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Daniel Altavilla

Double Team - Two Takes On Four Decks and PRC-On Thoughts

Daniel goes over two different ways to play four decks for Worlds with some PRC-On thoughts.

08/16/2016 by Daniel Altavilla

Introduction

What is up with it, 60Cards readers? I’m back again right before Worlds with some different ways to play multiple decks. Do you absolutely adore a specific archetype but you’re wary of a certain matchup? Then this is the article for you! I’m going to cover two different builds of four different decks so we can have an answer to different matchups, or purely to get with the times, so to say, and incorporate Steam Siege. The decks I’m covering are all lists I truly believe can work at the World Championship in a couple weeks. I’ve been testing a couple of these decks for quite some time and I’m really proud of the progress they’re making! Personally, my all-around favorite play for Worlds currently is something with Vespiquen in it, and most likely Vespi March, due to its versatility and 50/50 matchups or better across all the “good” archetypes. It can take care of Metal, Water Box and Greninja with ease, and those 3 decks I feel will be the most highly incorporated from the non-US players we are adding to the mix this time around. But for the sake of covering all of our bases, I decided to make sure to cover plenty of decks this time around. First things first: I’ll beat the dead horse and go over my two current Night March lists.

Night March 

Obviously this archetype is very easy to cover. There are plenty of different lists all over the internet currently, and nobody gets tired of hearing about Night March. But I think a special take on the deck was introduced to all of us at US Nationals, with Christian Ortiz's heavily Mew-based list, complete with 2 basic Metal Energy and a Jirachi Promo. I think this notion of using Mew as more of a main attacker than a tech is one considerable for the World Championships to avoid running thin on attackers in the Mirror Match. The mirror used to come down to who had leftover Energy, but recently it has come down to whoever can avoid whiffing an attack for a turn, or who can avoid discarding/Benching Shaymin-EX. This also gives me the idea to make sure we run Captivating Poké Puff, so we can prevent our opponent from jerking us around in the mirror.

After our straight Night March deck, we have Night March with a 3-3 Vespiquen. This specific version of the deck is pretty much meant to be an extra layer of protection versus Seismitoad-EX, as we've all become aware in our testing that Pokémon Ranger in the thin copy of 1 is not enough of a guaranteed safeguard to be worth relying on wholeheartedly. The Vespi March deck has shortcomings in other areas, such as all around consistency, but makes up for it in other ways, such as through guaranteed attackers. It's your call on which version you prefer, I'm just the medium to get them out to the public!

This is my first take on Night March. It’s almost exactly Ortiz’s Nats list, because let’s face it, he did it again. He keeps coming up with lists I just can’t disagree with! Taking some pages out of his book paid off though, as this list accomplishes the basics: a perfect blend of Consistency, Power, and Techs to allow it to stand up to the Meta. I’ve added some very specific tech choices that I feel are more relevant to the current meta with the most important one being Captivating Poké Puff over Target Whistle. Ortiz already ran a Buddy-Buddy Rescue in his list, so the combo of Buddy-Buddy Rescue into Captivating Poké Puff is already a strong one. But that isn’t why we have this card. Poké Puff is in the deck due to the ability our opponent in any given non-item lock matchup has to hold Shaymin-EX in hand or deck and avoid a Target Whistle KO. This gives us two opportunities. Our first opportunity is obviously to hit the t1 Poké Puff into some Shaymin or Marchers or anything that could potentially give our opponent a hard time. Our other opportunity is to punish our opponent for using Sky Return by forcing the Shaymin back down. Most opponents get cheeky and try and KO a Joltik with a Sky Return. Poké Puff allows us to promptly force our opponent’s Shaymin back onto the field and to take the 2 Prizes off of it. This could pair well with Target Whistle probably, but there just isn’t enough room for both. Either way, Poké Puff is enough to get us there. This deck’s biggest enemy is Delinquent. Something to keep in mind when running this deck is that Delinquent is becoming a more vastly played card specifically for the Night March matchup, so being in control of your own hand size and never forgetting the possibility of a Delinquent on any given turn will be extremely crucial for your gameplay.

Not much else to say for Night March, so I’ll go into the next list and then onto another archetype.

This version of Night March, as stated previously, is meant to get around Seismitoad-EX and to be able to stream attackers easily. Some issues we have with this version is that we’re a bit low on consistency. We have to sacrifice one Lysandre and all three Trainer’s Mail from our primary list in favor of only 4 of our new Pokémon slots, meaning that we have to give up even more things just for the 3-3 Vespiquen. Our National Champion Nick Robinson stated in the Virbank City Facebook group that he personally feels this form of Night March has a better matchup versus the straight one, but I feel in my personal testing and based on what my testing partners have told me that this is not always the case. This is why I’ve teched the Galvantula. Anyways, I’ll go into the counts and the matchups just to further strengthen the understanding of this deck. It IS Night March, but people have recently been a little unaware of the power this deck holds compared to a basic Night March build.

4-4-4 Night March 

Nothing to say here! Changing this count any more would be detrimental to the deck's success. Unless, of course, I could run two more Joltik. That would be tiiiight. 

3-3 Vespiquen

This line is not only for Seismitoad-EX, but can be very strong versus some of these new Zygarde variants, as well. It also helps a ton versus Trevenant as it takes three Silent Fears to KO a Vespi compared to one. This also means you can sweep through Trev's field if you are lucky enough to discard 14 Pokemon!

4 Unown

Unown is a sick card in this deck. He has a couple niche uses. The first one is to be a free discard for Vespiquen, allowing you 10 more damage each time. The second one is to keep on your Bench all game until those pesky late game N plays from your opponent. Each Unown you keep on your Bench is another card you get to see that turn, and after an N to 1, a single Unown can become the difference between using an Ultra Ball for Shaymin-EX and passing your turn. This card has become a very strong choice in a thinner line in plenty of other decks, too! While it may not be the most incredible card to waste a slot on ever, it helps so much versus Item Lock that you just have to appreciate the cryptic little guys.

1 Galvantula

The card just received a nerf forcing it to only snipe the Bench instead of any Pokémon on your opponent's field, but that doesn't matter here. Don't get things twisted and assume the card was added as a backup grass attacker either - it's in here for the Night March mirror. If you can Poké Puff down your opponent's Joltik or if they just play them period you can get a two-Prize turn. That'd probably put you in a very strong position. Another thing about Galvantula is that it can't get Sky Returned to death by Shaymin-EX. You can hit a Shaymin-EX for 60, KO a Joltik, and then either KO the Shaymin next turn for 3 Prizes in 2 turns or force your opponent to Sky Return, allowing you the opportunity for a Poké Puff play without sacrificing a Prize. Your opponent could also just kill your Galvantula, but we have Puzzle of Time for a reason! This card definitely fits better here than in straight March too.

Other Options for this Deck:

1 Mew - I was debating teching Mew in here, but I think it is probably not that necessary. It's just another attacker for Night March, but it does its thing just as well as Galvantula does, so they are about the same. Only difference is one is more consistent to get out.

1 Parallel City - You can run Parallel in here as a way to get more Pokémon in your discard for Vespiquen and to discard your Shays versus Night March. It also helps a ton to prevent Water Box from OHKO’ing your Vespiquen with Articuno. We don't have much room for this card in this version of our deck though, so we just run it in straight Night March instead.

1 Town Map - I decided to exclude Town Map from either of these lists. The reasoning behind this is it's just an unnecessary tech card and it doesn't help our Item Lock matchup any. If I'm going to risk an Item slot, I'd rather it be on a card with a better use. 

That's all I have for you on Night March, so let's push ahead to our next archetype of choice: 

Greninja

This is such a great deck. I've never had more fun drawing Prizes than by not actually attacking and rather using my Ability instead. Greninja is such an interesting concept and I'm excited to be one of a handful of players to be able to push this concept into a new niche with some choice Steam Siege techs. We’re going to be adding Talonflame STS to the deck to streamline it plentifully, and then we’ll be throwing Bursting Balloon into the other list to stick with the older Greninja idea and keep our prize trade strong versus Night March and Vespiquen variants.

Here’s the first of our lists:

This list was derived from one created by the CutorTap podcast crew + Israel Sosa. I fell in love with this thing from the get-go and I can’t stop testing with it. The idea is that you start the Talonflame and you Retreat it and your normal Greninja stuff. Then late game amongst all of your N plays you use Talonflame to search out 2 cards. This puts your opponent in a situation where they can Hex and KO Talonflame or Lysandre a Greninja which would hardly matter because you just searched 2 cards and you still have a 40/60 damage attacker in play. It is pretty interesting popping that baby down at the beginning of the game, and Greninja is the one deck it has the most synergy with. While I won’t have much to say about either Greninja list as this horse (or frog, if you will) has been beaten about as much as Night March has. Either way, here’s the second list:

And here is our second Greninja list, provided in part by Michael Slutsky's awesome Nationals run with the deck. This baby was a very strong idea for the National Championship in the US and Bodhi Tracy and I had thought of it together in our testing group but neither of us had the courage to run it at such a prestigious event. Slutsky took the list over the top though, with his Delinquent idea. He ran about 7 balls as well, which I switched around to 4 Dive, 3 Level, and a Wally. I personally hate Evosoda in this deck. This list is one I was confident in for the World Championships in my testing, but I haven’t been able to belt out enough games with it to feel confident.

If you want to play a very fun and very strong deck for Nationals with a new yet highly beloved Pokémon, this list or the one above should serve you well!

Darkrai-EX

One thing I do want to speak on, and pretty heavily, are the Darkrai/Giratina decks from Nationals. We had a sick list given to us by Liam Williams and Sorina Radu, and I have a sick solo-Darkness list in store for you all. But first thing is first, Liam’s innovative list:

I changed one card I believe, dropping the 3rd Darkrai-EX for an Yveltal-EX. This is not just personal preference, but it is also meant to have a strong anti-Waterbox attacker. Waterbox still seems to hold its spot at the top of everyone’s list, so I needed to add an extra precaution for the deck. This deck had only two finishes at US Nationals, fourth place and ninth place. There had to be something right going on with this contraption, and I think I’ve found exactly what it was. Liam essentially dissected this deck and picked out all of the unnecessary counts. Every single card in this deck holds a huge purpose. The first one is Latios-EX. Liam claims to have won plenty of his Nationals games based off of Latios-EX donks alone. The next thing he did right was to run 4 Professor Sycamore and 3 N. This seems to be the most basic form of Supporter count necessary to combat Item-Lock decks without pushing it over the top, and Liam realized this before any of the rest of us. He also decided to run 2 Enhanced Hammer. Plenty of people took this deck and tried to play it with Xerosic, but Liam ran hammer. His reasons were probably to actually draw into the thing when you need it vs Night March, and to be able to keep his opposing Night March decks’ Energy in check while he isn’t attacking with Chaos Wheel, for whatever reason.

He decided to go with a Belt/Band split, so you know Liam was thirsty for those 60-HP Basic donks and for some large damage output. The last thing Liam did right was running the 2 Parallel City. This card was probably really good Waterbox to take less damage from Seismitoad-EX, very strong versus Metal and Night March to discard your own Shaymin, and impeccable versus Trevenant to discard your Benched Pokémon-EX with 150 counters on them to avoid a Silent Fear knockout. The cards more than likely contributed to his success as much as all of the other techs in here, and for that Liam and Sorina deserve their placements.
But with Dark/Tina being destroyed by Pokémon Ranger, I’ve devised a Standard version of the Turbo Dark deck from Expanded Regionals, and I feel it is a strong contender for the World Championship.

 

So here we have a Darkrai-EX deck. The deck is built very vanilla in the Pokémon and Energy, not having too much in the form of innovation for either. But the trainers are where the deck shines. Basically, this is a watered-down Darkrai-EX/Giratina-EX deck, with stronger matchups in areas that Dark Tina just can’t keep up with anymore. In my opinion, this deck has a bit of a safer Night March matchup, but there is always the argument that Night March decks will not all decided to run a copy of Pokémon Ranger, so Giratina may still be better. The argument lies that this deck has no way to add damage faster than Double Dragon, so Giratina may still be better. But personally I feel this list is just more consistent than the former, which is why I think it can hold its own at the World Championship. 

3 Darkrai-EX/1 Yveltal-EX

This line is pretty simple, you just don't always want Darkrai and you don't always want Yveltal, but you still want Darkrai more than Yveltal. So there is a mix of both. 

3/1 Yveltal

We have 3 Oblivion Wing Yveltal and only one Fright Night. This count used to be 3 O Wing with 0 Fright, but Ninja Boy allows the card to be used a bit more often. It really is a good card in this format to take out a non-EX and either ignore a Bursting Balloon hit or put 60 on a Benched EX for the next few turns, so I have to keep one included in this list. 

1 Ninja Boy

Ninja Boy is pretty much perfect in this deck. Most of the time if you Oblivion Wing to a Benched Yveltal XY, your opponent will not think much of it. So you have two targets for Ninja Boy now! Also, with our 4 non-EXs, we can control the Prize trade versus Night March, and then do a switcheroo with Ninja Boy into an EX when the time is right. Personally, I wanted Umbreon-EX in this deck because of Ninja Boy, but sadly the versatility is just not needed with our format defined in the way it is - no more Megas!

1 Delinquent

I feel Delinquent is a good card in this format for so many different reasons. For example, you are facing Night March. You Delinquent them and attack with a Bursting Balloon Yveltal XY. Your opponent was forced into discarding Megaphone and 2 Supporter cards. This means now your Bursting Balloon is either safe for a turn, your opponent has to waste a Lysandre, or your opponent has to waste 2 Puzzles on the Megaphone. Alternatively, your opponent could accept that the Prize trade will remain the same at the end of the turn, or your opponent could have a hand of 0 after the Delinquent and be in some serious trouble. Either way, the card is really great for that matchup. 

In any other given matchup, Delinquent does what it needs to do in the form of discarding the cards your opponent has been holding all game. For example, if you Delinquent versus Water Box and they have to discard a Fury Belt or a Rough Seas, the card has done its job. We just want to kill our opponent's resources in a format where almost any given deck runs about 3 or more Stadiums. 

4 Bursting Balloon

This card is mostly in here for Night March, but it also makes up for the damage we lose by not running Dragon support in the deck anymore and it allows us to make plays with our baby Yveltal cards where we spend a turn using Oblivion Wing more frequently, as we are still making up for the damage we are otherwise not dealing. I think this card is really good in the current format, and if you aren't facing Item Lock, you should have a good time.

2 Fighting Fury Belt

This card is mostly for Trevenant and Vespiplume. We rarely need it versus Night March as we normally want down our Bursting Balloons, but versus the Item Lock decks we need to have more HP to survive long enough to win. I think this card is taking up space in this deck I'd rather allocate to a different card, but it seems necessary for the time being.

2 Reverse Valley

Valley is just another card that makes up for our lower damage output. It also is a wonderful card for hitting odd numbers versus Pokémon-EX with 170 HP, and for OHKO’ing Shaymin-EX a turn early. Besides that, it is just a case of "Dark support stadium for Dark deck? Sure, why not?"

1 Double Colorless Energy

Trevenant loves Energy Removal recently. If we have a DCE, we have two options presented to us. The first is to Ninja Boy or just naturally set up a Shaymin-EX loop. The second is to get our Active Darkrai-EX around Head Ringer or Crushing Hammer/Team Flare Grunt plays. DCE is essentially just a card in here meant for our safety versus Energy removal.

That is the idea behind our beloved Turbo Dark build, and I really think it is a strong deck in this format. But my all-time favorite deck for this format is coming up next:

Trevenant

Here is the baby of all babies, our pride and joy, Trevenant. I have two pretty crazy (and probably bad, honestly) lists for this card. The first one is meant to have a mean lock set up at any point in the game, while the second one is better for spreading and being aggressive rather than just controlling. Let's jump right into this awesome card's different variants!

First off we have the Hand Control variant of the deck, complete with Energy Removal, Steam Siege cards, outdated cards, and the whole nine yards. I'll go into the counts and why this is even a thing:

2/2 Phantump Split

This is because of Phantump XY's Astonish attack. If you Red Card, Delinquent, and then Astonish, you are guaranteed to bring your opponent to a hand of 0 going into their turn, forcing them into top deck mode. If they break out of it, darn! If not, cool! We just won. The idea is that if Item Lock isn't working out for you, you can use Hand Control. This notion was carried over from the Sableye/Red Card/Delinquent/Glameow deck I was testing for FL Regionals. If you don't know what that is meant to do, just refer to Dylan Bryan's Luvdisc deck.

2 Delinquent

This count is to ensure that we get the card. We have Poké Puff and Astonish to work with Red Card, so we need to be able to have our Delinquent as well. If one is Prized we never have to worry! 

3 Crushing Hammer

Crushing Hammer is in here as a backup plan and it works well with our Hand Control idea. You basically need to take one Energy off of a Pokémon to prevent it from attacking when your opponent has a hand of 0, so Crushing/Team Flare Grunt does what it needs to do to keep our lock going.

2 Captivating Poké Puff

Poké Puff is in here for two reasons. The first reason is to drop down all of the basics your opponent may have been holding all game. The second reason is to potentially take a card out of your opponent's hand, especially after a Red Card/before a Delinquent. Poké Puff is way too good in this deck.

2 Red Card

Red Card is the bread and butter of our lock. Without such a card, it really wouldn't be easy to pull off such a combo. But Red Card makes it almost - wait for it - illegal. [nervous laugh]. 

1 Head Ringer

Head Ringer is just a 1-of in here because I think Pokémon-EX have left the format enough to make it only really good to put on a Shaymin-EX but not good enough to warrant 2. I'd rather use my Items for the hand lock.

1 Shauna

Our girlfriend is in here to allow us to shuffle draw without disrupting the lock we worked so hard to place on our opponent. It's pretty much in here for the same reason it was in Wailord. Super good card in that case, very bad in any other one.

That is essentially what I have for you as far as hand control, but we still have to cover the spread version. I love this version. One is essentially the Trev version for people who like to annoy their pals at league, while this damage one is the Trev variant for those who want oohs and aahs as they obliterate everything in front of them. I also think this version has a worse matchup in the mirror, for what it's worth. 

 

The first thing worth pointing out is the Wobbs and the Ninja Boy. These cards are meant to work together to guarantee a turn 2 Trev at the very least, assuming you start Wobb and whiff the Mystery/Wally. Another option is to start Wobb on purpose so your opponent cannot use Shaymin-EX, and then switching to Item Lock. Pretty brutal, bro. 

This deck is pretty much the vanilla Trevenant that people have been playing ever since the Bursting Balloon variant debuted at Florida Regionals, and I think it is a very good choice for those afraid of Night March and Vespiplume. Peep the Battle Compressor, which we use to get that juicy, juicy Wally into our discard for an easier turn one Trev. I usually don't add that card in my Trevenant lists, but I think it earns a spot due to it being able to get our Ninja Boy out. Finally, we have the 1 Float/2 Mystery split. This is because Float is so much easier than Mystery to hit with Trainer's Mail turn one, and I think 3 outs are needed to switch between Wobbs and Trevs. 

That's about all I have for you with XY-On! I hope you appreciate these lists for the fun yet competitive ones they are, and I really would love to see any one of these in the Top 8 at the World Championship! But the game doesn't stop there, as we need to jump right into Regionals. And I have the perfect deck for:

PRC-On

The deck I have chosen is M Rayquaza-EX. Everyone says the card is good for this upcoming format, and everyone obviously has a way to counter it in store for the format we have at hand. Personally, I want to go for an extremely consistent and quick list with answers to the peskier things we will see in this format. Here is the list I have devised:

It may just seem like a vanilla M Rayquaza-EX list, but it is pretty different. There are a couple things I'd like to go over with this list. First of all, we have the Manaphy-EX. Manaphy is in here as our Retreat assistance, and it is very important to run to keep the deck as smooth as can be. We lost AZ, so we pretty much have to rely on other means to keep ourselves out of a Lysandre lock. Our 3 Hoopa-EX are here to get our Rayquaza out of the deck faster, and the plethora of Hoopa is to be sort of prepared for not only prizing your Hoopa and starting your Hoopa, but rather for when your opponent bumps your Sky Field and you need to quickly refill your Bench. This is also the reasoning behind the double Super Rod. I almost wanted 3 Super Rod in here, but I just can't fit those and feel good about myself afterwards. The 2 Unown are in here to be a Bench sitter for the entire game. You use them to fill up a slot to discard your Shaymin and then when your opponent Ns you to 1 you discard Unown to help recover from the N. It is pretty much meant to be anti-N and to keep this deck consistent. Never play down Unown expecting to use it right away! Sometimes it is worth it to safe it for the whole game.

There are some other weird cards in this deck, like the Giovanni's Scheme. This card was meant to just keep us from having to always Bench down all of our Basics. It's to help preserve our resources. 7 Basics and a Giovanni to KO a 220/30 HP Mega Pokémon is way better than all 8 basics, period. And the last cards I really want to mention are the 4 waters. I'm not sure if these are excessive, but I think it is pretty solid having a hefty amount of Water in the deck. We need to be able to Retreat often and we don't run Puzzle in this list, so we must be prepared.

I think this deck probably has a good matchup versus Raichu, Kyogre, Zebstrika, Medicham, and plenty of the other decks for next format, but it struggles versus Garbodor variants if they have any sort of Lightning-type attacker. Not sure how this will end up working out, but I think for now this list is really good for any PRC-On Standard events. I would go more in-depth on PRC-On, but I think the format is really not being payed attention to very heavily right now, so I just wanted to point a finger at it while still remaining on the topic of Worlds.

Conclusion

Once again, one of the AMAZING Daniel Altavilla articles must come to a close. I think this one has the most lists I've ever posted in an article, and I'm sorry if it may be lacking or if it isn't incredible, but I recently got a new job and I've been having trouble finding time to write as much as I did before. I'm still working hard to push out these thoughts for the wonderful Poké people, though!

As always, go check out my YouTube channel The Tuff Puff, the other site I write for, CutorTap.com, and then Pro-playgames.com for any of your card gaming needs! Also, shout out to Pro-Play Games for hooking me up with some financial support and sponsoring me in my journey to become the World Champion! Until next time, 

- Daniel Altavilla

[+12] okko


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