Experts' corner

Daniel Altavilla

"When Is This Kid Going To Stop Talking About Yveltal?" - Thoughts on Dark and Other Decks

Daniel goes over two underrated decks that have a good chance of doing well at Worlds 2016.

08/14/2016 by Daniel Altavilla


Seriously, I think I post a Darkness list in every article I write. Either way, I'm back again to provide you all with another incredible article with the best lists around and the most useful advice one could ask for! Now that I've reassured you all that I am humble, allow me to introduce this article with a story from a format I was too young to appreciate back then.

Said format is the 2004-2005 Play! Pokémon season, when Jeremy Maron took the World Championship by storm with his Queendom deck. The later part of this season was dominated by T2 Stage 1 decks using the Jirachi DX/Swoop! Teleporter engine. The idea of such a deck was to start attacking turn 2 and hitting consistent and decent damage paired with some Poké-Powers or Poké-Bodies (pretty much current day's Abilities) that when brought out on the second turn of the game were crazy strong. Seena Ghaziaskhar introduced the concept when he won a Regional Championship with his Muk ex deck and he went on to take the 2005 US National Championship after switching out the Muk ex for Medicham ex!

A deck - or rather, a concept - was able to completely dominate the 2005 season. It was able to take the World Championship in the 10- and 11-14 age divisions, with multiple Medicham ex decks in the Top 32 of the 15+ age division. This has been a repeating occurrence with a majority of different decks throughout various seasons, but finally now in 2016 do we have to deal with the uproar of something like Night March or Item-lock being too overpowering to handle. This is where my history lesson comes into play. Jeremy Maron, Pablo Meza, and Adam Capriola were able to come up with the Queendom deck to overpower these Stage 1 decks by being almost as fast and utilizing even stronger Stage 2 Pokémon. They more than likely saw some troubling matchups for their strong idea and they still were able to overcome them with techs such as Milotic and various other well-thought out ideas. 

This brings me to the argument that something like Night March or Trevenant or even Vileplume/Vespiquen is not going to be impossible to get around. And taking it even further, said deck may even be able to take out some of the anti-meta as well, becoming one of the stronger archetypes. All it takes is some deep thought, some trial and error, and a bit of creativity. And sometimes, the answer may be a bit more obvious. This article will cover an obvious Quad Zoroark build, which will be a very dominant force in the World Championship, and my Metal build, which I feel is different enough from the rest of the variants to be our nail in the coffin for the "dominant" decks in the meta.

Kid Quadi ft. Kanyvel West - Make Her Shay

This horrible Quad Zoroark/Captivating Poké Puff pun will hopefully not distract from the truth that this deck is no longer a joke. Kevin Baxter has found success with this thing even before the majority consensus that Night March and Trevenant are the strongest two decks, so it doesn't surprise me that this deck is getting so much love recently. I ran it for US Nationals and got my tush handed to me by two M Manectric-EX decks, so ignoring the fact that this deck destroys the meta, we must keep in mind that its biggest enemy is forced out of the format. 

With that knowledge in mind we can build a list for Quad Zoroark with plenty more room than it ever had before – A list that has extra techs without sacrificing consistency in the slightest. This specific version of Quad Zoroark should provide us with enough power to take out Trevenant, other Item Lock decks, and potentially some Water Box, while having a fair Night March matchup at about 55/45.

This is the specific list I’ve gone with. I worked on it with some help from a friend in Italy, though the deck is very simple to make now that we have so much room. Our list has the healthiest mix of Items, Supporters and Pokémon that we could devise paired with our own intricacies worked into the list itself. For example, I run the Sky Field and the Druddigon and I believe he has 2 Sky Field no Reverse Valley. The deck has no true boundaries – the same ideas can be executed with drastically differing lists – and that is what I feel makes it so similar to the Turn Two Stage 1 decks of old. They really could be run with so many different Stage 1s, though only 2 were truly represented as the best, they still took the format by storm. Zoroark is very much like these and he isn’t the best deck due to Night March’s reign, but he is very close. Night March is set to a 4-5 card maximum as far as list differences go, unless of course you are running Night March/Vespiquen, in which case your deck is technically just a variant of Night March and not the true archetype itself. That just doesn’t make the deck special, in my opinion. Zoroark can be utilized with Yveltal-EX and Max Elixir, with Gallade and Maxie, with Vespiquen, with Yanmega, Raichu, the list goes on and on! And every variant actually works to some degree. This is why I appreciate the card so much and why I love this deck so very much.  

While I may be trying to draw parallels that aren’t there, I appreciate being able to find similarities in different metas, especially when they are over a decade apart! All rambling aside, here’s a little bit of matchup knowledge for this deck.

Night March – 55/45: Your main goal versus Night March is to get your Xerosic out at the perfect time. You want to avoid benching your Shaymin-EX and you want to force your opponent’s Shaymin down. This way you can win the Prize Trade. Due to Night March running Teammates we can hardly gain much leverage off of a Hex Maniac/knockout turn so we have to instead try and just play a bit of solitaire. I was debating teching a Delinquent for this matchup, as sometimes your opponent may have a hand of 3-5 cards and you can either win the game directly off of Poké Puff to 3 > Delinquent, or you can force them to discard a Puzzle, DCE, or even a VS Seeker to make the game much easier for you when you can N them to 1 and they have one less resource to reach. I feel the Delinquent has some very solid playability in other matchups where you are fortunate enough to hit it, like Water Box.  Something to keep in mind for this matchup is that you almost always want to knock out a Night Marcher with a baby Yveltal, as Mew has 50 HP and no DarknessWeakness, so Zoroark is reserved for the Mew or for Shaymin-EX. A second thing to note is that you shouldn’t be afraid of hitting a Night Marcher for 30/60 or a Mew for 50 if they have a Fury Belt attached, because of your Fright Night Yveltal. Not a horrid matchup if you have your game plan!

Trevenant – 50/50(?): If the Trevenant build has Weakness Policy, you are in for some trouble. The Red Card version isn’t a walk in the park either, but it’s better than Weakness Policy or Bursting Balloon. The matchup is very similar to any given Mirror Match, where player A comes out on top of player B only based on draws, flips, and skill. Also, if you can KO a Trevenant and your opponent can’t set up another one, or they can’t spam Trev BREAK, then the matchup is super easy. But don’t quote me, I haven’t tested it as much as I probably should have.

Vespiquen/Vileplume – 70/30: This matchup is such a breath of fresh air. If you get a turn one where you can go first and play down maybe 2 Zorua and a Druddigon or something, you’ve already won. They can’t N you so all you need to do is spam Sycamore to find your attackers and run them out of Double Colorless Energy. If they use their Bunnelby, you can either KO it and guarantee to be up in Prize trade or you can Lysandre Plume or their benched Combee (if they even have one and assuming you were holding Lysandre) or a Shaymin-EX etc. Druddigon is REALLY nice for this matchup. Don’t play down the Sky Field, I don’t care what your momma told you. If you play that card down your opponent has a better chance to fill up a bench with Combee which is the last thing you want. Even one Combee stuck in the deck or forced into the discard is better than nothin’.

Waterbox – 40/60: This matchup is fine if you play it smart. What you need to do is hide behind a Fright Night or XY Yveltal until you set up Zoroark, so your opponent isn’t KO’ing your attacker too fast with Articuno. Then, you want to make sure you can KO an Articuno first. After that, you can pick off toads or other attackers and not have to worry about them taking extra Prizes they shouldn’t be getting. Not much else to say about this one.

Mirror – 100/0: If you’re me, you never lose an Yveltal mirror. Period. If you aren’t me, I GUESS you need to be wise and keep your Bench small until you get a Zoroark out. Discard unnecessary attackers and pair Super Rod with your discards to avoid a Target Whistle’d Shaymin-EX. Don’t bench Shaymin-EX, but make sure your opponent does. Hex Maniac at the right time is a killer. Delinquent helps too! Simple stuff, people!

Those are the matchups we expect the most at worlds, so let’s move on to the next deck with this information fresh in mind.

The not-so-obvious choice I have for you all is our Holy Grail of this format. The Queendom of the 2015-16 Pokémon Trading Card Game season. An old deck. A deck deemed poor, brought back to life. Metal!

That’s the list I have gone with. It’s pretty crazy and probably just really bad but I’ve loved it so far. It is meant to have the best possible combination of non-EX and EX attackers I can manage. It allows you to beat Night March and it has 2 counters for Silent Fear through Magearna-EX and Bronzong FCO. I have a Target Whistle in here to help out with some of the non-EX decks (if you can draw it – I usually don’t have a problem though) and 2 Reverse Valley so Aegislash-EX can tank a hit from Night March. As I have already stated, I feel this deck is the Queendom of this format. It just has a good answer to everything and if put into the right hands it could be game breaking. Yeah, I know, why am I posting such a “good list” on a free article? Because I stopped caring about secrecy and doing well through the element of surprise, because after Round 1 everyone knows what you are running anyways. I just want a sick deck to win worlds and to become the underdog that took over the format. That is my current goal and why I just really want this information to get out there! With that said, I’ll explain the matchups a bit better.

Night March – 50/50: This matchup really comes down to if they can 1. Draw out of your plays and 2. Spam Hex Maniac against you to prevent you from using Metal Links. This matchup is also why I love Cobalion, because it allows me to KO a Marcher and put an energy or two on Bronzong every turn in order to use some Metal Rain late game for a crazy 2 or 3 Prize turn. Target Whistle is a second means to an end besides the Metal Rain, and if you can spam AZ on Aegislash-EX and keep a Fury Belt on it, you can take 3 Prize cards for 2. This matchup is definitely not positive, but it’s not too difficult.

Trevenant – 60/40: For this matchup, we have Magearna-EX and Bronzong FCO to tank the Silent Fears. We can set up a turn one Aegislash-EX if we are lucky enough to use our items, and with Aegislash you can tank so many hits that it’s not even funny. This matchup should definitely not be difficult anymore, but the Red Card/Delinquent combo is pretty bad for us as we cannot play down extra cards before a Supporter if they do hit us with a Delinquent. Besides that, it isn’t bad by any means.

Vespiquen/Vileplume – 50/50: If you can get Aegislash-EX out by going first, you win. They don’t run basic energy in here anymore because they want consistency over anti Giratina-EX strategies. If you can get Aegislash-EX out going second, you still win. If you can’t get Aegislash-EX out at any point, you probably don’t win. Not much else to say here as this matchup comes down to a coin flip and your starting hand Games 1 and 3.

Waterbox – 60/40: This deck is not a horrible one to face anymore. It was annoying when they ran Regice, but without it you can do fine. They take forever to KO your Genesect-EX and you two-shot them. Assuming it isn’t Prized! Late game you can just clean up with Cobalion, and Quick Guard just shuts them down for a turn if they don’t have a Lysandre. Your turn one matters a lot here, and if you have trouble with your turn one you will more than likely not have a good time.

Mirror – 60/40: This matchup is pretty solid because of your heavy non-EX line. You really don’t have to worry about anything when you can just Cobalion them after they take 4 Prizes to KO Shaymin-EX and all that. I think this list has an edge, especially if you get your Reverse Valley down first, so no worries here.

That’ll do it for our holy grail! I cannot stress enough how much I value this deck as the potential best deck in the format currently and I would love to see this exact list take a spot in the Top 8 at the 2016 World Championship.

That’ll do it for another Daniel Altavilla article! This one will hopefully be a good resource in everybody’s’ testing for Worlds! Personally, I love both of these decks so very much and I find them both so fun. I really expect great things with them both and I’m proud to be able to share them with you all. As always, make sure to check out The Tuff Puff for all of your Pokémon TCG needs, and don’t forget to go to for any card game needs you may have! Until next time,

- Daniel Altavilla

[+8] okko


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