Experts' corner

Daniel Altavilla

"Gotta Beat 'Em All" - Anti-Meta Decks for States

Daniel goes over a couple decks he feels have the best chance to take out the competition at States.

04/01/2016 by Daniel Altavilla


Hey there, 60cards readers! I'm back again and I have a special treat for you all. For this article, I will be sharing two decks I've been working hard on to shape up for States. Both of these decks are anti-meta, one just running a special attacker and one being built specifically to counter the top-tier decks. Everybody knows that rogue decks usually barely even do their job and then they lose to everything else, but I feel these two decks can easily be top-tier for rogues. I'm hoping these decks can see play in other areas, because I'd like to see how they stand up to the various regions' metas.

First off, we have my M Manectric-EX/Cresselia build, which is built with a strong matchup against YZG, Night March, Trevenant, Greninja, and Toad-based decks. Here is the list:


This deck has been very consistent in my testing, and my friend Brit Pybas even piloted the deck to a Top 16 finish at a Week 1 States. Had more people known about/played the variant, I'm sure we could've seen even more success. It has no trouble with damage spread or Toad, but it still struggles with Gallade and Night March because you need so many pieces to create the perfect setup. While it may have some trouble beating these decks, I'd say the matchups are still positive for you if you can keep running into consistent draws and the things you need. Misty helps in this regard if you haven't realized that already. I'll go into the counts and the choices to help explain the deck.

3-3 M Manectric-EX

This is pretty much the safe number for Manectric now, because every variant is running so many new Basic attackers and there isn't much room besides through getting rid of one of the Basics. This count can definitely not be touched besides going back up to 4-3.

2 Jolteon-EX

Two Jolteon could be excessive, but this deck needs to beat Night March and if one of your Jolteon are Prized, you scoop. I think the second Jolteon can be switched out for Raikou if there is a lot of Vespiquen and non-EX in your meta, as Raikou is the best answer for those.

2 Cresselia

Cress is in here as the trusty rusty counter for Gallade. She's got an Ability that works perfectly with Rough Seas, and she is a wonderful starter against March, only giving up one Prize. Her attack is nifty, healing 20, and when she has 150 HP with Fighting Fury Belt, she becomes a tank in her own right. She smashes Trev, or forces them into a Tree Slam, so you have a turn of Rough Seas on everything your opponent couldn't hit. Cress is such a strong card in here.

1 Hoopa-EX

Hoopa-EX is only acceptable because you are running ten Pokémon-EX besides him in here. He grabs whatever the heck you need very quickly, so he is obviously great in here.

4 Sycamore/1 Judge

Four Sycamore is standard, and one Judge is usually standard, but 4/1 seems sort of inconsistent in this sort of deck. I feel that with the Elixirs, Mails, Compressors, etc. you should be able to easily run through your deck and not have to worry about the thin draw line.

1 Skyla/1 Misty's Determination

Skyla and Misty are almost the same thing. Skyla searches your deck for any Trainer, while Misty looks at your top eight. They both serve the purpose of grabbing out a card you need. The only difference is, Skyla is guaranteed. So why even bother with Misty? Because she can grab Double Colorless Energy. Yeah, the odds aren't the greatest, but it's still possible. And you can discard a Basic Energy from your hand so that you have a target for Turbo Bolt. I think Misty found her home in this deck.

1 AZ

AZ's purpose is to heal your Manectric under Item-lock, pick up Hoopa from the Active spot, pick up Shaymin so it isn't a target late game, or to pick up your Bench versus Night March so they can't kill your Jolteon with a Catcher/Lysandre or Escape Rope/Lysandre. It's a great card here.

3 Max Elixir

Three Max Elixir is fair in here because you can miss one and still hit two for two different Cress/Jolteon etc. Max Elixir makes it so that against things like March and Gallade, you can have your guys set up in only one turn instead of needing to spend a turn using Turbo Bolt.

4 Trainers’ Mail

Four Mail is standard in M Manectric-EX decks usually, but you can drop one for a Max Potion or Super Rod or something that you feel you absolutely need.

2 Fighting Fury Belt

Fighting Fury Belt is in here so Cresselia can hit 80×2=160 on Gallade. Without it, Cresselia is pretty moot, so that's why we have two. You can always find it with Skyla and Mail, so it's not bad at the low count. I thought maybe it was bad because it won't work on M Manectric-EX for the mirror, but then I realized you are giving a regular Manectric-EX 210 HP (as much as the mega) and hitting for 130, so you are two-shotting them and they are three-shotting you.

2 Battle Compressor

I've seen lists running only one because of Max Elixir, and I could see dropping one for a fourth Elixir, but I feel that it becomes too much of a Basic-oriented deck instead of the M Manectric-EX variant it needs to be for Toad, Trev, and Greninja.

1 Escape Rope

Escape Rope is a great card in this deck for switching out any of your starters. It could be a Switch, but I personally love the added pressure of Escape Rope.

2 Rough Seas

This card isn't really a tech, but it wasn't being played bigger than a one-of throughout cities, and saw zero play during Regionals in favor of Parallel City or even Silent Lab. I feel with all the spread potential found in the game through Bats, Greninja, and Trev BREAK, that we need a card capable of nullifying a board sweep. This card is also very strong for Jolteon-EX, because against something like Manectric/Bats where they will be using Crobat to attack, you have the option of constantly healing and healing and never getting KO'd before they run out of Bats. Keep this card at a two-of!

7 Lightning/3 Psychic

I went with a 7/3 split instead of 6/4 or 5/5 because you rarely need the Psychic but when you need it you will have it usually. Most of the time if I'm using Elixir, it's to hit a Lightning. I could see 6/4 being alright but 5/5 makes it harder to hit the one-turn Jolteon because you could snipe a Psychic instead of a Lightning. I'd much rather have a two-turn Cress versus the inconsistent Maxie engine in Standard than a one-turn Jolteon versus the best deck in format.

2 Double Colorless Energy

These are obviously just to set up the one-turn attacks. A third could be cool, but I never tested more than two because I've never needed more than two! Could just be good luck on my part, but it seems the deck runs into them fine with Misty and the consistent burning you accomplish through Hoopa and Trainers’ Mail.

So there's the first deck! It's definitely a simple list, and I really seemed to stretch out explanations for the simpler card choices, but it's important to know the why behind the what instead of just blindly net-decking. This is especially the case when I'm practically begging you readers to build and test with my decks!

Here are some notes about the deck I've mentally recording while testing with it:

- It has no trouble under Item-lock, even if it was a turn-one Trev. It is a turn-three Turbo Bolt, but if you play the game right and Lysandre at the proper time, you'll be able to get Manectric out of there before it's KO'd and you can prevent plenty of KO's.

- In the Trev matchup, the best thing to do is Lysandre the Wobbs. They are the only Pokémon that can quickly KO Manectric, and you have zero Pokémon that suffer from Wobb being Active besides Shaymin-EX, which you either couldn't play down anyways because your hand was too full, shouldn't play down, or simply can't get out of the deck.

- YZG is NOT easy. You have to watch your Bench because of Zoroark without Benching too much because of Gallade. Never make a Gallade last for four Prizes, and always prepare for two Gallade in a row. What I like doing is leading with Manectric until my opponent is prompted into a Gallade attack, swinging with Cresselia, and setting up another Manectric immediately. Don't forget if they stupidly attach a Tool to Yveltal-EX it's a free kill for the regular Manectric-EX and Shaymin are always free as well.

- Seismitoad-EX/Giratina-EX isn't an easy matchup by any means, but if you can Turbo Bolt onto Jolteon and keep attaching Energy the matchup turns into an autowin. Also, save your DCE for the turn you're hit by Head Ringer so you can sneak it on and Turbo Bolt. 

- Greninja is a scary matchup. You don't have too many Pokémon that can dish out enough damage to OHKO, so I like to keep a Manectric-EX on the Bench ready to OHKO a Banded Greninja if my opponent ever gives me the option. Rough Seas goes far, but don't give your opponent the option to Retreat and fully heal. AZ is crucial. (If this deck is big in your area, run a Max Potion or two!)

- Mirror is easy. Don't Bench Shaymin if you don't have to. AZ whatever is getting hit. Or just don't evolve your Manectric because you are two-shotting your opponent's whole deck and you can set up with Max Elixirs so you don't always need to Turbo Bolt.

- The deck often finds itself in a position to Skyla or Sycamore. Skyla is a guaranteed anything, but Sycamore is a potential something plus an additional six somethings. You have to be the judge of your pace for that game, so if you feel you can survive with the one card, use Skyla. This is often the best case before you thin your deck, with Sycamore being the better choice after. 

- DON'T FORGET ABOUT YOUR MISTY! Misty is nuts for the late game when you have a thin deck and you need a card. You ever top deck a card you need but can't play down yet and then lose because now you can't Sycamore? Not anymore, because Misty will solve that issue!

That's about it for this deck! It's very simple but there are little things that can definitely add up to cause you to lose. So now that we have covered this deck, let's talk on the actual "rogue" I've invented, and been working on since before Florida Regionals.


So this deck was one that started out as just Turbo Giratina-EX. The idea was to get it able to beat Sableye/Garb, Groudon, and Yveltal. My list started out very aggro and then my pal Michael Canaves helped me fix it up to how it is now. I'll explain the craziness that is Turbotina. 

3 Giratina-EX

Three Giratina is so you can always have it able to be placed on your Bench. With only two, if you start one and Prize one, you have none to Bench thus none to Elixir onto, and we want turn-one Elixir with this deck all of the time because we want turn-one Chaos Wheel.

1 Latios-EX PLF

This Latios was for Yveltal-EX. It OHKOs an Yveltal with Laser and Fury Belt and then all three Energy on it get discarded, so they can't reply for an OHKO.

1 Latios-EX ROS

This guy was added because we have some Psychics and I wanted to donk. Also, he shuts off the threat of Accelgor DEX which I expected plenty of in Florida. 

1 Seismitoad-EX

I added Toad because of Sableye. If we weren't able to donk because either we went second or they started two Basics, we go for a Toad with as many Basic Energy as possible from Elixir and then Quaking Punch our way to victory. Autowin matchup. Toad is also just great to have as an option.

1 Keldeo-EX

Keldeo might be a little redundant with Scoop Ups, but being able to make him Active and assure a Tina on the Bench is important. Also, Poison/Sleep is annoying.

1 Bunnelby

This little punk was Mike's addition. Personally, it makes sense, but it can't really do too much besides guarantee enough endgame DDE's. I like the option to Burrow an unsuspecting opponent though, as those wins are the most satisfying.

1 Giovanni's Scheme

I added this card after removing LaserBank because I wanted the option for donks on Sableye. It could easily be a Band but the chance for extra 20 plus a Tool is important. 

1 Delinquent/1 Ghetsis

Ghetsis on turn one can knock your opponent out of the game. Delinquent late game can knock your opponent out of the game. Both are amazing. My reasoning for Delinquent was that versus Groudon, you knock out Silent Lab, so they have no Stadium in play to discard and can never draw Prizes against a Giratina-EX. Also, they already have trouble setting up, so no Beach and constant Delinquent can also hurt their setup. My reasoning for Ghetsis was mostly to get Items out of Sableye’s hand after a Junk Hunt and to beat Yveltal/Maxie's.

3 Hypnotoxic Laser

Why Laser when I dropped Virbank? Because it's a busted card. Also my opponent will always play the Virbank for me, and the option to put them to Sleep randomly is great.

1 Burst Balloon

I added Balloon in here last minute. It's not crazy at all, but it's for being able to OHKO any 170-HP EX with Giratina so you don't have to break the Chaos Wheel.

1 Tool Scrapper

This card is meant to get rid of Fury Belts and in Sableye's case, Life Dew.

1 Computer Search

Mike went with Dowsing in the list he was testing I believe, but I think I'd rather have a more consistent turn one with this deck. Dowsing is never smart in a deck that needs one of only four Special Energy to thrive.

2 Sky Field

We play so many Pokémon and they're all necessary so they're all always on the Bench. You need this card to have them readily available.

4/4 Grass/Psychic

This hardly matters. I went with half and half because it opens the option for Hoopa-EX to attack if for some reason that became an option, and to easily get out psychics for Fast Raid or Light Pulse.

That's the beginning list for a deck that I've since changed completely. Maybe you can take this idea and start testing it for Spring Regionals, but for now it's going back in the kitchen sink as we fix it up for Standard. Here's where I've taken it in Standard:


This is what we have now. It's still Turbotina, just with new partners for the metagame. I like to call it "Sceptile Box", because that name is so catchy! But the catchiest part of this deck has to be its crazy contents, which really seem to have no synergy at first glance. I feel that the best part about this deck is that it can run off of only one Basic Energy type. That means that every attacker in the deck can rely on Max Elixir, which makes it way easier to execute all of your strategies. 

The decks this one is designed to beat are Night March and Greninja. I feel that those two decks will be the largest ones going into Week 3 of States, so I wanted to accomplish the feat of beating them both at once. Basically for March you just get out a turn-one Tina and Chaos Wheel for game, while versus Greninja you spam Mega Sceptile to heal off your Bench and he can't get Water Shuriken'd so it's tough for him to die. When he's close you just pick him up and let another Pokémon wall for a turn while he is invincible. I'll explain the counts and describe each cards use as I go.

2-1 Sceptile-EX

Sceppyking is in here for Greninja, but he can be used to obliterate anything Tina or Toad related. He also pairs well with Ariados to OHKO Garchomp and Groudon through Sash. I feel that you should keep the Sceppies AOR, but if you want a promo for the March matchup, I wouldn't blame you. Sometimes Agility on Joltik can steal games.

2 Giratina-EX

I just explained why three is so huge in the last deck and now here I am running two! I just had no other space in the deck honestly, and I think everything in here is too necessary to make big cuts for a third Tina.

1-1 Ariados

Purely for Focus Sash and to give M Sceptile the last 10 he needs for Shaymin-EX. Could be dropped if there are 0 fighting decks in your area, but people mess around with Garchomp and I'd hate taking a loss to it. I could see Giratina working well there too though, as they cannot play Focus Sash or Strong Energy or Fighting stadium so they can only hit 60 and 4-shot your Belted Tina.

1 Dedenne

Only in here for Yveltal-EX. If PLF was Standard legal, you'd best believe this guy would be Latios-EX. Dedenne pairs well with Ariados to get the last 10 you need to OHKO Yveltal-EX. Some important math is that 20+80 from a four-Energy Tina means they need four Energy on an Yveltal-EX for a KO, which calls for 160 from Dedenne plus 10 from either Fury Belt or Ariados.

1 Jirachi XY67

Jirachi is in here for Toadtina or as a backup for March. He also helps as a meat shield when you need a turn for some reason, and random Stardusts can be so clutch with Ariados' Ability.

1 Skyla

I run Skyla to grab out one of your one-of Tools or your Elixirs. She is so good in here, especially for turn-one triple Elixir.

1 Assault Vest

Vest is only in here for March. You can slap it onto M Sceptile-EX and then you have two turns to Lysandre two Shaymin. It's also just strong in general to not get smacked around by anything that can hit in one turn with DCE.

1 Fury Belt

FFB is in here for Tina to survive a Night March if your opponent has two DCE in play on the turn that you Chaos Wheel. I run Enhanced for that reason too, but it isn't always easy to pull out your Enhanced.

1 Enhanced Hammer

I explained it above but its sole purpose is to KO your opponent's Active attacker and discard a DCE off of their Bench when you use Chaos Wheel for the first time, locking them out of DCE for the game. 

1 Forest of Giant Plants

Forest is in here for the turns when you whiff turn-one Tina. You can go turn-one Forest into M Sceptile-EX and blow up next turn. This could easily be switched out for a Sceptile Spirit Link. It depends how badly you feel the need for a counter Stadium.

3 Double Dragon Energy

I felt that three DDE is easy enough to find, but if you disagree, you can run one or two Psychic so that you can still guarantee a Chaos Wheel. I went with 10 grass for Sceptile consistency. 

Some notes for this deck in testing are:

- Watch out for tricky Night March players. If they try and attach to Benched Marchers so that when you Chaos Wheel they still have a DCE in play, be ready with Enhanced or Lysandre. Never trust that they'll whiff getting 10 Marchers in discard, because Night March always hits what they need. Always. Sometimes.

- Don't scoop if you don't get turn-one Tina versus March. You can hit it the turn before they would've won and still win, because Giratina is that powerful versus the deck. It just shuts them down completely!

- Test out minor changes at a time. In a rogue, you can't test a five-card change and expect it to be comparable because every single card in the deck is necessary to some ultimate purpose.

- Do math against Greninja and determine where you want the Fury Belt to go CORRECTLY. If you mess up on the FFB it can literally cost you a game. Also, don't try to Bench Shaymin against them, take your time and play smart. 

- Don't always take the first Energy you see with Elixir and then shuffle. Elixir shows you your deck if you haven't done a search yet, and sometimes one of the other cards could've been what you were looking for and could make the difference between playing Skyla over Sycamore, etc. Small chances of this ever being an issue, but you MUST accept any info you can get.

That's all I have for you on this one really, but that doesn't mean you can't figure some more out about it in your testing! It would be great to see someone playing this for States, and I can't wait to see what everyone thinks about it and how they feel about it as a rogue. It could easily become meta if it got fixed up to perfection, and I feel strongly about that. 

Anywho, enough about what to play for States and a bit more about how to function at States. Just going to share a couple quick tips that came up for me at Regionals.

Things to Remember for States

  1. Always choose fresh fruit as your option to wake-up in between rounds. A soda or a candy bar might be quicker and tastier, but fresh fruit has some magical sugar in it that not only wakes you up but really helps you concentrate, too. If you've seen me at a long tournament, I'm usually holding an apple closer to the end of the day and definitely each morning.

  2. Be discrete with your actions. Especially with Max Elixir being a thing now, make sure you're on top of every attachment you and your opponent has made so you are sure there are no mistakes. Nobody wants to win or lose an illegitimate game, after all.

  3. Try to avoid being TOO serious in your games. Obviously we are there for competition, but thinking in Pokemon is sortof like dancing. You want to loosen up and have fluent thoughts and be able to have fun with it rather than be so focused on the task at hand that you are oblivious to the real reason we are all there - fun.


That's all I have for you now! I'd like to thank everyone again for checking this article out, and Martin for hooking me up with a random empty March slot so I could fit this article in. I was really excited to be given the opportunity to let my secret decks out for the world to play with, especially since I can't get an accurate representation on if they are good or not by Florida, which is a state that always plays random stuff. 
As always, [+1] the article if you like it, check out my past articles, and look out for more from me in the future! Also, make sure to check out The Tuff Puff if you still haven't! Until next time, 

-Daniel Altavilla

[+16] okko


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