05/26/2017 by Daniel Altavilla
Hey there 60Cards readers! We last left off with some talk on the Expanded format and a Turbo Darkrai list that I have since improved (and will post in this article in a minute) and since then it seems the format has been completely flipped upside down by the cards being added to our current pool!
We have options for Tool Removal, a much bigger arsenal of GX Pokemon, including new Lock deck support, Supporter search and another beefy colorless basic with 180 hp. Some very well designed cards have popped up in SM2 and not only currently given us some new toys to mess with but so far it looks like there's promise of a slower, more evolve-based format coming to us, as people are messing with Stage 2s and finding success!
All the allure of the set behind, I wanted to share some plays that I feel are currently getting buzzed online and a couple plays that I personally feel have potential for right now. There are so many new decks to be created and toyed with that it's hard to really choose just one to want to test, so I'm going to test the handful that I find the most competitive. My testing will start with a preliminary test of beating the Garbodor deck so prominent in League Cups and everywhere right now. If you can't keep up with the archetype that owns the entire format, you won't feel safe in an Internationals, where the consistently winning stuff is usually played the most.
After that I want to be able to run the gauntlet and see which matchups I can beat and which matchups I have trouble with, but with a mostly blind meta going into Seattle it's not going to be extremely possible to be prepared for everything. At this point, the decks I'm most focused on trying to beat are Garbodor/Drampa/Tapu Lele, Gyarados and Greninja while being aware of things like Sylveon, Waterbox and Volcanion. Another big issue for me is a poor matchup against Decidueye/Vileplume - the deck is not dead as people thought, but rather has the ability to adapt to the meta in a warm way with new techs like Tapu Lele or Sableye. Before I go any further off track, I'd like to share my Virginia Regionals experience with everyone.
It all started out with a 4 hour bus ride to Orlando. The pressure was on because my cp was at 307, (327 if an incorrectly reported league cup could get fixed in time), and I already had 7 finishes for Regionals, so I needed a top 4 in order to get over 100 and put me in range via 2 league cup wins, or a top 8 if my League Cup got fixed. My friend Hunter and I talked through a Turbo Darkrai list for a couple weeks leading up to the tourney and I was playing it in locals and exclusively testing that list because I didn't want to jump off of Turbo Darkrai. I knew the deck was the bdif and all I needed to do was make sure I could beat Decidueye. I studied the matchup but I still didn't have much of a gameplan. Everytime I would message Phinn my new list, he would always say "this is exactly where I'm at" and that meant I was getting closer to figuring out the perfect list. Upon arriving in Orlando and getting some noodles with Hunter we were both extremely confident in Darkrai, but we wanted to have a sleeper play in mind too incase Darkrai was outed as "the play". We both agreed on a Primal Groudon list as our sleeper play, and we left Noodles and went to our local card shop for a tourney.
At the tourney I played the 60 that I planned on running in Virginia. I ended up making top 8, beating 2 Quad Lapras, a Lurantis deck and something else I forgot on the way up. We split top 8 so we had time to go get food, and then after some chicken fingers and loaded fries we were on our way to Virginia.
The trip was really quick, we eventually got to the hotel, and from there we all napped because sleeping in a car is absolutely horrible. After the nap we went out to eat and then met up with Phinn, who changed the Darkrai list slightly. He went from 2 float stone 2 escape rope (2 float was a lapras tech) to 1 float stone 3 escape rope, as he wanted to beat Mirror more than he wanted to beat Lapras. He took out the Parallel City and the 2 Silent Lab we ran and added 2 Reverse Valley and a 13th Darkness. This allowed him to still have a bit of a comfy Lapras matchup while letting him draw into his energies more easily vs Decidueye and to hit his elixirs and blow up more often in mirror. I didn't really think his list was all that, but everyone in my room who wasn't playing Primal Groudon switched to that list, so after sleeping on it I decided I would just do the same.
Turbo Dark Phinn
- 2x Yveltal
- 4x Darkrai EX
- 3x Shaymin EX
- 4x Professor Sycamore
- 3x N-supporter
- 3x Lysandre
- 2x Hex Maniac
- 3x VS Seeker
- 4x Ultra Ball
- 4x Trainer's Mail
- 3x Exp. Share
- 3x Escape Rope
- 1x Float Stone
- 4x Max Elixir
- 2x Reverse Valley
- 2x Fighting Fury Belt
- 13x Darkness Energy
In the morning I wasn't feeling too confident, but I blame the tournament anxiety. I'm never confident for these tournaments anyways. It didn't help seeing my round 1 opponent:
Round 1 - Kevin Baxter - Deciplume - LW (0-0-1)
The last thing I expected was to have a rematch of Virginia Regionals Finals from last year in the first round of the next Virginia Regionals, but sure enough that's what happened. In game 1 Kevin was able to get the usual set up after a few turns, and I had to deal with not too much going on on my side. I ended up losing after drawing maybe 4 or 5 prizes, because the Feather Arrows were too strong.
Game 2 I believe was a similar story, minus the Vileplume for a bit, so eventually I was just poised to OHKO his field and he scooped. Game 3 we flipped over our cards, he dropped a turn 1 Plume and a Decidueye, and time was called. I Sycamored into a 2nd Basic Pokemon and we had to accept the tie.
It was very interesting that we finished even being the finals match in the year prior; it felt special for some reason.
In between rounds, I go to my Pro-Play Games guys (the team I'm sponsored by) and we go over our rounds. One of them mentions a specific name and says that he lost the Turbo Dark mirror, so that stuck out to me. Sure enough my round 2 opponent was the individual with the specific name.
Round 2 - Blair Zwarich - Turbo Darkrai mirror - WW (1-0-1)
Blair was playing Turbo Darkrai and since I was playing a list so catered to winning the mirror, I was very confident. After he wins the coin flip, I believe he flips over either Shaymin or Yveltal XY and passes multiple times. Eventually I get the KO and we move on to game 2.
In game 2, I just outplay Blair. He lysandres a Darkrai with an EXP share and hits it with a Dark Pulse, but he didn't do enough damage for it to matter, as 120 requires a 2nd Dark Pulse for a KO to happen. I keep using Oblivion Wing until I can one-shot his field, and then I continue to do so. He was maxing out at 180 so he couldn't keep up with my Fighting Fury Belts. His mistake was not targeting the Belted Darkrai, as those are the big threats in the mirror come late game.
Round 3 - Jacob Smith - Zygarde/Carbink - WW (2-0-1)
Sure enough, I had to face the one Zygarde in the room. Luckily I played versus a similar deck (which even ran Max Elixir while this one didn't) so I knew how to tackle it: set up Darkness Blade, and only Belt your baby Yveltals because Darkrai will get OHKOd anyways. Jacob benched two Shaymin EX, and there lied my win condition. I had two ways to handle the situation - Reverse Valley or Fury Belt/Darkness Blade on Shaymin, or 2hkos on Zygardes. I went for whatever was best for me, and I was able to take the prizes I needed.
Game 2 was closer, as I miscalcuted that Cell Storm with a Fury Belt and a Strong Energy would OHKO my Darkrai. I still ended up taking my prizes with a similar strat to the previous game, and actually at one point I needed to OHKO a Zygarde EX and I was only able to with Reverse Valley.
Round 4 - Robert Perez - M Rayquaza - (WW) - (3-0-1)
Robert is a pal and a judge from Orlando and an all around great guy. I didn't have techs for Rayquaza and I fully expected to lose to it, so I just swung for the fences and went for a Lysandre-Shaymin-3-times strat. It ended up failing two games in a row, where I was forced to Oblivion Wing and let him keep a 10 card hand. Neither time did he have the Lysandre to win the prize trade, so I managed to draw 6 prizes first in both games. I really won by dumb luck in this round.
Round 5 - Steven Varesko - Deciplume - WW (4-0-1)
Varesko was running Eels last year and I believe he was my only tie in day 1. I could've beaten him, but I played the matchup wrong. I learned quickly that a turn 1 Archeops and an Yveltal was the way to victory against his list, so his game gave me much needed info.
A year later here we are in Virginia again, and we're playing another awful matchup. He never finds a Plume in both games though, so I make short work of him.
Round 6 vs Luke Morsa - Yveltal/Garb - LWW (5-0-1)
This round was a bit of a downer. Game 1 I have game, but I Experience Share to the wrong target and though I didn't remove my hand from the dark yet, he called a judge on me that I couldn't switch my decision, and the judge sided with him, so a Lysandre/Evil Ball play was immediately set up for him.
In Games 2 and 3, we have close games and I'm pretty much bricking the whole time. It was a bit of a shame never being able to blow up on him, but I was still able to pull out the win somehow, so I can't complain. I saw this round as the one where I had to 3-0 my opponent to take a win, and it made me feel better about the whole exp share debacle.
Round 7 vs Adam Harris - Dark/Dragons - WW (6-0-1)
Adam Harris sold me some Worlds Decks once so I knew he would be a cool opponent. He pretty much just went for Salamence and couldn't go for Darkrai afterwards and that was his downfall. When you let me take 60 damage off of your side of the board with one KO, you essentially concede the game to me when it turns from dark/dragons into dark mirror.
Game 2 he prized Salamence and I just did Darkrai stuff better than he could.
Round 8 vs Bob Zhang - Gyarados - LWW - (7-0-1)
I misplayed pretty hard against Bob. Gyarados is a scary play and Bob is a god when it comes to running hot, so I knew I would be in for some trouble. Game 1 I ended up throwing him the game because I needed to bump his Magma Base but I wanted to preserve a Reverse Valley in my hand. When you ko Gyarados, you ALWAYS bump stadium. They need an extra card to OHKO you if you bump the stadium, and in this scenario, Bob would've whiffed.
Game 2 Bob used Octillery under Hex Maniac, got a prize card penalty for it, and I ended up winning because of that. It was a lame way to take the W away from Bob, but mistakes happen and I considered it leveling out the playing field after my misplay in game 1.
Game 3 Bob ultra balls for Remoraid, started a Karp, and passed. I Oblivion Wing. He benches a Karp, pass. I lysandre it. Pass. I win.It was a crazy series of events, and you have to feel bad for Bob who really had a great list and played it amazing, but I guess sometimes the game can be unforgiving.
Round 9 vs James Arnold - Quad Lapras - WW (8-0-1)
James Arnold drew poorly with Lapras and I drew well with Turbo Darkrai, so that was a wrap. The game was streamed by the Meta Deck and I'm sure you can watch it on Twitch or Youtube if you want to see it unfold.
I finished out day 1 at First Seed for the 2nd year in a row! That was a crazy accomplishment for me after such a rough year, and I'm happy to have had that opportunity. I slept pretty soundly that night, and then came day 2.
Round 10 - Grant Manley - Quad Wobb - LL (8-1-1)
Phinn and me were the only Darkrai lists in the tourney capable of beating Grant. We could hit 160 on his Jolteon ex by turn 2 if we ran hot enough, but I whiffed both games. I lost pretty hard, but I wasn't gonna complain because Grant broke the format and deserved to win the regional.
Round 11 vs Rahul Reddy - Deciplume - WW (9-1-1)
Rahul went from I believe 0-2 to 7-2 to make day 2 and then he had enough points to face me in the 11th round. What a beast! I didn't play dumb and give any Lysandre targets, so I made sure I could close the game out without getting stalled. Game 2 I'm pretty sure I had 11 dark in play before he had a Plume so I one shot anything he put active.
Round 12 - Ryan Sablehaus - M Mewtwo/Wobb - WLW (10-1-1)
This was a pretty close series. Game 1, Ryan dead drew too much and ended up losing in a couple turns.
Game 2 I lysandred a naked Mewtwo EX to give myself time, and it gave me a couple turns to work with. I wss able to set up darkrais to OHKO his mewtwos, so I couldn't lose...but I did, because I prized my last Dark and Sycamored away 4 so I couldn't hit 210.
Game 3 the exact same situation happened, and I didn't prize my last dark. Go figure. It came down to a really close ohko war, and it was one of my favorite sets of the weekend. Good games with Ryan, as always.
Round 13 - James Arnold - ID (10-1-2)
Round 14 - Seena Ghaziaskar - ID (10-1-3)
I was guaranteed top 8 for the 2nd year in a row, I had a good shot of facing w Mewtwo player in top 8 (a 50/50 but with how consistent the list was, I was confident) and I was ready to see Grant in the finals and lose to a broken deck. My top 8 game was against none other than Seena, a friend and a veteran player who has always been pretty good. We were on stream together which was pretty cool.
Top 8 - Seena Ghaziaskar - M Mewtwo - WW (11-1-3)
Game 1 was close-ish. From the game with Ryan, I learned that lysandre on naked Mewtwo is so good because it requires them to either a. Waste their attachment on it, b. Float stone it (so they have to end their turn to mega evolve late game), c. Hit the nuts and evolve it with turbos and dces to KO me. After he attached the float, I was in some trouble, but I managed to run him out of M Mewtwos and I just took the game from there.
Game 2 Seena drew poorly, so I was able to take advantage of that and take the match.
Good games Seena, and 'grats on top 8.
Top 4 vs James Arnold - WLL (11-2-3)
This matchup is pretty god awful. I have a big advantage and I know how to play it (never let a naked Darkrai get caught, exp share your shaymins) so I was feeling good about it, but game 1 was smooth, game 2 was a dead draw and game 3 I started with t1 4 elixirs and an attachment for turn. The issue was when I sycamored twice and whiffed Escape Rope. Twice. If I find it, i can oblivion wing, and be a couple turns paced ahead of James. It was a shame that the cards couldn't come to me and that's why I lost, but there's nothing I could do. Sorry Grant, congrats James!
After that tournament and the CP structure edit, I was given my invite at 607 (or 627) CP. I'm excited to go back to worlds!!! Anyways, this format is long gone. Seattle is soon, so why don't weget into the new format? Let's jump straight into the first deck I find attractive: Vespiquen/Garbodor.
We have multiple options for new stage 1s for Vespiquen such as Machoke if Decidueye stays prominent, Bewear who allows us to draw three cards or even Lycanroc GX to be a Lysandre and then Parallel City fodder. But I feel that right now hitting an OHKO is going to be very important to do turn after turn because of how the game is slowing down a little bit. Here's my rough draft for this list currently:
- 4x Vespiquen
- 4x Combee
- 2x Trubbish
- 2x Garbodor
- 1x Garbodor
- 4x Shaymin EX
- 2x Tapu Lele GX
- 4x Unown
- 2x Klefki
- 1x Wishiwashi
- 1x Oranguru
- 1x Sudowoodo
- 3x Professor Sycamore
- 2x Lysandre
- 1x N-supporter
- 4x VS Seeker
- 4x Ultra Ball
- 2x Choice Band
- 2x Float Stone
- 2x Field Blower
- 2x Sky Field
- 1x Parallel City
- 1x Super Rod
- 1x Special Charge
- 1x Rescue Stretcher
- 4x Double Colorless Energy
- 2x Psychic Energy
This list essentially allows you to heavily burn through your deck in the early turns. The idea is that we use Sky Field, fill up our Bench with shaymin ex and other Pokemon, then Field Blower it away in the same turn to discard our liabilities. We never get stuck with liabilities on our bench when we can't afford to have them there, which is vital to Vespiquen strategies as of late. With Sky field to help us dig, we can afford to fill up bench spaces we had trouble using in the past, such as finding a bench space for Oranguru or finding a bench space for Wishiwashi SUM. Now that we filter out what we would like to keep and what we would like to discard more efficiently, we rarely get stuck in a position we can't handle.
With Garbodor GUR in the deck, we require our opponent to play items and keep up with our Bee onslaught, which gives us attacking options in the late game. We are also effectively "Karen-proof", as a stream of Karen requires items, and our secondary attacker will get stronger as our Queen Bee gets weaker. Garbodor also requires a basic Energy, so if you manage to face an Item-Heavy Giratina-EX deck for some reason, you have an out to KOing it. You also have an opportunity for Tapu Cure GX, though I'm not sure it's that necessary when our attackers have 90 and 120 hp.
I used to normally run more Klefki in a Vespiquen list, but the card is losing it's strength and is now a measly 2-of. I actually love Klefki in this deck because we can attach it to Garbodor BKP at some point in the game and prevent our opponent from using Abilities on their turn while we get them for ours. This is mostly helpful versus Greninja.
Garbodor BKP is for Greninja and Decidueye/Vileplume. It also helps versus Gyarados, when we N them low, KO a Gyarados and give them no access to Octillery or Shaymin. Sometimes the N/Garbodor play can be the nail in the coffin for us against any deck! Garbodor has always been very powerful and while he's in check now, he still deserves a slot if we're playing Trubbish.
It helps to note how easy it is to get Trubbish/Float Stone turn one now that we can burn through our deck so quickly. We want to be able to lock Vileplume before they lock us out of the game!
Wishiwashi was an idea I took from Phinn, and it acts like Exeggcute PLF in expanded, but just once. We can use it for free retreat with Cowardice, we can use it to fill up our bench for Sky Field before we play a supporter, and then pick it up after we dig for another Pokemon we would rather have in play. Or we can use it when we get N'd to 1, to add to hand so we can ultra ball for Lele or Shaymin. The card is really good in here, but with all the Greninja it's potentially droppable. The 30 hp can be annoying, too, but you rarely start with it and nothing else.
The list is very well thought out for the Meta and it only takes a tough Greninja and Deciplume mu. Everything else is pretty solid, maybe Gyarados can give trouble but you can run them out of gyarados or double colorless if you're lucky enough. They tend to whiff.
Alernative options for this deck:
Sudowoodo GRI - Sudowoodo makes it hard for Deciplume to play down all the benched Pokemon they need. But if you don't find it turn one, it gets worse.
Forest of Giant Plants
This card lets you stream Vespiquen, but I don't think it's worth changing your gameplan for. If you could play multiple stadiums in the same turn, I would definitely run this.
This Lurantis lets your Vespiquen do 20 extra damage without requiring you to put Pokemon in the discard. This could be an alternative to extra damage which allows you to run Forest of Giant Plants and gives you safety versus Oriciorio Sensu.
Besides bees, there are a couple other decks that deserve some spotlight. I'm pretty sold on Water Box, I think it has too much potential right now, but I'm only playing one water attacker: Lapras GX! I had a true water toolbox until I spoke to Travis Nunlist and actually tried quad Lapras for myself. It's amazing how strong it can be, so quickly!
Sea Monsters for Seattle
Lapras has the ability to attack for 160 damage. This lets you do 210 with Choice Band and Kukui, which puts you in one shot range of most of the Beltless format. You can Kukui versus Greninja to take an ohko, and that can be a very overwhelming occurrence for plenty of decks.
- 4x Lapras GX
- 1x Manaphy EX
- 2x Tapu Lele GX
- 1x Shaymin EX
- 1x Sudowoodo
- 1x Oricorio
- 1x Wishiwashi
- 1x Hoopa
- 4x Professor Sycamore
- 2x N-supporter
- 2x Lysandre
- 1x Olympia
- 1x Professor Kukui
- 4x VS Seeker
- 4x Ultra Ball
- 4x Aqua Patch
- 4x Max Elixir
- 3x Choice Band
- 2x Energy Switch
- 4x Rough Seas
- 1x Field Blower
- 12x Water Energy
This list is no-nonsense. We want to set up our Lapras, we have our techs for every matchup, and we're usually hitting our stuff turn 1. It's very hard to have a naked lapras turn 1, and almost impossible to not be using Blizzard Burn by turn 2, the latest. That's where the power of this deck comes into play!
4 Lapras GX
We don't want to mess around with any other attackers. Glaceon and Palkia really are just time wasters and don't help us accomplish any goals. Think Turbo Dark.
2 Tapu Lele GX/1 Shaymin EX
This line is just consistency, there isn't much more to it. You need at least 1 Shaymin to avoid dead draws, and we want to find our supporters at the right times.
1 Manaphy EX/1 Wishiwashi SUM
Manaphy helps us retreat between Attackers and gives the entire deck free retreat, and Wishiwashi is for when we only have 1 Lapras GX set up. We can retreat to Wishi, pick him up, and reset Blizzard Burn.
1 Sudowoodo GRI
Sudowoodo is for the Ray and the Gardy that I expect. People are all going to be contemplating whether Sudowoodo will see play for a while and then eventually they'll just pull the trigger and go for Ray. That's how some people are in this game! It's also an astounding tech for Deciplume, as they can't usually set up multiple Decidueye, so you can sometimes get away with them never finding one before you're in a dominant position! We have so much spot in this deck, so why not tech for the tier 2?
1 Oricorio Sensu
We need to beat Bees if we're playing in this format, hands down. Oriciorio can manage that matchup for us. It isn't free, but it's close enough that I'm okay with it.
1 Hoopa STS
This actually is more of a Deciplume tech than a gyarados one. As I was saying with Rough Seas, your opponent often can't do much to your water types. You can just Hoopa two Shaymin or all their Decidueye and put them in OHKO range after lysandreing a Vileplume. You get 6-7 turns of Hoopa if your opponent can't retreat, and that sets you up for some strong snipe plays, and plenty of prizes. I almost want Pokemon Center Lady so that I can keep Hoopa alive longer, but they'll find energy before you can fully close a game with the card.
2 Energy Switch - Energy Switch lets us Aqua Patch to the bench and then move it to the active so you don't whiff. Think Darkrai 2013 - sometimes you just can't be mobile enough, so these help. You can also make plays where you retreat a damaged Lapras, move two energy off of it to a new one, and Blizzard Burn with a fresh one.
If you want some matchup help, here's how those go:
Garbodor Variants: 60/40
You play plenty of Items so Garb can have a field day with you if they spam Delinquent. Your game plan is to only play down Lapras. You Collect and Rough Seas and rinse/repeat and when they delinquent you can usually avoid discarding Items while you set up and find your energy. Usually they can do 20 damage a turn or less while you're setting up multiple attackers, and from there it's simple.
It's not quite an autoloss, but it's extremely tough. I don't expect this deck too heavily, though. Maybe a little bit, but it'll be knocked out of contention by the BKP Garbodors, Volcanions, and Sylveons.
This matchup is hard to lose. You prize race them but they don't play 4 Elixir anymore, so they can't keep up. Meanwhile, you set up a Lapras with ease.
4 Stadiums, Olympia, Aqua Patch and Collect make it hard for them to ever lock you. You also have ohko capability, which is huge. It's pretty hard to lose if you play it right!
Alolan Ninetales - 70/30
Ninetales can't really keep up with you. They try to do the same thing as you, but with only 4 Aqua Patch. They can definitely win if they play Alolan Muk, though, as they can lock something naked active and snipe your bench. Don't play poorly and you'll be fine!
"Who are you?" "I'm you, but better."
Greninja - 50/50
This matchup comes down to how you draw. Because you can OHKO Breaks, and because of Ice Beam on Talonflame, you have a little bit of time in a pinch, but Greninja puts you in a bad spot if you don't have the break ohko always.
That's just about everything top tier that you don't have techs for. Every thing else is cookie cutter! You just do Lapras stuff really fast and you leave your opponent shocked.
Alternative options for this deck:
1 Hex Maniac - Hex lets you take KOS on your opponent's bench easily versus Gyarados and Vespiquen, and lets you ko Greninja without worrying about Giant Water Shuriken for a turn. I don't really like it in the deck, but it's another meta-specific tech that you can run. It also turns Volcanion into a better matchup, if you REALLY don't like that deck.
1 Fighting Fury Belt - this allows your Lapras to have 230 hp and OHKO Greninja BREAK. It's an alright tech but Field Blower makes it worse than one-time-use Tools.
That's pretty much all I have for you on this one. I expect one of these two decks to easily take the tournament, or at least to have a strong showing. Good luck to those competing in Seattle this weekend, won't be there myself but you can catch me at Madison regionals next weekend! I'm hyped for some PRC-GRI, and I can't wait for all the Bee Revenges for 200+ I'm going to announce!
If you need any cards or sleeves or any tcg accessories, make sure to visit pro-playgames.com and if you want to schedule a coaching session with me you can message me on my Facebook page, Daniel Altavilla. My Instagram is xmcrslutx and my Twitter is xdaniel_sanx if you want to follow my personal life or my tournament reports. Until next time,
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