Experts' corner

Chris Fulop

The Primal Clash Metagame

I Evaluate Most Of The Archetypes Being Showcased At States And Regionals Around The World, Offering My Own Personal Tweaks And Changes.

04/13/2015 by Chris Fulop

Hello again everyone! I want to start off this article with a bit of bad news from my end of things. Due to financial reasons, I've decided that it is in my best interest to give up the grind of chasing Championship Points towards this year's World Championships. Travel costs ( Gas, hotel, food for 2+ days, etc ) plus entry fees for events have really started to add up. Hitting up 2-3 events a month adds up, and coupled with the opportunity cost of missing Magic tournaments every weekend ( I make more money playing in those, plus the amount of money I would make off of trading. ) has really left me pretty cramped financially. I was originally planning to make it to Indiana States two weekends ago, to use Sceptile Genesect, but opted out due to recovering from a nasty stomach virus. That was when I really had to sit down and think about whether I could really justify devoting so much time to attending these events. Don't get me wrong: I love the current format, and haven't had this much fun playing Pokemon in a very long time. I'm at the point where I really need 2 more solid finishes at States and Regionals, and unless I go particularly deep in them, I'd need to be grinding a ton of League Challenges, which I really don't have the patience to do.

Of course, I'll also be going to Nationals, and Worlds. This will be the first Nationals I play in since 2008, so I am pretty excited! I could still wind up with an invite if I do well at Nationals, but I'm not making the full push as I had intended. I'll admit it was a tough decision to make, but I feel it is the best one for me to make in my current situation.

Anyways, now that I got that bit of depressing news off my chest, I want to address the evolving metagame we are experience as this years State Championships progress. First off, we have two new archetypes really starting to gain a foothold: Exeggcutor and Primal Kyogre. This continues to widen the metagame for this format, which now includes a pretty wide berth of decks. Lets look at what decks I would expect to see going into an upcoming tournament.

- Quad Seismitoad Decks
- Yveltal
- Flareon
- Night March
- Virizion Genesect
- Metal
- Exeggcutor
- Kyogre
- Primal Groudon
- Fairies
- Crobat
- Donphan

I may be overlooking something, but this should be a majority of what to expect going into an event. Lets go over some of the lists I have for the decks, as well as my thoughts on the archetypes.

I'm not a huge fan of Night March in general, because I feel like it is still on everyone's radar. Seismitoad EX is very popular still, and while beatable, the card is a big hurdle to jump. The biggest problem is, of course, Lysandre's Trump Card, which has made it's way into most decks by now. It is unfortunate that there are multiple "Battle Compressor" gimmick decks in the metagame at the moment, because it makes running Trump card extra lucrative. ( I feel a lot of decks would run the card anyways, because it makes managing your resources a real non-issue, and the card is just too good with VS Seeker. ) Players really hate losing to Night March and Flareon decks though, that is for sure. The way they approach the game is very offputting to opponents. The general vibe they give off is that they work in terms of auto wins and auto losses. Either your deck inherently has a good matchup against them, or you just don't interact well at all with them, and almost always lose. Generally it doesn't matter what kind of start you get, or how well you play, the deck is either good against you, or bad against you. In this case, Trump Card is a bit of a hard counter against these decks, and for 1 spot in your deck, you can really throw a massive wrench in their plans. Losing to Night March is very frustrating, and players love the opportunity to try and just "trump" it ( such a pun ) and shore up the matchup by adding a card. Obviously some matchups are just so lopsided it doesn't matter, but enough decks can beneficially use Trump Card to lock up the matchup that I know I wouldn't want to be using Night March myself.

This list is fairly straight forward, only I'm opting to include a 1 of Empoleon alongside an Archie's Ace In The Hole to push it out. This combo seems pretty free to include since the rest of the engine is in place. Beyond that, it gives the deck some staying power. It's Ability helps you reset from Trump Cards, and Empoleon is a functional attacker you can use in the mean time while you do recover. ( Even with Empoleon, I've found it difficult to rebuild from a Trump in one turn to the point where your attack is super effective, so he makes a good bridge. Plus, unlike Flareon builds which run Leafeon, you don't really hard a good game plan for the nightmare scenario of Trump Card + Quaking Punch. Empoleon does a bit of work there, at least. )

This list is very similar to the one I used for Michigan States, but with a few changes. I found myself really struggling against other Seismitoad decks, as a late game Quaking Punch left me very vulnerable in terms of draw power and Lysandre draws. I decided to sacrifice the 4th VS Seeker to add a 3rd Lysandre. It is a fairly subtle change, but one I think will help me against Toad mirrors. One of the big problems I experienced using this deck was that it was just not quite as tooled for the mirror match as other players had made their lists, and I felt like a bit of an underdog for that. While not a fancy or shiny change, I think upping my Lysandre count will certainly help. Beyond this, I also added an additional Colress to my supporter count. I cut an Yveltal to do so, which I didn't like doing. It is somewhat counter-intuitive to cut one of your Basic Pokemon ( going down to 10 ) to fit a Colress into the deck, but I really wanted to have additional late game draw power. While I feel I had gotten unlucky at States by falling victim to a number of really rough N + Quaking Punch spots, the situation comes up enough I want to be building with it in mind. The metagame has shifted a bit more since then, so perhaps I am overreacting to Seismitoad, but I don't believe I am.

I'm still a big fan of just going with a lot of consistency with the deck. I want all four Ultra Ball, and 3 Switches. I'm still a big fan of Skyla in here, as it allows me to get access to DCE very reliably due to Comp. Search being my ace spec. I like this deck ( and build )'s ability to fluidly switch up its opening game plan between Seismitoad and Yveltals. I may be overdoing that sort flexibility but for me it is a selling point of the archetype. I know a lot of players opt to run cards like Super Scoop Up or Head Ringer, but I'm a fan of the very proactive approach of the archetype. I'm not saying there aren't multiple good ways to build the deck, this is just my personal preference.

So Flareon has seen varying degrees of play in different areas of the world. The mere threat of the deck ( coupled with that of Night March ) has led to the influx of Lysandre's Trump Card in pretty much every deck. ( It is kind of funny, as people have been forced to play with the card, general consensus seems to have leaned towards the card just being so good that it should be played in decks anyways. It took these two decks rising to prominence to really force everyone's hand though. ) The decks have also been a major catalyst for the return of Seismitoad EX to such a prominent role oppressing the format.

One of the major things that this deck has going for it over Night March is that it is much more resiliant to Trump Card ( Especially when paired alongside Quaking Punch ) than it's Night March "counterpart". Empoleon helps give the deck some recovery, while also providing a reasonable attacker. I'm running an Empoleon in my Night March as well now, but that deck also struggles to keep a fuller bench a lot of the time. Due to the need to get such a high density of it's Pokemon discarded, it is hard to get full damage out of Empoleon's attack.

One of the "hilarious" things about this deck is that it is actually not all that good against the now popular Exeggcutor deck. You'd think a deck running a Fire type Pokemon that easily hits a OHKO on the Egg would just butcher the deck, but you end up being really weak to all of the Crushing Hammers. You end up needing to hit all of your DCEs a lot of times. Since I feel like this deck can be built to give itself a pretty good matchup against Eggs, I've added a newcomer to the Archie's Ace In The Hole package: Swampert. While Empoleon is a good attacker, and gives you raw card advantage, Swampert lets you set up card selection. Swampert has great synergy with Empoleon itself, Slurpuff, and Acrobike in particular. This way, you can easily set up your DCE drops, and just further smooth out draws. I'm not positive I'm keeping the card, but I've been fairly happy with it so far.

This isn't exactly out of the box building, but I'm sticking with 3 copies of Leafeon in this deck. The card is very good against Seismitoad ( And I feel like the 3rd copy does a lot to really make the package "decent" against the quad Toad decks to being "good" against them. ) and is also a great counter to Kyogre and Groudon. I'm running the awkward Deoxys EX because it lets you hit some pretty key numbers with Leafeon. Against Kyogre and Groudon, both of which thrive on a minimum of 4 energy, it lets you reach 240 damage. The base 80 from it's attack, paired with Silver Bangle and the Deoxys brings the total damage to 120 prior to being doubled for Weakness. Against Seismitoad's 2 energy requirement, this takes a Leafeon from three hitting a Toad ( Assuming Bangle is locked out of the equation by Quaking Punch ) down to taking it out in only a pair of hits.

I actually feel like Flareon is pretty well positioned at the moment. I think with the Leafeon package we have, our Seismitoad matchup is solid. Kyogre has gained a lot of momentum lately, and that deck is fairly poorly positioned against Leafeon. The deck can be built to have pretty good game against another popular play in Exeggcutor. To deal with the grass weak Seismitoad EX, Primal Kyogre, and Primal Groudon, Virizion Genesect looks like an appealing option as well. The deck, due to Virizion's Ability, is also very strong against Exeggcutor. I would not be surprised at all to see a large spike in that deck's play, and it is pretty much incapable of beating Flareon.

I'm not a big fan of the Seismitoad decks at the moment. This isn't even because the decks are not good. I would have a hard time arguing that Seismitoad EX is not the best card in the game right now. The problem actually stems FROM that fact. Seismitoad has a giant bullseye on it's slimey little head. People are skewing their builds to beating the card. Decks which are just huge underdogs to the card are being phased from the metagame. People are willing to run a multitude of cards in their lists specifically to improve their odds to beat these type of decks. Everyone has tested a ton of games against it. This doesn't mean people actually are favored against it, even. The decks are just that powerful. It does mean that you get very few easy matchups, which is annoying. You are almost guaranteed to have a grindy, competitive match every round. The biggest problem I see from this is that you are facing down the threat of a lot of draws.

There is another problem I have with choosing to play any of the dedicated Seismitoad decks. Mirror match is a long, grindy affair, and whichever Toad deck is built to fight mirror better winds up at a huge advantage. That sounds pretty obvious, but the nature of the way these mirrors play out create long, full games where it very often comes down to deck construction. If a player chooses to run cards like Cassius, Pokemon Center Lady, Team Flare Grunt, Head Ringer, etc, they wind up being quite favored in mirror matches. These cards are generally less exciting in other matchups, though. Cards like Super Scoop Up and Crushing Hammer are incredible in Toad decks, being some of your best weapons in most matchups. Unfortunately, they are pretty awful in mirror match. Now, another problem needs addressed: Exeggcutor. The deck runs Virizion EX, making it so Seismitoad decks now are really gimped in terms of damage output. ( Running Garbodor potentially helps there ) Cards like Super Scoop Up are pretty great in that matchup, and the Supporters end up being dead cards. So now, we are pinched between two directions in how to build these decks. Items are crucial to beating Exeggcutor decks, and are generally better against the average deck, but Supporters are what wins mirror match. There may be a perfect balance in a build, but from everything I've seen, you have to hedge one way or the other, and I hate having to make a judgment call like that going into a tournament too. I'd be a lot more willing to suffer through that issue if I felt like the deck was more off the radar and I could catch builds/players off guard, but thats not really going to happen anymore. If you like Seismitoad decks and are good with them, the deck is still fantastic, I'm just personally a bit offput by the option.

One of the Seismitoad builds I've been kind of liking lately is the Seismitoad Crobat deck. I played against Dustin Zimmerman using the deck at Michigan States, losing a close match round 8 to it. ( I should have won, but got hit by one of the most brutal N's...oh well, such sour grapes. ) He was running a Dragalge to prevent the retreat of Poisoned Pokemon. I assume it was 1-1 line. I've always been fairly unimpressed by this card in decks, and as I built my own list for this deck, I found it surprisingly tight on space. I don't know what I'd cut to include the card, but I think the answer is to just not run it.

I like how well Zubat functions towards getting Seismitoad EX active on the first turn, while also being a Pokemon you can hide behind on the first turn. This means you avoid getting your Toad Laser'd on the draw, and you can hide a Toad in hand to avoid potential Head Ringers. The Bat line gives this deck a TON of play to it. You can set up some powerful turns which can take ill prepared players off guard. I love how well you can craft turns around forcing poison KOs on the end of an opponent's turn due to all of the damage manipulation.

I'm opting to run more Water energy than most Toad builds because they allow you to attack with your Bats when needed, and also because Grenade Hammer is pretty good in this deck. The Bats let you reach one shots on EX Pokemon very easily. I'm a big fan of 3 Super Scoop Up/1 AZ in Bat decks. SSU is really great, but if I'm allocating 4 spots to the effect, I'd rather hedge the 4th spot towards the Supporter because of how it interacts with VS Seeker. On top of this, you have Jirachi EX to reliably see it. I want a reliable, sure-fire way to "switch" or heal. I also like having a card that works while under Quaking Punch.

You'll notice two big trends in most of my lists now. One, I'm dropping down to 3 VS Seeker in a lot of cases. The card is just bad against Seismitoad decks, and it isn't good against Exeggcutor either. If we run Trump Card, we are recycling our deck anyways. I've been, instead, trying to up the amount of actual Supporter cards ( usually an additional Colress, or Lysandre ) to help lessen vulnerability to late game Quaking Punches.

I've taken more of a liking to the Seismitoad Crobat deck than this one lately. I just don't really like Landorus EX and Hawlucha that much in the current metagame. Fighting is just not a really well positioned type at the moment. This list hasn't really changed much since the last time I discussed it because I've kind of phased it out of my testing gauntlet because I don't plan to use the deck, and I don't see it being too popular either. As a result, maybe there is some innovation available which makes the deck better that I haven't caught on to, but I'm just not too big into the archetype as a whole.

I hate this deck. It is very good, but I hate it. It is a real pain to play due to the time limit. I also hate decks which are super reliant on Crushing Hammer to be successful. The variance averages out, but I've always struggled with wanting to play decks which can be fairly flippy.

For those not too familiar with the deck, the idea is similar to Seismitoad Slurpuff. You use Lysandre's Trump Card to recycle Lasers and Hammers while cutting them off of many of their Trainers. Toad cuts off the Item cards, but Exeggcutor is even more cruel, by taking them off of their main draw power: Supporters! Against Seismitoad, decks can at least use their Supporters to draw additional energy to offset the energy removal. In this case, you pair energy removal with really cramping their overall draws which cuts them off of potential energy drops.

It is easy to loop Exeggcutors due to Exeggcute's Ability pretty much guaranteeing that you always have a copy of the Basic Pokemon available. Exeggcutor functions off of colorless energy, so you can get cute and run Genesect EX and Plasma Energy to give you access to Red Signal. Genesect EX is overlooked at first glance as a viable attacker...eventually you shift over to Megalo-Cannon as a way to close out a game pretty quickly.

Virizion EX is also a cute addition, as it is crucial in mirror match and against Seismitoad decks. Toad could be difficult if they are able to actually use their Lasers against you. The same applies for mirror match: If one player can use Lasers and the other cannon, the matchup devolves quickly.

I love how bad this deck's starting Pokemon are. You run 4 Exeggcute, and 1 Jirachi EX. Your "safer" opens, Virizion and Genesect, aren't even particularly great with what the deck is trying to accomplish. Slirlix is ok, but again, not particularly strong either. Luckily, the deck is just powerful and disruptive enough to offset the fact that the start of every match seems disgusting.

I'm only running 1 Lysandre because you have access to Red Signal. I could get away with banking solely on Red Signal, but if my testing with VG decks has suggested anything, it is that I really have come to appreciate the crutch Lysandre to be safe.

The engine is a bit awkward. You'll notice the only draw Supporters I am running are 4 Juniper and a lone N. With Acrobike, Slurpuff, Jirachi EX and the Battle Compressor/VS Seeker combination, you actually wind up with a fairly consistent deck. I've seen builds not running any N at all, but I feel safer with a single copy. N is weak in here because you are letting players deplete the few playable cards in their hands. They may have a decent sized hand, but most of the cards become dead pretty quickly. Just giving them any new cards can be counterproductive to what this deck is trying to do. That said, I feel like there are enough spots, especially near the end of the game, where I want to reset their hand. I also do like having an additional "good supporter" in the opening turns.

One thing to not overlook is how important cutting decks off of Lysandre is. This deck doesn't just cut off a majority of a deck's draw power ( It is worth noting that decks are forced to rely more on Supporters for draw even though item based engines exist due to the prominence of Seismitoad EX. Seismitoad does so much to make this deck good. ) but you also cut off their "gust of winds" and that really cripples a lot of decks.

I think Fairy decks are relatively well positioned right now! Two of the boogeymen of the format are Seismitoad EX and Exeggcutor. Both of these decks rely heavily on banking on their disruption and energy removal to slow the game down to a crawl, where they eventually win a grindy game. Well, both of these decks are really weak to Xerneas, who can, for a lone energy, put 2 energy into play a turn. They are not well equipped to disrupt past this paired with Fairy Garden and Aromatisse, who is only a stage 1. Florges and Xerneas both are able to KO an Exeggcutor for low energy costs as well.

Against Seismitoad decks, you can use Xerneas to force out Mega Gardevoir EX. Once you get 6 energy into play, you are able to OHKO Seismitoad, and they are going to lose a whole lot of Toads before they can take a healthy Gardevoir down. Toad decks seem to have shifted from Garbodor as a whole, which is beneficial. This may change, as Garbodor helps Toad overcome Exeggcutor's Exeggcute spam, and their Virizion. Even if they do add Garbodor back into builds, they have to figure a way past the deck just using Xerneas to power Gardevoirs manually, even without the ease of using Aromatisse. As crazy as this sounds, perhaps 11 Fairy Energy is actually low for this deck. 12 or 13 may be better against Exeggcutor and Toad decks.

One of the things going for this deck is, despite being the most hyped deck coming out of the release of Primal Clash, this deck is fairly far off the radar at the moment. It has a huge damage output and a few ways to approach it's offense. If a deck isn't prepared to deal with a 210 HP OHKOing EX that can use Max Potion, this deck is a nightmare. The deck has a lot of powerful tools: High HP and healing, OHKO options, and energy acceleration. The deck approaches the game from angles which most of the gunned for decks in the format are not taking, which actually leaves it positioned to capitalize on a lot of easy wins. That is the difference between this deck and Seismitoad. I feel Toad is a better deck, but is just locked into being really 50-50 in this particular frame of the metagame, where as worse decks may be better off at the moment.


Ok, for my own sanity, I'm not going to go over this deck another time. The deck has done fairly well at States, putting up some pretty good placements ( Including a win in Washington! ) I've beat this archetype to death, so if you want to look over some lists or discussion revolving around it, my prior articles have plenty on it. Check it out.

Genesect Sceptile

Ok, I was going touch on a traditional Virizion Genesect build, but I just can't bring myself to play it over pairing the cards with Sceptile. This is another deck I touched on recently, so I won't go too deep into it, but I'll show you a pair of lists for the deck.


The big debate for me is whether or not the Muscle Band + Deoxys pairing is even worth putting into the deck. Muscle Band was primarily useful because it paired well with Emerald Slash. 70 opposed to 50 led much better into Megalo-Cannon, locking up a lot of two hit kills. This made it so a standard VG build could avoid having to use G-Booster early on, which purged itself of key energy cards. Since this deck is far less concerned with it's energy in play, it can afford to G-booster more freely. On top of this, you don't Emerald Slash nearly as much. Also, Muscle Band was important in dealing with cards like Donphan. There are just not a ton of 120-130 HP Pokemon floating about at the moment. Most of the non-EX Pokemon are 100 HP or less now. Even Empoleon, a popular attacker, has 140 HP and that puts itself narrowly out of range. Muscle Band also serves to protect the deck from Head Ringer, but that card is already pretty well on the decline.

If we opt against the Deoxys and Muscle Band, I just fleshed out some of the numbers. I added a 9th Grass, which helps vs Toad and Exeggcutor, and just smooths draws out in general. I normally want 13 energy in these decks, but with Superior Energy Retrieval was willing to go to 12. I'm more comfortable padding the number back up though. I added the 4th Skyla, which would be the 61st card anyways. The 3rd Virizion EX is a compromise to the fact that the deck actually can get some bad starts against Toad decks. You generally do need to force out Emerald Slash against them, since you can't -really- ever get a Sceptile out. The key to this deck is maintaining a balance where you can function as a traditional VG deck against Toad, but also reap the rewards of the far more powerful Sceptile side of the deck against other decks.

Now, I also wanted to go over a bit of a dissection of the opening turns of the game with this deck for people who may feel like they just want to play a "more consistent" traditional VG build. Let us look at what we are "consistently" getting out of a VG deck.

t1: N/A
t2: Emerald Slash ( 50 or 70 damage )
t3: Megalo-Cannon, G-Booster, or 2nd Emerald Slash. ( 100 damage, generally )
Now, Emerald Slash is not really that impressive of an attack. Virizion's appeal is it's Ability ( Which is fantastic ) and the fact that Genesect NEEDED a form of energy acceleration. Emerald Slash was a necessity for the deck due to a lack of better alternatives. Don't get me wrong, the card is solid, and fine, but its more a necessary evil for this deck than it is actively appealing. Let us ignore the extra energy off of Emerald Slash for a moment. Lets look at the realistic scenarios which play out with my Sceptile build. ( Anything beyond these scenarios really require something to go drastically wrong. )

1.) Turn 2 Emerald Slash: The deck can get this a reasonable amount of the time. You run 2 less copies of the card, and 1-2 less Switching cards than a traditional VG build, but if you are looking at the original build as having an excess of consistency at accomplishing this, then you have to look at this as still being accomplishable fairly often. You have less Switch, but keep in mind, if you open Genesect ( which is almost half your non-Virizion starters ) that a Colress Machine is effectively a Switch, letting you retreat Genesect without burning an attachment. I believe a lot of VG builds opt for only 3 Ultra Ball as well, opposed to 4 here, so that offsets the thinner Virizion line to a degree.

2.) Turn 2 Megalo-Cannon/G-Booster off of Colress Machine: If you open Genesect, and can get a Colress Machine naturally or say, off of Skyla, and you can attack turn 2 for a lot of damage. With Switch, you can get this to happen even if you don't open Genesect. So with 6 ( or 7 ) or your openers, you get a really powerful start on par or better with a traditional VG build.

3.) Turn 2 Megalo-Cannon/G-Booster off a t2 Sceptile: I don't expect t2 Sceptile very often, nor do you need it. Still, it happens. This is basically just an off-shoot of #2

4.) Turn 3 Genesect: If everything goes wrong with the first two starts, your "worst realistic scenario" is just naturally attacking with Genesect on turn 3. This is generally really bad in a VG build because you fall super far behind on attachments, but in this build, it is fine because Sceptile eventually catches you up. ( Remember, at any point, your attachment, plus Sceptile's Ability, and a Colress Machine can get you a Genesect attacking from an empty field ) You can also afford to G-Booster on turn 3 from here because you can rebound so well.
In scenarios 1-3, which is a majority of games, you are doing everything a normal VG deck is doing, or better. I'd also like to point out that 2 and 3 are MUCH stronger than a normal VG start when you are on the draw as well. When you fail, lets look at the difference. VG would have 170-190 damage off an E-Slash + Megalo-Cannon pairing. If you G-Booster off your "worst case scenario" #4, you are already matching their best case scenario. ( Again, they get extra energy in play, but Sceptile makes up for this )

The general point by which you need Sceptile in play is on turn 4. This is the turning point for when you need to actually start putting energy into play beyond your normal attachments. The deck isn't build to get a t2 Sceptile. It can often get a turn 3 one, and very reliably get one out on turn 4. Some people I've discussed the deck with get this "blastoise mindset" where the deck needs to get it's stage 2 into play extremely quickly for energy acceleration, and that just isn't the case despite how we've been conditioned to view energy acceleration Pokemon. Between also having Virizion plays, plus what Colress Machine offers, this deck has a lot of flexibility in it's starts, and Sceptile is really a mid to late game card. Look at it closer to a Dusknoir type inclusion than a Blastoise.

Ok, so Donphan has seen a bit of a spike in popularity. One of the interesting builds I've encountered is a gimmicky build relying on a lot of Item based draw power, and Lysandre's Trump Card. While the deck can't afford to fit stuff like Slurpuff into the deck ( It only runs Hawlucha, with free retreat, and Phanpy, who benches itself on the second turn as a Donphan, ideally, so it has no switching effects, or Ultra Balls even. ) it does get to spam a ton of Bikes and Skates. These Items also work well with Korrina, getting you extra cards off of that Supporter.

The basic premise for this deck is that you are focusing on denying prizes. You hide behind Robo-Subs, forcing them to have Lysandre every turn to even take a prize card. Beyond this, you have a Focus Sash, and a Life Dew to deny prizes even if they do have those. With all of your Pokemon being non-EX, this makes closing out a game extremely obnoxious, as you end up needing to Lysandre 7-8 ( or more! ) times just to get a win. Life Dew and Focus Sash get recycled off of Trump Card. I've gotten to play 3 Life Dew in a game before! ( It feels as good as you'd think. )
I'm not entirely sold on this decks matchups overall, but I feel like it is a really unique take on a kind of stale archetype that approaches the format in a pretty different way. It is also one of the few decks where I actually have liked Teammates in. The fact the card can grab your DCEs/Strong Energy/Robo Subs/Life Dew and other would be difficult to obtain cards is very nice, especially since they are stuck KOing Robo-Subs a lot of turns.

Primal Kyogre

I have to let you guys down with this archetype, unfortunately. I've played against the deck a few times, in different iterations, but I don't actually have a list for it. I could throw together a really rough list perhaps, but I would have absolutely no faith in what I would be presenting. I don't like doing that.

The lists I have seen so far run what I assume is a 4-3 Primal Kyogre line, and an assortment of other Water Type Pokemon which can be powered by sending the washed off Kyogre energy to them on the bench. Keldeo, and assorted Kyogres seem to be the popular choices. Keldeo is nice in that it helps to answer awkward starts, and to get out of troublesome Laser spots.

The deck runs Rough Seas to make the 240 HP Water Type even more difficult to KO. A card I really like in the deck is actually a lone copy of Shrine of Memory, as a solution to the glaring Leafeon problem. The decks running Leafeon generally do not run any counter stadiums ( Some Flareon builds run a Training Center ) so you can get away with one copy. By using this card, you can use the normal Kyogre EX's 2nd attack to bounce 2 energy back to your hand while scoring a OHKO. This drops your total energy in play to 2, making Leafeon's base damage against you only 80. If they have a Bangle and say, a Deoxys, they still only hit you for 160, opposed to a OHKO. Since you are still the Primal Kyogre, you can abuse the Alpha Growth trait to repower it. The turn before you would be KOed anyways, you can use Primal Kyogre's attack to put two energy on the next Kyogre and continue to play around Leafeon some.

One of the things I wanted to try with the deck is to build it with an Archie's Ace In The Hole engine. I'm not entirely happy with only getting Kyogre up and powered on the 3rd turn. If fellow 60Cards writer Orion Craig's assessment that Flareon is able to get a turn 1 Empoleon out roughly 40% of the time, thats 40% of the time you can threaten a turn 2 attacking Primal Kyogre! ( Less, since you then have to get it active, but say its even 1 in every 3 games, how many decks are equipped to deal with that guy on the 2nd turn? ) This also lets you run an assortment of stage 2 Water Pokemon in a toolbox. Swampert, Empoleon, and Blastoise all come to mind. Maybe something silly like Aurorus even? The card seems bad, but the damage eduction paired with Rough Seas really does add up. I'm just so unimpressed by all of the random Water Pokemon Kyogre builds throw into the deck to, in my opinion, just pad the basic count more than anything else. ( Keldeo is necessary, and you want a non-EX attacker, or perhaps even just some weakness diversity, but I think decks run an excess of iffy cards still.

In closing, this format seems really wide open. That said, I don't feel like it is a terribly healthy format, despite this. A lot of the top decks are really polarized and oppressive. The format has devolved into a bit of a Rock Paper Scissors type of feel, and I haven't enjoyed it as much as the pre-Primal Clash one. It could be far worse, but cards like Exeggcutor and Seismitoad EX are just badly designed cards. I like having disruption available in this game, but disruptive cards really do need to be handled extra carefully. It doesn't take much for them to become "too good" and when they are, even if they can be beaten, the nature of the decks push out out a lot of decks from the format. We saw what Accelgor did at it's peak. "Lock" type decks provide a very dangerous litmus test to a format, and Pokemon has a pretty poor track record of printing healthy cards for these types of decks.

I'm torn between running Sceptile or some form of Fairies build. I don't want to be caught in the cross fire between the "decks to beat" at the moment. They aren't bad choices, but I'd rather avoid having a bunch of 50-50 matchups all day long. Traditionally that type of approach had been very successful, as it let better players leverage their edges and outplay weaker opponents. Unfortunately, now, due to a really insufficient time limit for swiss, it just forces you into draws far too often. I'm more and more inclined with each event to want to just pick decks which have more auto wins, which is just show-casing how frustrating the time limit at these events is.



[+2] okko


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