Raikou to survive two or three attacks at a time before finally giving up a Prize, which is pretty ridiculous for a Pokémon that only gives up one of them. 

1 Giovanni's Scheme

Giovanni is pretty necessary. It allows you to 2HKO an opposing Manectric-EX, and allows Pikachu-EX to OHKO any Basic EX if it already has a Muscle Band attached. It also works as the extra 20 Cresselia needs to OHKO Lucario-EX if you can't find your Muscle Band. It's just more accessible. 

2 Flash Energy

Flash Energy at a 2-of doesn't come out that often, but when it does, it's very important. You could run a third, but it's scary running multiple Flash knowing that you can't Retreat Shaymin-EX with them and that you can't Turbo Bolt them. 

Other Choices for This Deck

Target Whistle: This card allows for you to take four Prize Cards off of any Shaymin-EX your opponent Benches or to fill up your opponent's last Benched spot with a card they don't need. It's just a spooky tech that can ruin some people's days.

Super Rod: To shuffle back in Smeargle or Cresselia after they get KO'd, and to put back in Basic Energy, because attaching an Energy each turn is a big deal for this deck.

Regice and Waters over Psychic: Regice gives you a win against Groudon-EX, so it's dependent on what your meta is, but Regice can pull out wins you usually wouldn't expect to earn. It's also a pretty sweet desperation attacker with Ice Beam.

 Hard Counters

Now that we've gone over a couple decks that are a force in any meta and can still handle Bats, it's time to go over two decks that Bats pretty much have no chance of ever defeating. One of them happens to be a deck we've seen already, and one has your good ol' Daniel Altavilla techs inside to become a hard counter to these decks. 

 

This deck actually won a Regional in UK recently, but my list is a bit different. My idea is to use Regigigas as a tank against Night March and Raichu in order to stay alive for a while. When paired with M Sceptile-EX's Jagged Saber, your Regigigas will usually last a long while, and when paired with Ariados, he's able to 2HKO any Basic EX. When you mix it with the regular power and consistency behind Sceptile, you have a deck that can't be beat. Super Scoop Up gives you an option for Prize denial, Ariados allows you to stall if you can keep an opponent's Pokémon out long enough without them playing an AZ, and you even have a Jirachi for Night March, who when paired with Ariados can put some damage on anything! 

4-3 M Sceptile-EX

Sceptile is a great card for the Ability to put 2 Energy on 2 different Pokémon on the Bench and heal them both with just one attack. He's also wonderful because he has Theta Stop, which means he can't be affected by Surprise Bite and Sneaky Bite, thus keeping him from ever being OHKO'd by a Bats deck. That Ability alone makes him a counter to anything Bat!

1 Mega Turbo

Surprisingly, nobody has been running Mega Turbo in these decks! It's really awful seeing a deck with Forest of Giant Plants that can't attack on turn one. I would love two Turbo if I could find the room, but in this crazy list it's pretty tough picking any card worth replacing. 

1 Virizion 

Virizion isn't the best card in this deck because it already has Regigigas, but I use it for Bail Out more so than its second attack. It's pretty much a Super Rod, except straight to your hand, which is solid for when you have to give up a bunch of Pokémon early on to a bad Sycamore or something. 

Other Choices for This Deck

Super Rod: The ability to get Pokémon and Energy out of your deck without actually having to use an attack is always nice, and this card can even actually grab the Virizion back, so it's definitely an option for this list.

Second Jirachi: If you're constantly getting smashed by Night March, the only answer I can see is a second Jirachi promo. If you can take off all 4 DCE's and still be in the game, you'll most likely pull out the win, and Jirachi is one of the best ways to do this. 

Here you go! My personal favorite out of the two hard counters to Crobat. Mostly just because of the weirdness of the list. I love those spooky, crazy, meta-deck-with-a-twist lists, and this is exactly that. It does feel lame sharing a Crobat deck as a response to other Crobat decks, but if you can't beat 'em, join 'em!

2 Wobbuffet

Wobbuffet is a crazy attacker able to hit big, big damage and only giving up one Prize. If you start with one of these bad boys, your opponent can't use Set Up on their turn, so that's even better! Pairing him with Judge and a KO all in one turn can lead to an unexpected comeback and really put you into a powerful board position. Also, he's the one counter Manectric has to Damage Change Mewtwo-EX!

2 Head Ringer

Head Ringer is pretty solid for obvious reasons, but I hate the card in matchups with no Pokémon-EX, which there are plenty of in this format. It's a crazy card for some matchups, but for many recently it's just a dead card.

2 Wide Lens

Wide Lens is awesome. You're hitting Shaymin-EX on the Bench for 40! If you have Giovanni's in hand on t1, you're getting a KO on a Zubat and doing 40 to another. Next turn, you're KO'ing the Zubat/Golbat and then putting 40 on something else weak to thunder, and so on. It's just incredible being able to destroy those annoying Bats so quickly and for only one Energy and one Pokémon Tool! 

Alternatively, you can use Crobat's Skill Dive to hit 60 onto thinks like Mienfoo, (as if that matchup wasn't an autowin already) or putting 60 onto Lucario-EX to scare your opponent out of promoting one. You could even place it onto Golbat to spread 20 onto everything your Opponent has in play that has Psychic Weakness!

 1 Skyla

 Skyla is a weird card in a deck like this, but the point of it is to grab your Wide Lens or Head Ringer on turn one so that you're prepared for what lies ahead. Skyla is a versatile card and can net you anything you need for free, which is reassuring in a deck where almost every card is one you'd rather not want to discard.

 1 Level Ball

 1 Level Ball is just to grab you a bat for free whenever. It can be grabbed out with Skyla which is why I thought it would be acceptable to run it at a 1-of. I originally had it out of the list until I decided to run a Skyla.

 Other Choices for This Deck

4 Wobbuffet: Wobb at a four-of means you'll frequently start with it, and that's a pretty big deal against certain decks, especially Night March. It's also a wonderful attacker, so I could see running a second Dimension Valley, another two Wobbs, and four Psychic Energy, just to have those annoying attackers ready to destroy your opponent.

1 Sacred Ash: I omitted a recovery card because I found it not very neccessary with Manectric's ability to hit 140. You're only going to need a 2-2-1 Bat line and a couple Scoop Up heads throughout the entire game, most of the time, so I didn't think Ash was needed, but if you're comfortable with it, it's definitely an option.

1 Stunfisk: Stunfisk is a weird card in this deck, but the idea behind it is that you're able to hit 100 after your Wobb gets KO'd, so when paired with Bat damage you have multiple non-EX attackers at your disposal. It's not the best possible card in this deck, but it's still pretty solid. Especially if Zoroark is big in your area!

So those are my two choices for hard counters to Crobat decks, after careful consideration for what exists in the meta as a whole and for what things to look out for in Bats decks themselves.

 Conclusion

So yet again I leave you all with a "please play these decks and leave me feedback!" I love hearing from you all, whether "good" or "bad" comments, it's wonderful knowing whether I'm doing a good job or not analyzing each meta. I try not to name off decks that I dislike in the meta, while keeping my friends' secrets and my own on the down low, and it's really not easy! But in the future you'll see a bunch more of me, my insight, and my decklists.

As always, make sure to leave a [+1] if you enjoyed the article, make sure to go check out my YouTube channel The Tuff Puff, where we've started going over what's hot in Japan, and leave comments if you have any questions or concerns! Happy Holidays and until next time,

-Daniel Altavilla

[+7] okko


 

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