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Chris Fulop

The Adventures of Bronzor...AND Other Decks!

A final revision of my Metal deck, and a slew of my takes on other popular archetypes!

01/27/2015 by Chris Fulop

Hello again everyone! My last article was focused solely on my favorite deck in the format, Metal. I actually have a slight but significant update to the deck list to include at the top of this article as well, but beyond that I'd like to go over some of the other popular decks in this format and how I prefer to approach those as well. This is a very interesting format in that there is a very wide array of viable approaches to a large amount of deck archetypes. If you look at a popular card such as Yveltal EX, Seismitoad EX, or Manectric EX, you'll realize just how many different viable configurations there are out there which incorporate them. Let me start with an index of viable deck ideas which see some degree of play. Not every one of these are going to be at the very top tier of the game, but they can be argued for depending on a given metagame. I'm not going to be able to go over every one of these decks in detail in this article. I'm going to focus on the decks which I think are the best of them, and the ones which I have the most experience playing with and against.

Donphan
Seismitoad Garbodor
Seismitoad Slurpuff
Seismitoad Yveltal
Seismitoad Manectric
Pyroar
Pyroar Seismitoad
Crobat
Crobat Landorus
Virizion Genesect
Virizion Genesect w Support Attacker ( Drifblim, Raichu, etc )
Kyurem Plasma
Speed Lugia
Flareon
Tool Drop
Night March
Night March Flareon
Florges Fairies
Fairy Toolbox
Metal
Manectric Yveltal
Manectric Fighting
Mega Manectric/Dark
Mega Manectric/Kyurems
Aggressive Yveltal
Hard Charm Yveltal
Yveltal Garbodor

I'm likely overlooking a few archetypes here even! None the less, this is just an indication of how wide open the format at the moment is! This is a tremendous amount of variety, arguably more than we've ever seen in this game. I think the 2006 format may have been the only other one which really contests this in terms of what is competitive.

Some people may object to counting so many different sub-archetypes based around certain key Pokemon as different decks, but if you actually tested the builds out you notice how they play significantly differently and their matchups are fairly different. Before I go over some of these decks, lets start with my personal pet deck in Metal.

So the major changes here are the re-introduction of Xerosic, and the debut of the very underrated sleeper Supporter Iris. The biggest problems that the Metal deck has is dealing with assorted Pokemon which were outside the range of being one hit by a Dialga EX. The prime offenders here would be Manectric EX ( due to Resistance ) Mega Manectric EX ( 210 HP -and- Resistance ) and Yveltal EX armed with a Hard Charm. You can play a game where you deal with two hit KOs on these Pokemon, but this becomes a struggle when those builds run cards like Max Potion or Pokemon Center Lady to further deny kills. 180 HP EX Pokemon such as Darkrai, Dialga, Landorus, and Black Kyurem also pose problems. In the past, I'd tried including Hypnotoxic Laser as an effective Plus Power to handle this problem, even going so far as to include a Virbank City Gym to get the occasional +30 damage boost. This wasn't necessarily clunky, but it was very demanding on deck space. It still didn't let you reach a kill on Mega Manectric EX. In my last City Championships run, I ran a Terrakion and Fighting Energy in order to get KOs on Manectric. All of this was an indirect way to try and solve a wider problem. The solutions were still too narrow, and took up a lot of space.

As bluntly foreshadowed, the better solution to this problem is Iris. Iris not only lets you get ten additional damage, but it can reach far higher totals than that. The deck usually is somewhat on the backfoot, so it isn't unusual to be down a prize or two early to help enable the Supporter. I've been a fan of Iris for awhile now, but the card was always situational, and hard to reliably get access to in the right situation without running too many copies. This handicap is rather mitigated by VS Seeker. We already are running 4 copies of the card, and this makes the lone copy of Iris into a more abusable answer to problems. If the card gets discarded early on, its easy to get access to it as the game progresses.

Iris is an easy counter to the 180 HP Problem with just 1 prize given up. With 2 prizes given up, Yveltal EX packing Hard Charm, and Manectric EX are now answered. Previously these required a Laser AND Virbank to OHKO. Sadly, we're still 10 short of getting the KO on a Mega Manectric EX, but thats something that has to just be accepted unless you want the clunky Terrakion. One of the other cute things about Iris that is easy to overlook is that it actually gives you a chance to beat Pyroar now. Once you give up 3 Prizes, Iris enables you to OHKO a Pyroar with Bronzong and a Muscle Band. You can possibly kill 2-3 Pyroar this way. This doesn't make you close to favorable or even against Pyroar, but it does give you a fighting chance, especially if they do not know you are running Iris. The list has cut a 4th Bronzong for the 3rd Heatran, but if you wanted to answer Pyroar better, the 4th Bronzong is a good upgrade. A 4th Muscle Band could help as well, but once they get down to their last prize, you actually no longer need the Band to hit to 110.

Xerosic had been removed from the deck for awhile, mainly due to a decline in the popularity of Garbodor. The deck is surprisingly more resiliant to Garbodor than it looks at first glance. The hardest matchup would end up being Seismitoad Garbodor, but you can really nerf them pretty hard by using Quaking Punch against them to mitigate their damage output and cut off their disruption. None the less, that matchup can be close, and as the deck makes a bit of resurgence in popularity, Xerosic has earned its spot back.

The other major use for Xerosic ( It will always have fringe value as being able to strip DCEs or occasional tools away in a game ) is in the Fairy Toolbox matchup. I mentioned before that decks which can deprive you of OHKOs can be a bit of a problem. The Fairy Toolbox deck abuses Max Potion and runs Mega Manectric EX, so you see where that problem comes in. You can end up KOing all of their Aromatisse, and still win the game, but its not something I like playing against. The big catch? They only run 4 Rainbow Energy! This card is crucial in the decks ability to use durable attackers against Metal. You can crutch on Xerosic as a way to keep them off of Rainbows. This does a ton to make the matchup more palatable. Some builds of Fairy Toolbox do run Lysandre's Trump Card to help reset their Rainbow counts. With a timely Trump Card, the matchup becomes very close, and without it, I've had a ton of success with this energy removal plan.

One of the reasons I've been testing other archetypes lately is that I do not plan to play this deck at Regionals. I realized a bit later than I should have that this deck has problems with Best of Three matches in under an hour. I had no problem taking the deck to top cut in tournaments, but failed to clench first with it. On average, a game with the deck pushes 25 minutes to a half hour. Aside from this, it often has to play from behind at the start of a game. This means that you are really pressured in a game 3 where you often only have 10 minutes or so of game time. In top cut, this means a prize race. At Regionals, this means a draw. I am extremely paranoid about the deck's ability to avoid draws at Regionals.

As a result, while I feel like the deck is a very good choice in Cities where I feel more comfortable using it to get into top cut, I feel like I'm going to be stuck getting too many draws to make day 2 with it at Regionals even if I play fast. I love how it has a very good matchup against Crobat, Donphan, Toad decks, and some of the Fairy builds. Those lopsided matchups really make me want to keep the deck as an option despite the time issues. I know the deck as well as I can already, so I can safely fall back on it at the last minute if need be, meaning I get to spend my time focusing on other alternatives.

This is a bit of an aside, but people discuss the validity of 50 minutes is enough time for best of 3 in swiss for an event, and I feel that the fact that it lopsidedly benefits certain decks is a major deterrent. You are encouraged to play aggressive decks against slower decks because you have the ability to close games out when needed, but generally still maintain the ability to force draws with it when it is beneficial for you.

...and Other Decks!

Donphan is one of the formats most powerful and popular decks. It was arguably the best deck in the format prior to Phantom Forces, and that set gifted the deck with a giftwrapped present in Robo-Substitute. Ironically, despite this, I feel like Donphan lost ground in it's standing in the format due to the printing of VS Seeker. Previously, decks ran 2-3 Lysandre, and now it is easy for almost every deck to have access to 6+ Lysandre effects without going out of their way to handicap their build to do this.

The release of Phantom Forces gave the deck a lot of "hit and run" hide behind options besides just the little robot that could. ( Unless the task is retreating. Then it cannot. ) The full list of options include:

Robo-Substitute
Reshiram
Zekrom
Kyurem
Wobbuffet
Sigilyph
Suicune
Trevenant
Pyroar

Alright, the last two are really fringe, but I've seen people build lists that do no mind incorporating some additional stage 1s into the deck because their Abilities are both very powerful and disruptive. They both really gut the deck of it's consistency, and cramp deck space pretty badly. Popular opinion has also given Sigilyph the nod over Suicune, due to it's retreat cost.

Wobbuffet became the decks mini Garbodor, useful against decks crutching on Abilities. It also has a fairly healthy HP total to back that up. The three "dragons" are all 130 HP basics which have Outrage, and saw play to try and play rock paper scissors with the type game. Reshiram helps vs Metal and Virizion Genesect. Zekrom helps against Yveltal. Kyurem is primarily used to handle mirror match, forcing Donphan to swing into it.

Reshiram has been trumped by both decks it is supposed to beat. Heatran one shots it easily enough. Virizion Genesect decks have added a Deoxys to be able to hit 130 with a Muscle Band on Megalo-Cannon. Zekrom is weaker now too, as it isn't that difficult for them to get KOs on it. The card isn't close to as gimped as Reshiram has been, though. Kyurem isn't useless against Donphan, but it has gotten a lot worse due to VS Seeker. Donphan no longer has to go through the active at all, due to how many Lysandre it can play now. Wreck is the real matchup breaker, and while preventing casual Spinning Turns does help, it is not the main fight that is fought during the games.

Now that we have Robo Substitute, I've decided to cut all of these clunky Pokemon altogether. They offer a minimal advantage to the deck, since Donphan has such big bullseye on it's head and decks have planned to counter them back. By removing them, not only do you get more space from cutting them, but you also can get rid of Float Stone altogether. You also no longer need a copy of Ultra Ball, since everything in the deck is now a Fighting Type. To replace the Pokemon, we've ramped the number of Hawlucha, a free retreater, up to FOUR. The card is fantastic against Aegislash EX, Virizion EX, Genesect EX, Seismitoad EX, Yveltal EX and...well, pretty much all EXes actually.

Seismitoad decks are actually fairly challenging for Donphan traditionally. Having additional copies of Hawlucha really helps against Toad. It two shots them a lot of the time, and forces them to be able to have Muscle Band, Virbank, and Laser to be able to one shot it back. It cuts under the disruptive cards they run, and puts out a ton of damage. Toad is also the reason the build opts to go with 3 Lysandre and 3 VS Seeker opposed to a more traditional 2-4 ratio. 2-4 may still be correct, but I like the extra insurance against Toad.

With the extra space in the deck, I've also added a pair of Enhanced Hammers. Outside of this hunting DCE and Rainbow Energy, it also is crucial in the Donphan mirror match. The games often come down to Wreck, and having them really puts you far ahead in that race.

Donphan has a few things going for it. First, it easily beats Pyroar, and Manectric based decks. The latter is an exaggeration, because some builds opt to run a lot of cards to try and give themselves a fighting chance against Donphan. You'll see that some of the popular companions for Manectric are Yveltal ( Resistant to Fighting ) and Seismitoad ( Donphan is weak to Water ).

Donphan struggles against Metal, Crobat decks ( They have resistance, and can easily assault the bench ), and certain builds of Yveltal. Yveltal decks packing Hard Charm are a real chore for the deck. I've seen some Donphan builds running Startling Megaphone as a counter to Hard Charm when the card got very popular in their area. Charm, paired with a Fighting Resistance really adds up and becomes a problem. Yveltal EX struggles due to Silver Bangle, Fighting Stadium, and Hawlucha, but the baby Yveltal is a huge problem. It eats through Robo-Substitutes easily, and packing a Hard Charm it is a very difficult card to actually knock out. Even without Charm it is a chore to chew through.

Yveltal decks are all over the place. I pointed out in my index at the start of the article just how many particular builds there are for the deck. This is the build I've currently been using. My friend Kristen, from England, top 8ed her first Cities with a very similar build last weekend. ( Congratulations! ) I want to point something out with the archetype in general though.

I am not terribly impressed by Yveltal EX. The card is clearly very powerful. I feel like, without Dark Patch, that the card is actually slightly below what the other format defining cards are doing. On the other hand, the card I absolutely love is normal Yveltal. At 130 HP and a non EX, this card is really difficult to chew through. It has a one energy attack which accelerates your energy attachments, and also puts out a substantial amount of damage which makes subsequent KOs easy for the deck to obtain.

Yveltal goes from a powerful card to being a real driving force of the deck when paired with Energy Switch and Darkrai EX. This pair simulates a bit of a poor man's Dark Patch, letting you really get access to a lot of energy in play. Alongside the ability to use Yveltal EX's Y-Cyclone, the deck can really keep a lot of energy in play.

Lets look at a few cards I am opting not to play, and why.

Hard Charm: Hard Charm's primary purpose is to beat Donphan. I feel like we beat Donphan anyways. I feel like beyond this, it doesn't do enough mess up math for the opponent. In general, Yveltal EX ends up being two hit, and I don't see a lot of spots where Charm changes that. Sure, Hard Charm denies a Dialga EX a one shot KO, but as much as I like the deck, I'm not naive enough to view Metal as a metagame defining deck as it sees minimal play in most areas. The other one shots on an Yveltal EX come from G-booster or a Lightning type, and Hard Charm doesn't help there. I don't see Hard Charm changing many two hit KOs into 3 hit KOs either. Again, this isn't to say that it never helps. It clearly does, but I don't think it does enough to justify its costs. I really like Muscle Band in this deck. As you can see, I'm running the full four copies. I mentioned how much I loved normal Yveltal, and since I attack with it often, that means I want access to a whole lot of Bands. I feel like Yveltal in general really wants to accept a very aggressive role, and thus a defensive Tool like Hard Charm doesn't really flow with how I like to focus the deck. I don't really hate running say, a lone copy, to be able to search out against Donphan, but in general I am just not too high on this card.

Shadow Circle: I've seen players adopt this card as a means to be able to combat Manectric EX. I've always hated defensive Stadiums in a format where decks play a lot of counter stadiums. A lot of Manectric EX decks run Virbank and Lasers. Mega Manectric decks don't always run Stadiums, but once people started running Shadow Circle around here, they added a Stadium just to counter it. I feel the same way to a degree with Hard Charm. If the card is really that good against certain decks, then you have to expect at least some builds of those decks to run the appropriate counters back. They don't invalidate the cards entirely, but they certainly do hinder their value to the point I really don't want to be running them. I've seen some builds which forego Lasers altogether to run Shadow Circles, and that seems really undesirable to me. I want the pressure when playing a deck like this. I understand that Lasers are weak against Seismitoad EX, and Virizion Genesect, but they are so overwhelmingly powerful everywhere else that it is worth it.

Garbodor: Ok, this is a card I actually still like. Unfortunately, it takes up quite a lot of space in the deck. Not only do you need to fit the Garbodor line, but you need Float Stones and additional switching effects. You lose the ability to abuse Darkrai EX for retreating, which really does matter. This really gimps how effective normal Yveltal ends up being. You don't have quite enough matchups where Garbodor is where I want to be to justify it at the moment. Garbodor is good against Pyroar, Metal, Virizion Genesect, Fairies and Crobat. Pyroar is barely played. Metal and VG are both tolerable matchups without Garbodor. Fairy decks are a very valid reason to include Garbodor. I feel like Crobat is actually pretty good at killing Garbodors as well.

On the other hand, lets look at some of the numbers I did decide to go with.

2 Darkrai EX: Darkness Veil is a great Ability, especially with Yveltal. I want this guy in play every game, except against fighting decks. Beyond this, with Yveltal, and Energy Switch, it is actually very realistic to power it up and use Night Spear! With this current configuration, you use Darkrai quite a bit. He is actually one of your "counters" against Manectric EX decks. It doesn't necessarily trump the deck, but it is a neutral attacker who gives you some game there. I'd rather take this route than hope that Shadow Circle sticks. The 30 damage off of Night Spear really makes sweeping with a Yveltal EX much easier.

1 Keldeo EX: Keldeo helps against Lasers, and has obvious synergy with Darkrai EX. Beyond that, it also ends up being a pretty reasonable attacker against Donphan, as it can OHKO the Elephant with a Muscle Band.

1 Seismitoad EX: I actually really wish I had a 2nd copy of Seismitoad in this deck. You want one copy to help slow other Toad decks down, and it provides another non-Lightning weak attacker. In games where you want to be using Quaking Punch, I occasionally find myself wishing I had a second copy of it available. It just fits so well into a deck with 4 Band, 4 DCE, and a full set of Lasers. 1 is the bare minimum I would run. I don't know if a second copy is necessary, but if I had the choice to change one card in the deck, I feel like it would end up being for a second Toad.

3 Energy Switch: I touched on it before, but I feel like this card, alongside Yveltal and Darkrai EX, is the glue that holds this deck together. It makes the deck flow so much better. You can maybe get away with two copies, but I feel like I'd prefer going to 4 before I'd do 2. 3 seems like the perfect count from testing so far.

1 Max Potion: I like the ability to deprive players of prizes. Any time I can let a player chase a good game plan for awhile, and then deny them a prize and turn that plan into a bad one, I'll take it. Punishing proper play is the best way to turn losses into wins. With Energy Switches, and this decks general ability to produce an excess of energy, Max Potion is very powerful. This also does a lot of work against Crobat, which is able to do some pretty substantial bench damage. This card is technically a luxury card, but one I really like having.

1 Enhanced Hammer: This is the other luxury card in the deck. It isn't really necessary, but you do find a lot of games where stripping away one attachment can be backbreaking. If you've read my prior articles, I've been fairly critical of Enhanced Hammer as being situational, but in a deck like this which wants to be fairly aggressive, you really are set to capitalize on the tempo advantage better than a lot of decks which I've seen run Enhanced Hammers.

The other numbers seem pretty standard and self explanatory. I don't feel like I need to go too much in depth over those counts.

Virizion Genesect is a deck I've always disliked. I feel like it is too straight forward, with minimal ability to outplay people. That isn't going to be a major deterent normally, if I felt like it's power level justified the lack of flexibility. I think the main objection, though, stems from the huge swing this deck has between going first and going second. I feel like I am always in such bad shape whenever I wind up on the draw. This is only further compounded by the popularity of Crushing Hammer and Head Ringer, which can either make going 2nd into a total bloodbath, or effectively turn going first into going second as it sets you behind an energy. The deck also suffers from having a near fatal weakness to Fire across all of it's attackers.

Despite me basically writing a paragraph about how much I dislike the deck, I don't think it is necessarily a bad deck! It is generally a very powerful and consistent deck. G-Booster is such a great catch-all. With Deoxys, it is one of the few ways to actually take out a Mega Manectric EX in the format. You also find yourself with a pretty even Yveltal and Donphan matchup, depending on specific builds. You also are a Seismitoad EX's deck worst nightmare. I'm not going to sit and argue whether the deck is a good call or not at the moment, as people seem to be fairly polarized on the issue as it is. What I will do is discuss the particular build I'm using.

First off, the debate comes down to whether to go with a straight forward build or whether it is worth adding a support attacker. My friends had been testing a build with Drifblim in it, and I was actually fairly impressed by what the Balloon was doing. Unfortunately, looking over their list, it eats up a lot of space, and I don't know if I felt it was worth those concessions. I haven't ruled out trying to improve a list using them, as I felt something may be there, but I'm not happy with a build of it yet.

The Pokemon line in this build is very straight forward. There is nothing fancy about it. I do wish it had an additional Pokemon to reduce Jirachi starts, but Jirachi is too good not to play. I'd love to find a non EX attacker to include for that purpose, as it also lets me force a player to take that "7th" prize. Mr. Mime isn't a terrible inclusion in the deck, as it has uses vs Landorus EX, Crobat, Manectric EX, and Darkrai EX, but the fact it can't really serve an attacking role at all is a big downside.

The energy is pretty simple as well. I wouldn't go below 9 Grass ever. I don't really bother playing means to shuffle any back in. I've seen some people run a Psychic for Deoxys, or even Herbal Energy. I'm not getting too adventurous here and keeping it straight forward.

My Trainers on the other hand end up spreading out quite a bit since this deck already makes such great use of Skyla. This lends itself to a bit of a toolbox.

Colress Machine: I love this card, and feel 1 copy is perfect in here. The decks biggest energy sans Fire is that it needs to keep up with energy attachments. This card does a decent amount to help with that. You generally don't have multiple spots in a game to capitalize on it, but you almost always have one.

Max Potion: I just like this card in general and feel it is a really good trick. I feel like this card does a lot to help steal back being ahead in an exchange for when you go 2nd. The fact it really earns its keep in games where you need the most help makes it fairly invaluable to me.

Tool Retriever: This lets you take a Muscle Band off Virizion to put it on a Genesect. It also lets you remove a Muscle Band to use G-Booster. You can bounce G-Booster to conserve it for later. Lastly, it is your best answer to Head Ringer. This is the one deck that gets absolutely plagued by Head Ringer. That is also a reason why I am running the full 4 Muscle Band, plus a Xerosic. Tool Retriever may be unnecessary in the deck, and is likely the first card I would cut from this list, but its played a lot better than I expected it to. The first time someone mentioned playing it in this deck, I refused to believe it was anything but absolutely unnecessary. I have changed my mind a bit there.

Xerosic: This is a nice concession to wanting both an Enhanced Hammer and a Megaphone. It also helps with the Head Ringer issue. I don't love the card, but it pulls it's weight.

Shadow Triad: This card is obviously necessary, and I'm just glad we have VS Seeker so we don't have to run 2 copies of this thing anymore.

Lysandre: Due to Donphan, you really need the ability to get around Robo-Substitutes. Red Signal isn't reliable enough to carry a whole game vs them. With Lysandre and the VS Seekers ( Plus a single copy of Escape Rope ) you
have a much better game there.

Quad Seismitoad was a bit of a boogeyman with the release of Phantom Forces. I still like the deck, even though it is extremely grindy. Going into Regionals, I also feel like this is a deck that is prone to just drawing itself right out of a tournament.

One thing I want to point out is the number of energy I am running. I'm sitting at a full 9 energy, which is actually much higher than a lot of lists for the archetype. I feel like the deck in general self destructs quite often. I was missing a lot of energy drops, and with Xerosic's popularity on the rise, I was finding DCE to be more and more vulnerable. I've also found myself wanting to at least threaten a Grenade Hammer, especially in the mirror match. I thought I was just being paranoid at first and that the lower count was correct and just a risk you have to take with the deck in general, until I played some games with the upped count. I felt the deck in general was just playing a lot more comfortably.

I am a big fan of Skyla in this deck. You aren't extremely demanding on what you NEED to accomplish every turn, regarding your Toads. With your Ace Spec being Comp. Search, the set of 3 Skyla now give you an effective 8 copies of DCE for your first turn. The deck has too few Basics to run Colress, and I'm surely not running any Shauna. One thing that does really bother me about the deck is that it runs only 6 Basics. This means I can't justify using Jirachi EX, even though the deck REALLY needs it. Part of me really wants to say it is worth the risk, but the deck's game plan is fragile enough that an opening stumble is particularly damaging.

The deck has 7 "Disruption" slots available to it. I currently have it at a split of 4 Crushing Hammer, 2 Head Ringer and only 1 Enhanced Hammer. I'm not sure that is correct. Head Ringer is pretty much your best shot at stealing a game against VG, and it is really important in mirror match too.

Pokemon Center Lady is primarily for Toad mirror match, as it is able to negate a Laser and 1-2 Quaking Punches as a Supporter. If Toad mirror is very popular, a second copy of the card is probably pretty reasonable. Of course, the card is just useful in most games.

One of the cards I am on the fence about in the deck right now is Lysandre's Trump Card. It lets you restock everything, which seems really good in such a grindy deck. Unfortunately, the deck's draw power is kind of clunky, and the Trump Card has been a bit awkward whenever I've had it. I love it in theory, but I've seen very few games where it has played out in that manner. If I wanted to run Trump Card, I would look into building the following...

This is a deck that got very popular during the Cities marathons. This is a stock list from those events, and I haven't really made any changes to that. The idea is that you use Tasting Slurpuff to draw multiple cards every turn, so when you recycle your disruptive cards, you can draw into them quickly to use them. The 4-4 line also makes it so you can trim down the amount of Supporters you run. I've heard about a list that only runs 4 Juniper as Supporters, and uses 4 Random Receiver in it. I haven't seen a list for it yet, and am not sure how that would be built, but it seems pretty crazy!

Looking over the list, I see a few changes I think I'd want to try out. I'm not a big fan of Team Flare Grunt when we have access to so much item based disruption in a deck that can draw such a bulk of cards. I'm fine with a single copy, but I think I'd make the 2nd copy into the 4th Crushing Hammer. I also think I'd trim the 3rd Head Ringer into a 4th Laser. There may be matchups in particular that these numbers have been skewed for, but on first glance those would be my adjustments.

I'm not sure if I like the Victini EX at all. I can see the deck being disruptive enough to actually keep even a deck like VG low on energy in play so a Victini can kill a Genesect and avoid a return kill. I'm not so sure on how effective it ends up being though. I feel like the deck is going to struggle against a deck that has a more impactful game plan that also runs a couple of Seismitoad EX to disrupt it's disruption. The Supporter based energy removal cards in Grunt and Xerosic do help though.

If you cut the Victini EX, is there even a point to running the 2 basic energy? It seems so difficult to ever attach both of them to a Seismitoad, and otherwise, 1 plus a DCE is redunant in all spots but those involving a Head Ringer. The Basic Energy really don't become very useful in the deck until you run like, at minimum 4. I tried a list with 4 DCE 3 Water, and the Waters were pretty much dead cards because it was so hard to pair them at any point in a game. Going down to 2 would be even worse.

A deck that has gained some popularity recently is the Fairy Toolbox deck. On a related note, there are also people playing a Fairy deck based around using all Fairy types, and Florges EX. I'm not entirely sure I am sold on that deck yet, but I do see some of the merits to it. The Toolbox build is more appealing to me because it lets me use Mega Manectric EX, which is an awesome card and one that I've thus far been very frustrated to find a home for. I've yet to find a build that has been performing up to what I'd want around a card that is very clearly good. The fact it slips so nicely into this shell is alluring. The second card I like is Malamar EX, a card I now associate with being Kyle Sabelhaus' pet card. It offers such an obnoxious disruption over the course of the whole game. I love any deck which is able to play such a strong defensive game as this. This may be the only deck that has a long game which I feel is strong than Bronzong and Co.

The challenge with the deck is figuring out exactly what Pokemon you want to run to power off of Rainbow Energy. Manectric is a very clear choice, as he answers Yveltal well, chews through Pyroar, and is your default 200+ HP attacker that is guaranteed to get good value off of Max Potion. Malamar may not be entirely necessary but I think its been strong enough to keep in the deck. I'm running Seismitoad for the same reason I do in Metal. Mewtwo is a huge sweeper if you hit a critical mass of energy. On top of that, both Toad and Mewtwo are able to attack without Rainbow Energy, so I like having that option. I'm actually running the Stoke Charizard EX, because for a lone Rainbow energy, its able to OHKO Virizion, Genesect, and all the Metal Pokemon. It is otherwise a worse card than it's Combustion Blast counterpart, but when you are using it particularly to take advantage of it being a Fire type, the low Fire cost of it's big attack is more important.

As for normal attackers, Xerneas is the deck's primary means of energy acceleration. I've seen decks run anywhere from 1-3 copies of it, and I'm firmly in the middle. I want to open with it a lot. I feel its a viable attacker, and there are also games where I want to use more than one copy. I feel like one copy is just too risky, and there are distinct diminishing returns on a 3rd or jeeze, a 4th copy. Xerneas EX is a big hitter that also doesn't take Rainbow Energy to attack. The card isn't super exciting, but it is a pretty good universal attacker. Part of me feels like it could actually get cut.

As for the other Pokemon, and a lack of a certain Pokemon, we are running 3-3 Aromatisse. I've seen people go with a 2-2 line, and a 3-2 line. I just want this card in play every game, as quickly as possible. I also want to be able to threaten additional copies so I'm not just risking a Lysandre cutting me off the card. Due to this, my bench ends up filling very quickly. This is why I'm not running a Jirachi EX. I'm not sure that is correct. It could be better to just bite the bullet and run Jirachi anyways.

There are a lot of Pokemon which could make the cut in this deck too. Virizion EX is a great counter to status conditions. Darkrai EX helps to mitigate your need for Fairy Garden. Both of these eat up a bench space though, and I feel like I'd have to run one of these, or Malamar. It is going to be a very rare game where I can afford to deligate two bench spaces to utility Pokemon. Fairy Garden lets you retreat around Lasers, even against Toad, so I don't think I care to play Virizion. If I wanted to use Dakrai EX, I think the whole list would want an overhaul as I'd be using it instead of most of the Fairy Gardens.

Shaymin EX is also a nice sweeper, but I feel like the card has just gotten worse over time. It doesn't kill Mega EXes. Its often difficult to give up exactly 5 prizes to get it to OHKO an EX. It is a lot of work and only good at the very end of the game, and we have access to a lot of options besides it. Yveltal EX is a possible contender as it is extremely powerful, but I gave Mewtwo EX the nod over it due to wanting a similar attacker that doesn't need Rainbow Energy to do anything. Yveltal may just be so much stronger that it warrants taking the riskier approach there, but Mewtwo has been pretty good thus far.

As for the Trainers, the draw Supporter line is pretty standard. I'm also including a Pokemon Fan Club. At Regionals in October, Pooka ran a full set of them in his Fairy build, but I don't particularly like going that far with it. I do think the card has value to the deck, but they get pretty weak mid game. I'm running Xerosic as a means to combat Garbodor, a card which more or less has it's way with this deck. I'm running an AZ at the expense of the 4th Max Potion, which may seem odd at first, but the card functions under Seismitoad, ends up being up to 5 copies of a healing card with VS Seeker, and can actual remove Pokemon off your field when you don't want them eating up bench space. As I said, your bench space is very valuable, so being able to switch it up is pretty useful. With the AZ, I'm more enticed by the idea of squeezing Jirachi EX into here.

Another slight compromise I've made is to run a Switch over the 4th Fairy Garden. I love the Garden, but I want a card which can occasionally get me out of status conditions, and one which can get me a Xerneas active on the first turn to Geomancy. That isn't going to happen too often, but I like having a true switching card in the deck.

I'm running a Trump Card, to reset my Rainbow Energy and Max Potions. With the addition of AZ to give us even more healing, the Max Potion argument for this card may be weakened. Very few games go THAT deep. I feel a bit safer having the card, but the deck is fairly tight on space, so I could see it being trimmed since most games it is just dead weight.

I decided to run 1 Double Colorless Energy in the deck to help pay for some of the heftier attack costs, and figure I can get away with using Computer Search to find it. It may be too cute, at which point it gets cut for the 7th Fairy Energy.

This is a deck that really just needs to be tweaked for individual metagames. It can squeeze pretty much anything into it, so its hard to offer up a definitive 60 cards that is "correct" universally.

There are plenty of other decks which are viable choices for tournaments. I picked some of the ones I've personally gravitated towards to discuss in this article. I touched on it a bit in passing, but I've been looking to find a deck using Manectric EX in it. That is the biggest roleplayer in the format which I didn't showcase a deck for. The problem I have seen is that I just haven't found a deck for it which I'm happy with. Donphan is a very popular deck, and you have to bend over backwards just to be able to beat it. One of the annoying things about Donphan is that while extremely potent in the hands of a skilled player who knows the deck inside and out, it is also probably the best "pick up and play" deck in the format for an average player to use. As a result, this makes for a ton of the decks showing up at tournaments. The deck is good enough to warrant significant use, and it sees even more tha that due to cost, and often auto-pilot nature of the deck. This does quite a bit of damage to Manectric's overall viability.

The other deck I would like to cover more are Crobat variants. I'm very intrigued by the Crobat Landorus build in particular, but I haven't found a list I'm really happy with there either. Its on the top of my list to be testing in the near future. I've always liked Landorus EX as a card, and am thrilled that a new deck has popped up for it now that the whole "Fighting Big Basics" deck has fallen to the wayside as Donphan had taken over as being the primary Fighting deck on the market.

As a bit of a preview, the next article I will be working on coming up is a comprehensive review of the entire Primal Clash expansion coming up shortly. This looks to be a really fun expansion, offering some very likely to be impactful cards in it. I know there are quite a few cards I am really excited about. ( No, not just Mega Aggron EX! ) In the mean time, if you have any questions, or comments about the decks in this article, ask in the comments! I do my best to cover a lot about the decks in my article but I'm not always able to hit everything, so if you want to know more, I'll do my best to answer anything asked in the comment section for this article!

 

Chris

 

(image credits: Sa-Dui )

 

[+3] okko


 

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