Experts' corner

Jose Marrero

A Look at 3 Potential Plays for Upcoming Nationals

Jose goes over 3 potential plays for Upcoming Nationals 2015.

06/22/2015 by Jose Marrero



Hello again, 60cards readers! With Nationals creeping closer and closer, I wanted to do another article on a few more deck options for the tournament. In my last article, I talked about two potential Nationals plays. This one will have three, since I know people want to see more deck options to test with. I know the three decks that I'll be talking about have already been discussed many times by other authors and on other sites, but it always helps to compare lists since you can combine them if need be and figure out what exactly you want in the deck. Some people may have not talked about a certain tech that could otherwise matter in a matchup you expect to see. So hopefully these decks give you a better understanding on what you may want to play.

Nationals is the biggest event of the year which makes people even more hungry to do well and prove themselves, especially if they are going for the Day Two Worlds invite, in which a player gets to automatically skip Day One of Worlds and move onto the next day. The people that are sitting in the top of their respective zones shouldn't feel too safe yet since there are still a few more Nationals to do (although if you're in the top eight of your country as of now then you're probably safe). Also, now that Worlds points from last year have been updated into the rankings, the only thing that matters now is Nationals (assuming yours has yet to conclude).

If you don't do well at your Nationals, then I recommend doing any side events you can since they at least give you something to do. Or if you're a Professor with enough points like me, you can always fall back on competing in the Professor Cup. I personally didn't do too great at last year's Nationals, so instead I entered the Professor Cup in which I managed to take First Place! Even though it didn't give any Championship Points, I was still excited to have won such an interesting tournament with a unique structure. For example, every round we did we had a random rule go into effect such as round four, where we had to switch decks with our opponent. Funny enough, my only loss of the whole tournament in Swiss was round four, to my own deck. Of course I wasn't happy about it, but at the end of the day, I still had fun since it was something new and unexpected. You just never know what to expect at Nationals. 

With that said, let's get into the decks, starting with Night March.

      3 Potential Plays for Upcoming                                          Nationals


The reason this deck is a top contender for Nationals is mainly due to the banning of Lysandre's Trump Card, a card that always gave Night March problems in the past. Because of Trump Card's ban, Night March now has the potential to get even stronger come Nationals. Seismitoad-EX decks (one of Night March's worst matchups) will still see play, but they will definitely decline. In my opinion, Seismitoad has lost a lot of favor since it no longer has the abillity to recycle endless amounts of Lasers and Hammers.  

This list is probably pretty standard other than a few cards, such as Revive and Dowsing Machine. I added a single copy of Revive just for those spots where you need to get back one of your attackers, assuming you discarded quite a few early on.  You can see how clutch Revive can be since it now let's you discard Pokemon without having to worry too much about running out of attackers. It also lets you discard eleven of your Night March Pokémon to OHKO Mega Pokémon without losing as soon as that twelfth Night Marcher is knocked out.  A second Revive could be nice, but I can't really see more than that in this deck.

Usually you would see three Mew-EX in a Night March deck, but Revive can be used as a fifth Joltik or Pumpkaboo, lessening the reliance on Mew-EX, and helping Night March's non-EX gameplan.  Mew-EX is still important for dealing with Aegislash-EX and it becomes your best attacker if you run out of DCE, and you can recycle Mew with Revive as well, if need be.

Of course, there are a couple Shaymin-EX to help with consistency and speed.  The Mr. Mime is mainly for Landorus-EX, since it can one-hit KO Benched Joltik. The Supporter line seems to be standard in my opinion other than upping the N count because we don't want to deck ourselves out. Two Lysandre should be a staple in a deck like Night March because you're abusing one-energy attackers that can one-hit KO most things, so if one copy is Prized it helps to have a second to fall back on. I wanted to run both Muscle Band and Silver Bangle, so I just went with a 2/1 split. As far as Energy goes, I went with a couple Fighting Energy to take advantage of attacks like Hammerhead and Spinning Turn if we run into any Landorus-EX or Donphan decks. The Water Energy is pretty much for Empoleon, but it can be whatever Basic Energy you see fit. At the moment, there are three Dimension Valleys, but I can easily see adding the fourth.

     Other cards you should consider:


Empoleon and more Water Energy:

This card has always been effective in Night March decks because it's another non-EX attacker that only needs one Energy. Empoleon's Ability also fits perfectly in a deck like Night March because you want to get your Night Marchers into your discard pile. Better yet, you also get to draw two cards while doing so.

There aren't too many other card options in Night March, so with that said, let's get into the next deck, Donphan.

Donphan is back, baby! The decline of Seismitoad-EX decks gives Donphan a chance to return to its former dominance. This list has a little of everything since I wanted to have a lot of options going into a wide-open meta. A 4-4 line of Donphan is pretty standard since it's the main attacker of the deck. We also have three Hawlucha for when we face up against Seismitoad-EX and for picking off low-HP EX Benchsitters such as Shaymin-EX and Jirachi-EX.

There are also two Sigilyph with the Safeguard Ability so we can wall Pokémon-EX and force Lysandre plays, however I can see dropping down to just one Sigilyph since a lot of decks have ways to get around it. That brings me to Wobbuffet, which is used to lock up your opponent's Abilities, especially good against decks that rely on Shaymin-EX. Maybe adding a second Wobbuffet over Sigilyph is better in the long run. To make sure we get our walls out of the active spot, I added in a couple Float Stone, but I can see a third one in here since there are three wallers in the deck. I maxed out on Robo Substitute because they trade well with other non-EX decks such as Night March and Flareon. Something new you probably haven't seen in a Donphan deck is Focus Sash. The reason for this inclusion is to help against Night March decks to deny them one-hit KOs on Donphan.  If you expect more Night March, you can try adding more Focus Sash. 

I kept a 2/1 split of Muscle Band and Silver Bangle since everything in the deck is a non-EX, making Silver Bangle a good inclusion, but a third Muscle Band is fine also. Professor's Letter is nice since the deck focuses heavily on Korrina, which also makes Enhanced Hammer a great option. I also added in a single copy of Bicycle to get some free draw out of Korrina, and since the ACE SPEC in this variant is Dowsing Machine, it makes running all the one-ofs more viable it in the long run. The Energy line is pretty standard and you can easily add more basic Fighting Energy if you fear going up against Aegislash-EX. The two Double Colorless Energy are for Donphan's Wreck attack, which is still great for closing out games and taking care of big threats. Let's look at some other options for this deck.

     Other cards you should consider:


Primal Groudon-EX:

Mainly used against Seismitoad-EX decks, but then again, with the banning of Lysandre's Trump Card you may not need Groudon anymore.

Reshiram/Zekrom/Kyurem LTR:

If you expect decks such as Virizion-EX, Yveltal-EX or Landorus-EX (respectively) then these options can be effective.

Head Ringer:

I know the Sabelhaus brothers were big fans of running Head Ringer in their Donphan decks. You just never know when a clutch Head Ringer can put you in a prime positon to win the game and since it's searchable with Korrina, it makes running it that much more effective.

Repeat Ball:

Great in combination with Korrina. It makes it so you can basically grab two Phanpy or Hawlucha at once if need be.

Now time to get into our final deck of the article, Wobbuffet/Groudon-EX.

Primal Groudon saw quite a good amount of success in week three of Spring Regionals, with Ryan Sabelhaus and his brother Kyle Sabelhaus piloting the deck to Day Two, as well as Dylan Bryan, all in the same tournament (although Dylan's version also ran Dragonite) which shows that this deck is a heavy hitter and one to look out for come Nationals. I prefer the Wobbuffet version over the old-school version that runs Landorus and Hawlucha. The main reason is because Groudon-EX decks don't rely on Abilities (unless you're using a version that runs Shaymin-EX), allowing them to easily exploit Wobbuffet to slow down the opponent while they set Groudon up. Wobbuffet is the ideal starter for this deck since you want to immediately shut off Shaymin-EX and other Abilities, so I maxed out on it. The Landorus-EX idea was actually from Chris Fulop. I liked his argument that it's mainly used for the mirror match to break their Focus Sash, which I definitely agree with, so it's worth the spot in the long run. You may even be able to get a few random Exeggcute or Joltik knockouts, helping you even the Prize trade against troublesome non-EX decks.

There is a 3-3 Primal Groudon-EX line, which is pretty standard. This version of the deck is a little slower than the usual, so I maxed out the Korrina count because all you really need turn one is a Korrina to start setting up. I also maxed out Mega Turbo because we want to try and get at least two Primal Groudon-EX going if possible. I went with Scramble Switch and a Max Potion in case we can pull off that huge play where we bring in a fresh Primal Groudon out of nowhere. A couple Ultra Balls are in the deck so we can search out Wobbuffet if needed. One thing you should be wary of is random Escape Rope plays that can put you in a tough spot. To stop this, you want to have a Wobbuffet on the Bench as well as in the Active position. Two Focus Sash, of course, so we don't get one-hit KO'd by Pokémon such as M Rayquaza-EX.

Trainers' Mail is new in this deck but it gives a little more consistency and helps find an early Korrina more easily. I went with five Stadiums with three Scorched Earth because it fits perfectly alongside Mega Turbo. I also wanted to have Silent Lab and Fighting Stadium but the list is tight so I decided to just go with one of each for now. If you expect a lot of Safeguarders and Aegislash-EX, then you can up the Silent Lab count. I went with two Switch since Scramble Switch is technically another Switch, but I can see more than two just to make sure we get Wobbuffet out of the active when Primal Groudon-EX is ready to attack, or vice versa. Professor's Letter, of course, fits nicely in here since Korrina can easily grab it. As for the Energy count, I just went with an 8/4 split, but I can see more Basic Fighting Energy just so we can find them faster for Scorched Earth and Mega Turbo plays. Let's talk about a few more card options for this deck.

    Other cards you should consider:


Hawlucha and Muscle Band:

If you prefer going the aggro route, then Hawlucha is the perfect answer. You would have to rely on Mega Turbo a little more because you have to dedicate an Energy attachment to Hawlucha giving you one fewer attachment on your Groudon-EX. The Muscle Band is to help Hawlucha one-hit KO low-HP Pokémon-EX since Hawlucha does 100 with Strong Energy and Muscle Band--just enough to KO Jirachi-EX. Adding a Fighting Stadium as well brings Hawlucha's damage up to 120, which is now enough to one-hit KO Shaymin-EX as well.

Landorus FFI:

Also good in an aggro build, Landorus just puts on early pressure, which can slowly set up damage for Primal Groudon-EX to clean up. Shout of Power also gets you an Energy on Primal Groudon, which makes up for the attachment devoted to Landorus, taking some of the pressure off your Mega Turbos in the process.


Keven Baxter's list runs a couple Steven and I liked his points on it. Steven works perfectly against Item-lock decks because it lets you search for an Energy when Professor's Letter wouldn't otherwise do because of the Item-lock. It also lets you grab another Supporter, such as a Korrina or Professor Juniper, for the following turn.

Professor Birch's Observations:

Ryan and Kyle Sabelhaus ran a couple of these at Georgia Regionals and it made sense after playing against both of them. This card can act just like a one-sided N, in a sense. For example, when you've taken two Prizes, Professor Birch's Observation gets you the same number of cards as N would, but with the chance of getting you seven cards instead.


Since this deck hides behind Wobbuffet, a Teammates can be all you need to get the final two pieces for Primal Groudon-EX, whether it's for the Stadium and Energy you need or for Focus Sash and Primal Groudon-EX.

Battle Compressor:

This card can help put Basic Energy into the discard so you can Mega Turbo faster.  It also lets you dump Supporters to grab with VS Seeker.

Hard Charm:

Similar to Focus Sash in a sense, because what's going to hit Primal Groudon-EX for 260 damage? Hard Charm also makes it so something as simple as a Shaymin-EX can't set up the two-shot with a M Rayquaza-EX. Shaymin-EX would be doing a measly 10 damage and M Rayquaza-EX is doing at most 220 after deductions, still 10 shy from getting the KO on Primal Groudon-EX.

Groudon Spirit Link:

Usually you would rather have a Focus Sash on your Groudon-EX, but sometimes you may need to attack right away, or if you have a hand full of Mega Turbos and don't want to dump them, you can just grab a Spirit Link and Mega Evolve so you can use them.


                 Closing Thoughts


That's all I have for you guys at the moment. I hope these decks help you in testing because I believe they are decks to watch out for come Nationals. I think Night March will have the biggest target on it's back just because of how strong it is now with Lysandre's Trump Card gone. A lot of people will either be playing Night March or finding a way to counter it. As for Donphan, I believe it will also see a good amount of play because Seismitoad-EX decks should see a decrease in play and Donphan should also be able to hold its own against Night March decks. Groudon-EX should also still be a great play after its success at Spring Regionals, whether it's with Wobbuffet or Dragonite or both.

If you have any questions about any of these decks or lists feel free to post down below or message me on Facebook and I'll be sure to get to them as soon as possible. With that being said, that will conclude this article. Like I said in my last two articles, if you would like to donate to the players in the 60cards Invitational, just message our Facebook Fan Page. Also, be sure to look out for the last three players to join the Invitational. If you enjoyed reading this article then please consider giving it a thumbs up. If I don't see you at U.S. Nationals next week, then be sure to see me at Worlds, in Boston. As always, keep an eye out for more articles to come. Until next time.


[+26] okko


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