Experts' corner

Jose Marrero

XY-AOR: A Look at Five Decks

Jose takes a look at five decks in the new rotation format.

08/14/2015 by Jose Marrero



Hello again, 60cards readers! Most of you know Worlds is just one week away and if you're like me, you're probably scrambling and testing like crazy for this prestigous event. I, unfortunately, don't have a Day 2 pass, so I'll be duking it out like most of you on the first day. Hopefully I can snag a Day 2 spot and continue my Worlds run with some of the best players in the world. Last year I was able to make Top 64, so hopefully I can do at least that well again to put me in the running for Day 2.

However, those of you who aren't going to Worlds are probably looking ahead to our new rotation, which is XY-on. I'm going to talk about five new decks that we'll see with the release of Ancient Origins and the new rotation format. Of course, with the recent news that Regionals will all be in the Expanded format, these decks and lists only really matter for tournaments smaller than Regionals, but still, these decks should give you a feel on what to expect with the new rotation anyway. I'll definitely be testing these decks more extensively after Worlds. I'm sure other people will come up with other neat deck ideas, but for now, let's take a look at the five I have presented above.

Before I get into the decks, I wanted to give a quick shoutout to Dylan Bryan and Russell LaParre for helping me with some of these lists.


Why not start off with one of the most hyped Ancient Origins decks? It's a no-brainer that this deck is the new Flareon. With Vespiquen's attack Bee Revenge mimicking Flareon's Revenge attack, it's easy to see why Vespiquen is going to follow in Flareon's footsteps. Better yet, Vespiquen also has type advantage over Seismitoad-EX, although I'm not sure how much play Seismitoad-EX will see with Hypnotoxic Laser rotating. Vespiquen also has free retreat which is a big luxury to have since it lets you move around more easily. If anything, Vespiquen is actually more consistent and stronger than Flareon mainly because of new Pokemon such as Unown, Flareon AOR, and Jolteon AOR. Unown's Ability, Farewell Letter, lets you discard Unown if it's on the Bench and then draw a card. So you get to discard a free Pokémon to fuel Vespiquen's attack and you get to draw a free card? That's the best of both worlds right there, which is why the list maxes out on Unown.

You can see that there is a one-of Flareon from Ancient Origins because it gives Vespiquen the chance to become a Fire-type as well as its original type. Doing so gives Vespiquen type advantage over Metal and Grass decks, namely, M Sceptile-EX and Aegislash-EX. Now, the Jolteon is, of course, to give type advantage against M Rayquaza-EX decks. You can see how much easier it is to one-hit KO certain Pokémon with more type advantage. Much like Flareon, Vespiquen also runs Slurpuff because of its incredible draw power once per turn. This list runs a 2-2 line, which I personally would have to say is the right call because the more draw, the better in a deck that relies on the number of Pokémon in your discard to increase your damage output. There is also a one-of Bunnelby just for insurance to get back resources that were discarded, namely Double Colorless Energy. The Druddigon is an overall decent attacker for a single Double Colorless Energy and it's a non-Evolved Pokémon, which makes it easier to attack with.

Let's not forget about the deck's most consistent draw power in the form of Shaymin-EX. Three are in the list to make sure we have enough draw power that can last throughout the whole game. Even just using one in the beginning, middle, and end is worth it and should keep your hands full most of the time. That's all of the Pokémon line, so let's move onto the Trainer lines. Of course, with the new rotation, we've lost one of the best Supporters of all time, N. This forces players to go with Professor Birch's Observations, which is still a decent draw Supporter, especially once you get down to four or fewer prizes, at which point it's better than N because it can potentially net you seven cards instead of four. A new Supporter addition is Hex Maniac, which stops all Abilities on both players fields until the end of your opponent's next turn. This card can stop Vileplume's Ability, thus giving you back your Items for a turn, but don't forget you are also shutting off your Shaymin-EX and Unown as well as Slurpuff. Hex Maniac is also clutch for shutting off Aegislash-EX's Ability, letting a Vespiquen with Double Colorless Energy hit it for lethal damage.

Teammates is another nice addition since Vespiquen only really needs to keep finding Energy to one-shot things, which makes Teammates pretty clutch. The one-of AZ seems a little off to me, although it can be used to pick up Shaymin-EX to deny those Prizes so I can see its reasoning. There are also three Trainers' Mail to help find Battle Compressors or pretty much any other Trainer card you're digging for at the time. The one-of Switch can be clutch even though Vespiquen has free Retreat, but just having a Switch option can't go wrong. The Sacred Ash is great for getting back Pokémon that are needed and had to be discarded or were KO'd. Something interesting to note is that if you put back in Unown, then you can simply use them as free draw again and still put them back into the discard at the same time, which is awesome.

There is also a one-of Faded Town. It allows either player to put two damage counters on each Mega Evolved Pokemon in play. With Megas having so much HP, Faded Town helps whittle them down to make for an easier one-hit KO. You may notice there aren't any Muscle Bands in the list simply because Jolteon and Flareon make it easier to one-hit KO things that are probaby going to be more popular than most, but by all means you can add in Muscle Bands depending on what you expect the meta to be. Let's move onto the Energy line. The Fire Energy is just in case you want to attack with Flareon, and similarly, the Lightning Energy is for Jolteon. The Grass energy is in the list for Combee, but you can make that Energy whatever Basic Energy you want. Attacking with Combee most likely isn't relevant, so you could drop it for another Fire or Lightning or even a Fairy for Slurpuff. 

With that said, let's move onto the next deck, Giratina-EX/Vileplume.


This is another deck that's been getting a good amount of hype and for good reason. The deck focuses on getting a turn-one Vileplume to immediately shut off all Item cards while attacking with Giratina-EX AOR to stop the opponent from also playing down Special Energy and Stadiums from their hand next turn. Basically, when you pull this combo off, the opponent is only able to attach Basic Energy and use Supporters. Other than that, their turn is limited, so you can predict your opponent's next turn. Because the deck wants to focus on that turn-one Vileplume whether or not you go first or second, the deck runs heavy Vileplume and Forest of Giant Plants lines. Imagine your opponent staring down a turn-one Vileplume going second. They may have tons of Items in their hand, making their turn one mediocre at best, assuming they have a Supporter for the turn. So because the deck wants to get Vileplume up and going as fast as possible, you may notice there isn't a single VS Seeker because if the deck sets up properly, they'll be dead the whole game anyway. Of course, there is a heavy Shaymin-EX count as well as a couple Unown to get better odds of finding Vileplume and Forest of Giant Plants.

Since the main attacker is Giratina-EX it only makes sense to run Double Colorless and Double Dragon Energy to fuel it up. Two attachments and you have an attacking Giratina-EX, assuming you have it in the Active spot. That's where the heavy AZ count comes in, because if you open anything other than Giratina-EX, then you can simply AZ the Active up and promote Giratina-EX. If the Active is Vileplume and you have Forest of Giant Plants in play, you can put it back down immediately, which is quite awesome. Because of Vileplume, the deck runs a heavy Supporter count because we want to be able to use draw Supporters while our opponent has Items in hand and is struggling to set up or attack. A couple Ace Trainers are in the deck because we might have to feed your opponent a couple Prizes before we get our setup going. The fact that Giratina-EX maxes out at 100 damage means we're going to have to be patient when taking Prizes because this is, of course, a lock deck, so we might be behind for some of the game.

There are also a couple Pokémon Center Lady because we want to keep Giratina-EX alive as long as possible so that we have enough time to power up another one. There are also a couple Silent Lab because once Vileplume hits the field and Giratina-EX is attacking, then we can even lock harder by denying Basic Pokémon their Abilities. With Level Ball getting reprinted in Ancient Origins, it makes for getting Vileplume out even easier because we can search out Oddish and Gloom with them. So with four Ultra Ball and three Level Ball, we should be able to get Vileplume on turn one a good amount of the time, assuming we find Forest of Giant Plants. A couple Trainers' Mail are in the list as well because why not? Having more consistency never hurts in the long run but I can see replacing them for more Supporters if needed.

Like I said before, the deck only needs to run Double Colorless and Double Dragon Energy just to help fuel Giratina-EX. You can try running Reshiram and Fire Energy but that requires you to make space for them, which as you can see, can be difficult. Your opponent can't Enhanced Hammer you because of Vileplume, so it makes your Energy attachments quite safe unless they decide to use Xerosic, but if so, then they can't VS Seeker for it again. Even though the deck runs four Professor Sycamore, we still don't want to discard too many resources, especially Energy, which is why the deck also runs four Professor Birch's Observations and two Shauna. Most of the time the more shuffle-and-draw Supporters, the better in a deck like this. Because this deck is so hyped up with the inclusion of Vileplume, people may run Hex Maniax to shut off Vileplume for a turn, so be wary of that. If you manage to set up all three pieces (Vileplume/Giratina-EX/Silent Lab), then your opponent will have a hard time responding, making this lock hard to take down.

With that said, let's get into another new deck with the release of Ancient Origins, M Tyranitar-EX/Crobat.

              M Tyranitar-EX/Crobat

Yet again, we have another hyped up deck, mainly because it's new like the other two decks I mentioned above. This time we have a deck that utilizes Crobat to dish out tons of damage with the help of M Tyranitar-EX. Mega Tyranitar's attack, Destroyer King, does a base damage of 110 and an extra 60 damage per damage counter on your opponent's active Pokemon. Yes, you read that correctly, 60 damage per damage counter! You can easily see why the Bats are needed to help fuel M Tyranitar-EX's attack. It's also a badass attack name as well and it fits perfectly because it will destroy whatever is active. Like Primal Kyogre-EX and Primal Groudon-EX, as well as M Rayquaza-EX, M Tyranitar-EX also has its own Ancient Trait, which lets it have two Tools attached to it at the same time. Now that we know what M Tyranitar-EX's Trait does, let's see what Tools we can combo it with.

We have a couple Spirit Links because, of course we want to get it going as soon as possible without having to end our turn. There is also a couple Exp. Share so that we can power up another M Tyranitar-EX easily and more efficiently. If the first M Tyranitar-EX gets KO'd and another one on the Bench has an Exp. Share, then all you need is three more Energy to attack with the new one, which is just a Mega Turbo and Double Colorless Energy away. It will be interesting to see what Tools people will decide to put on M Tyranitar-EX. Again, a couple Shaymin-EX are in the deck because, of course, we want that free draw power to help dig for early Zubats. There is also a 4-3-2 Crobat line because, like I said before, they help fuel Destroyer King. To be honest, you can just run four Golbat and zero Crobat because realistically, you're doing 230 damage right there with a single Golbat drop. But, I mean, running Crobat can't hurt since they can help take care of smaller Pokémon that you can potentially just get cheap prizes on.

The Absol is in here to help move damage around so you don't waste extra damage counters on something you're already doing more than enough damage to. That brings me to the three Yveltal. Absol is perfect for moving the 30 damage from Yveltal's attack onto something else. So you can see how you can manipulate damage with this deck quite easily. M Tyranitar-EX would do a whopping 290 damage if your opponent's Active Pokémon has three damage counters on it. That's enough to one-hit KO anything in the game. The Supporter line, I feel, is pretty standard after the rotation. Since N is no more, we have to replace it with Professor Birch's Observations and Ace Trainer. Remember that Ace Trainer only works if you're down on Prizes! The one-of AZ is extremely versatile in this type of deck. It can be used on Bats to reuse them for more damage, on Absol to move more exccess damage around, or even on Shaymin-EX so we can deny those Prizes or just to reuse Set Up to draw some more.

A couple Mega Turbo are needed to fuel M Tyranitar-EX faster and more effeciently. I can even see running more than two, but I think for now, two is fine because Yveltal can put Energy onto Pokémon and do damage at the same time, which makes Yveltal your ideal starter. I like having Sacred Ash in most decks now after the ban of Lysandre's Trump Card, especially in decks that run Crobat. The one of Battle Compressor can be clutch if you find it early enough, but even if you don't, eventually it will come in handy because you can put Energy into the discard to make Mega Turbo and Yveltal more effective.

That brings me to the Energy line. We want to max out on Double Colorless Energy because it's the fastest way to power up M Tyranitar-EX. Two Dangerous Energy is quite interesting because, since the deck doesn't run Muscle Bands to do extra damage, the opponent can do it for you, which makes Absol even better. Let's say you've already done some Bat damage to your opponent's Active and they hit into your M Tyranitar-EX with Dangerous Energy attached. Then you can simply Absol off the excess damage and move it to your preferred target. If you really think about it, Dangerous Energy is basically a Muscle Band substitute in this deck. There are so many ways to manipulate damage with this deck, so just make sure you know all your possibilities and get your damage calculations on point. 

With that said, this next deck hasn't really been talked about, but I think it still has potential after rotation.


Okay! Now we are getting into a deck that's been known for a little while because of Erik Nance, who basically popularized Medicham during States. But this time, we're replacing Celebi-EX, which is rotating, with the Shrine of Memories Stadium. This also means we have to drop Fighting Stadium because we want to be able to use Meditite's attack, Smack, because it's the best and fastest way to do damage with Medicham. We have a standard 4-4 Medicham line, of course, because it's the deck's only attacker. Just like Vespiquen, this version of Medicham also runs the new Eeveelutions from Ancient Origins. Adding Flareon AOR makes Medicham a Fire type as well as its orginal type. So, let's say you're going up against a Grass or Metal deck. Then you can easily one-shot Pokémon thanks to the weakness bonus added to Medicham. However, you're maxing out at 160 damage if you're stairing down an Aegislash-EX since you can't use Strong Energy against it, and even using Hex Maniac to shut off Mighty Shield won't do the trick since it also shuts off your Flareon.

Same thing if you're going up against a Lightining-weak deck such as M Rayquaza-EX; that's where Jolteon AOR comes in. Giving Medicham that advantage is huge, especially since Medicham is a non-EX. Medicham would do a whopping 240 damage against a M Rayquaza-EX, but don't forget about Resistance, which drops that damage to 220.

If you're confused about how you get that much damage, then let me explain. Since Medicham's attack, Yoga Kick, doesn't add Weakness to it and it has a two-Energy cost, we have to find a way to do faster damage with a lower Energy cost. Like I said above, the best answer is abusing Meditite's attack, Smack, which does 20 base damage for a single Energy. Now you may be thinking, "But Jose, that does only 20 damage!" You are correct, but let's not forget that Medicham gets to attack twice thanks to it's Trait. So now we know it can do 40 base damage, assuming you attack twice into the same Pokémon. Now let's look at other things that can help do more damage. The most obvious is Strong Energy, of course, since it gives you 20 more damage, so that now brings your attack up to 40 base, assuming you're attacking once. Now we also have Muscle Band, bringing your base damage up to 60 alongside Strong Energy. So without factoring in Weakness, Smack is doing 60 damage and thanks to the Ancient Trait, Medicham can attack twice for a total of 120 damage.

Now let's say you're hitting something for Weakness. Now you're doing 120 per hit, for a total of 240 damage, which should be enough to one-shot anything relevant. Of course, having more than one Strong Energy attached can push that 120 or 240 even higher. At this point you should get the concept of the deck, so let's move onto the Trainer lines. Korrina is probably the best Supporter for this deck because it let's you grab Medicham lines and any Item card at the same time, which is perfect for a deck like this because you can grab your one-of Items such as Professor's Letter. Teammates is really nice in this deck too, because not only is Medicham a non-EX, but it's a non-EX that can one-shot things for a single Energy, so if a Medicham goes down, then Teammates can help you power up another one quite easily since you don't need much to get another Medicham going. The one-of AZ is there for the same reason it's in pretty much any deck: to save Shaymin-EX from getting KO'd and potentially losing you the game.

In this type of deck, you want to try and force your opponent to take six Knock Outs, preferably six Medicham, which is why Sacred Ash is included. I'm not sure if Ace Trainer is needed since I feel like you're going to be up on Prizes most of the time, but running one can't hurt. At first I had three Ultra Ball and one Repeat Ball in the list, but then I saw Level Ball and immediately dropped two Ultra Ball and the one Repeat Ball because every Pokémon except Shaymin-EX can be searched out with Level Ball. I kept one Ultra Ball just in case you want to use Korrina to Ultra Ball for Shaymin-EX for some draw. I added a couple Switch just in case you open Shaymin-EX or if it or Flareon gets dragged Active. Jolteon, on the other hand, has free Retreat, so we don't have to worry about that getting dragged up and stalled. That pretty much sums up this deck. Just make sure you do your calculations correctly. I can see it being really strong come rotation.

With that said, time to get into our fifth and final deck of the article, possibly one of my favorite decks going into the new rotation: M Rayquaza-EX/Bronzong.

           M Rayquaza-EX/Bronzong

Now we get into a deck that should be very familiar, aside from the Ancient Origins cards implemented into it. Let's start off with the Pokémon line because we have some new additions that are worth mentioning. First, we have a 3-2 M Rayquaza-EX line, but I can see adding in a third M Rayquaza-EX just to have more options to find them. This is the main and most powerful attacker of the deck because, simply put, it can max out at 240 damage with a field of eight Benched Pokémon thanks to Sky Field. However, there are also more interesting attackers such as Aegislash-EX, which can prevent Pokemon from attacking into it and still dish out a good amount of damage. A couple Heatran are here as well so we can keep Pokémon-EX at bay if needed.

One of the new attackers is Lugia-EX AOR because its attack, Aero Ball, is just like Mewtwo-EX's X-Ball, only this time it's a Colorless Pokémon instead of a Psychic Pokémon. Lugia-EX also has another attack called Deep Hurricane that can do a clutch 150 damage if needed. Lugia-EX can also just potentially deal a quick 100+ damage onto Pokémon with more than a couple Energy attached.

To power up these powerful attackers, we have a 3-2 line of Bronzong to help with Energy acceleration, since everything is either a Metal cost or Colorless cost. The next new addition and the more popular one in a M Rayquaza-EX/Bronzong deck is Hoopa-EX, which there are two copies of. Hoopa-EX allows you to search for three Pokémon-EX (excluding Hoopa-EX) and put them into your hand. This can grab Shaymin-EX, Rayquaza-EX, and M Rayquaza-EX, and even Aegislash-EX if need be, for essentially a free search with no drawback. A turn-one Hoopa-EX and a way to search for Bronzor is all you really need to get going. Of course, I run four Shaymin-EX, even though I sometimes see people play only three, because I like the extra insurance in case some are Prized. They also make Ace Trainer less threatening against you later in the game. Just like the other decks, we have Professor Birch's Observations because N is no more. AZ is still in the list because it just works perfectly for picking up Shaymin-EX, or even just to Metal Links onto a Benched Pokémon and make it Active in one turn. One Ace Trainer, because why not? You just never know when it can come in handy.

Running two Battle Compressors also helps put those one-of Supporters into the discard more easily and it also can discard Metal Energy for Metal Links. The three Switch are here to attack with a Pokémon you Metal Links onto in the same turn; basically, sort of the same reasoning as AZ. There are two Spirit Links at the moment, but if you add the third M Rayquaza-EX, then I recommend going to three Spirit Links. Sacred Ash I still like, in case you have to discard M Rayquaza-EX or Bronzong early on. Running four Ultra Ball is standard in a deck like this. Most decks run four anyway just because of how consistent the card is for getting Pokémon out, especially Shaymin-EX and Bronzong lines. Some people play three Sky Field, but I personally like running four just to maximize our odds of finding it when we need it. I also see people running six Metal Energy, but again, I think five is fine since most of the time, you're probably wanting to go aggro M Rayquaza-EX. You can try adding an Altaria line if you expect Lightning to be big; however, Hex Maniac shuts it down along with most things in this deck, so it may not be worth it.

                    Closing Thoughts 


Well, that will wrap up this article about five XY-AOR decks. Variants of these decks should see play during Cities and possibly States, so I would take some of these into account when deckbuilding for XY-AOR. My personal favorite deck right now, which I can easily see myself doing well with at Cities, is M Rayquaza-EX/Bronzong, and possibly Vespiquen/Eeveelutions. Not to say the rest of the decks aren't worthy, but those two are probably my favorite choices right now. I hope I was able to give you readers some deck ideas for our new rotation. If you have any questions about any of these decks or lists, feel free to ask down below in the comments section or message me on Facebook and I'll be sure to get to them as soon as possible. As usual, if you enjoyed reading this article, then please consider giving it a thumbs up. If you want to see a specific type of article or topic next time, then don't hesitate to give me ideas down below and I'll consider them.

Also, before I forget, make sure to check out our full 60cards Invitational roster. If you're not going home until Monday or later, then be sure to come hang out after the closing ceremony and watch those great players battle it out to see who becomes the first 60cards Invitational Champion! I'll definitely be there and if you see me there, don't be shy! Come and say hello or take a picture with me since I love making new memories, especially at Worlds. Oh and another thing: be sure to check out our new giveaways and enter for a chance to win multiple great prizes. It's free, so why not try and win free stuff? With that said, that will conclude this article. I can't wait for Worlds and I can't wait to see you all there. As always, keep an eye out for more articles to come. Until next time!


[+16] okko


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