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Jose Marrero

"Emerald Breaking to Victory" - A 1st Place States Report

Jose talks about his Week 1 States win in Georgia and goes over the deck he played.

03/31/2016 by Jose Marrero

 

Introduction

Hello once again, 60cards readers! With State Championships still underway, I wanted to dedicate this next article strictly to my Week 1 States win in Georgia a couple weeks ago to show you guys why I decided to play the deck I did and give my insight on the deck as a whole, as well as show you how my games went during Swiss and in top cut. Hopefully this article will show you that M Rayquaza-EX is still a force to be reckoned with even in Standard. Also, shoutout to Connor Finton for winning South Carolina States last weekend with an almost identical list to my own. I knew the deck could easily take home another win. Connor, Ryan Peterson, and I were the only ones playing the deck for Week 2. I didn't do so well last weekend due to my first three rounds being very tough matchups, starting with a Round 1 loss to Raichu/Crobat following it up with Primal Groudon-EX/Wobbuffet and finally against a Night March player playing Gallade.

After the loss to Raichu/Crobat it went downhill from there, as you can see. Still, Connor was able to pilot the deck all the way to the Finals and take home the gold. I did, however, make a couple last-minute changes to the original list for Week 2. I dropped the 1-1 Zoroark line for a Jirachi and Aegislash-EX. Connor also played Jirachi, ultimately dropping the Xerosic from the original list as well as dropping one Dragon Rayquaza-EX for a Colorless one. I believe those were Connor's only two changes from the list I used at Georgia. He did play the other Zorua, which is irrelevant due to the deck not running Darkness Energy. I added in the Jirachi because I expected more Night March hate such as more Seismitoad-EX/Giratina-EX decks as well as more Vespiquen/Vileplume decks. The Aegislash-EX was strictly for Vespiquen/Vileplume. There were quite a handful of them at South Carolina States, but I wasn't fortunate enough to hit one in my early rounds.

With that said, down below is the exact list I used for Georgia States which was posted on Pokemon.com a couple weeks ago.

The List

Analysis

Let's go over the deck I used to place First at Georgia States, starting with the Pokémon counts. I went with a standard 3-3 line of M Rayquaza-EX. Something odd you may notice is that I played all Dragon Rayquaza-EX instead of any Colorless ones. This was for a number of reasons. The first and the most obvious is that they are not weak to dreaded Lightning-types, namely Joltik, Raichu, and Manectric-EX. The Dragon Rayquaza-EX also has 180 HP instead of 170, which can make a difference. The fact that they can one-hit KO a Joltik for a single Double Colorless is kind of cool, except that still leaves you vulnerable to a one hit KO in return. Against Raichu decks, they need to have a full Bench a long with a Golbat drop to one-hit KO which doesn't seem too hard but it's not as easy as just having five on the Bench to one-hit KO the Colorless one. Against Manectric-EX decks, it's usually whoever takes the first two Prizes wins the match. So if you somehow miss the KO, then you can just have a Benched or Active Rayquaza-EX with a Spirit Link so it doesn't get Head Ringer’d. This way, next turn you can get the Mega going for two Prizes and not get one-hit KO’d due to Fairy Weakness. Then we have, of course, four Shaymin-EX. All M Rayquaza-EX decks should be running four Shaymin-EX because that's how the deck thrives in getting quick Emerald Breaks going.

Then there's two copies of Jolteon-EX, which was just released in the new Generations set. There was so much hype on Jolteon-EX and I took it seriously because I knew its full potential. People have been talking about Jolteon-EX in decks aside from M Rayquaza-EX, which made no sense to me because the combination is too good to be true if you really think about it. Jolteon-EX can lock a Night March player from attacking it, thus taking a free win under the right circumstances. Jolteon-EX also has free Retreat, which for some reason a lot of people didn't know, making Jolteon-EX even better in the deck. For a single Lightning Energy and a Double Colorless, you can lock opponents’ Basic Pokémon from doing damage to it. Basically you can start the lock by turn two, which is the goal against Night March decks because any more than two turns means they probably will have the ingredients to one-hit KO it. Of course, when having something as good as a lock card, there's always a flaw. Those flaws are Gallade and Vespiquen in Night March decks which both force you to Bench Lysandre-bait Pokémon, thus making the matchup almost unwinnable. So if you don't expect Night March players to run either of those, then you can go far with the deck. Lastly for the Pokémon line, I went with a 1-1 line of Zoroark. I know a 1-1 line is not always ideal because you can easily just Prize a piece or have to discard Zoroark early on, but it was mainly to just keep myself from getting Lysandre-locked while at the same time have a non-EX answer to opposing Zoroark.

Moving out of the Pokémon and into the Supporters, I went with a heavy count of Professor Sycamore which is not normally what you expect to see in a M Rayquaza-EX deck. However, with the recent release of Puzzle of Time, you can now get away with running more Sycamore since you can recover important resources you might have had to discard away. Also, the fact that Item-lock decks have been seen more play makes running a heavy count of Professor Sycamore even more worth it. The rest of the Supporters are all one-ofs. One Judge to be able to Judge your opponent out of a game-winning hand. With the deck running four Shaymin-EX, Judge shouldn't hurt you as much as it would hurt them. One Skyla because I love that it can grab a second Puzzle of Time. Also, if you’re trying to go for the turn-one attack, having Skyla in the discard means you can guarantee having a piece you need, whether it's Mega Turbo, Spirit Link, or even Sky Field. One Xerosic was mainly meant for Focus Sash and Assault Vest Pokémon, but at the same time, it’s great against Giratina-EX to get rid of their Double Dragon Energy. I would love to have been able to fit a second Lysandre, but the list is tight as is and with Puzzle of Time, running one was actually fine as long as it's not Prized when you need it. One Hex Maniac was purely for Greninja and Giratina-EX decks. Being able to chain Hex Maniac every turn and one-hit KO something is the goal against Greninja decks. Then there's one AZ which is used for a number of reasons. Being able to pick up a Shaymin-EX to reuse is nice and also so something doesn't get stuck Active assuming Zoroark isn't an option to bail you out. That's basically it as far as the Supporters go. I played a lot one-ofs to give myself plenty of options.

Then there's the standard four VS Seeker and Ultra Ball for obvious reasons. Next is four Puzzle of Time which I love in this type of deck. Being able to get back any two things in the discard pile is extremely strong in today's format. You can swarm M Rayquaza-EX easier now because of Puzzle of Time. I also kept four Sky Field in the deck because they are the bread and butter when going for KOs on Pokémon with more than 150 HP. Running three Mega Turbo and Spirit Links is pretty standard as well. I can even see a fourth Spirit Link added in just to be able to find them more consistently early on. A lot of times you are wanting to find that Spirit Link as soon as possible because M Rayquaza-EX is the biggest piece of the puzzle. Two Float Stone to be able to free-Retreat out at a moment’s notice even though Jolteon-EX has free Retreat. Two Battle Compressor as well so we are able to find all the one-of Supporters more easily. Then finally one Sacred Ash which allows you to put back five Pokémon from your discard pile into your deck and since this deck loves to fill its Bench, it's vulnerable to Stadium wars, which also means fewer Pokémon on the Bench to one-hit KO big Pokémon. Being able to get back two to four Shaymin-EX is so clutch since now you can reuse them and still fill the Bench at the same time.

For the Energy count I went with four Double Colorless which is a no brainer and then four Lightning. I wasn't too sure on how many Lightning I should be running. However, I knew I needed a decent amount if I wanted to rely on Jolteon-EX to win me games against Night March so I went with four since I know three is normally what you see in most M Rayquaza-EX decks that aren't with Bronzong. I know a lot of people may be wondering why I didn't run any Trainers' Mail, and the reason for that was because you just don't need them. I ended up just going with more Supporters in the end. The way I see it is that early on, if your hand is Supporterless but you have a Trainers' Mail to hopefully bail you out, you’re most likely digging for a Supporter at that point, so I just said “You know what, I’d rather open with a Professor Sycamore instead.” Brandon Cantu actually played a similar build to mine for week one, and he narrowly missed Day 2 with a record of 5-2-2 after starting 5-0-1. His differences to my list was that he ran three Trainers' Mail, only one Hoopa-EX, two Professor Sycamore, and three Lightning Energy. You can see how two of the three changes were one Hoopa-EX and a Professor Sycamore, which I prefer to open with instead of Trainers' Mail.

Why I chose to play the deck

Going into week one of States, I was between two decks. One obviously was M Rayquaza-EX/Jolteon-EX, and the other one was Trevenant BREAK/Wobbuffet from my last article, except I would have dropped one Judge or the Eco Arm for a Xerosic. As soon as Jolteon-EX came out, I immediately thought about comboing it with M Rayquaza-EX because it was simple. What beats M Rayquaza-EX pretty handily? That deck is in fact Night March. So adding Jolteon-EX was a no-brainer. I knew M Rayquaza-EX had good matchups all around except for Night March, Raichu/Crobat, and Manectric-EX decks. To answer Night March, I knew if I can get a turn-two Jolteon-EX attacking, there was hope of winning the game, assuming there aren’t six Prizes on my Bench that would be vulnerable to Lysandre. I knew going into Week 1 of States there was a lot of talk about Gallade being added into decks, but the only one that matters is Night March. I basically said "if Night March doesn't play Gallade then there's hope of winning". When having this thought process, I completely forgot about Vespiquen being splashed into Night March decks. Luckily for me, neither of these were the case, making my deck option almost too perfect for Week 1.

I kind of expected Night March players to disregard Jolteon-EX due to its crazy hype, making the card just as expensive as Shaymin-EX if not more so, so not a lot of people could get them last-minute. Also, if you think about it, the only deck people expected to see Jolteon-EX in is decks with M Manectric-EX, which means they can't get a turn-two Jolteon-EX attacking due to M Manectric-EX decks not running Double Colorless Energy like I did. This is why my version with Jolteon-EX was much more effective. Night March players probably knew this and thought they win the M Manectric-EX matchup even with Jolteon-EX which was the case most times, and from what I saw during States. I did, however, still think about my not-so-good matchups that I mentioned before other than Night March. That's where the Dragon Rayquaza-EX come in. Because they are Weak to Fairy-types instead of Lightning-types, I knew running those over the Colorless ones were the play. They can one-shot a Joltik for a Double Colorless if need be and can also survive one hit from M Manectric-EX. The Dragon Rayquaza-EX make the Night March player need a lot more to one-hit KO them, meaning you can survive an extra turn of not having to give up two quick Prizes, giving you more time to power up Jolteon-EX.

A question I've gotten a lot about the deck is whether you lose to Night March if they get a turn-one Lysandre to KO the Jolteon-EX, and my answer would be yes because Jolteon-EX is your only hope against them. You have to hope they don't hit the nuts and pull that off. If you think about it, Jolteon-EX is similar to Giratina-EX. You attach turn one to Giratina-EX just like you would for Jolteon-EX and threaten the turn-two lock. Except Jolteon-EX is much more effective because the Night March player can have a backup Double Colorless on the Bench ready to one-hit KO Giratina-EX while Jolteon-EX can't even be damaged by them no matter how many Double Colorless-powered attackers there are. I would like to say that Jolteon-EX in M Rayquaza-EX is by no means an auto win against Night March if they don't run Gallade or Vespiquen due to Night March players playing cards such as Pokémon Catcher, Target Whistle, Xerosic, Escape Rope, and even Enhanced Hammer. So you can see how you still have to play smart and play around all these techs that can still make the matchup tough. All the Night March players I faced played one or multiple of those cards which made the matchup more troublesome. Still, I was able to pull off the wins against them every time due to luck and some good plays on my end.

Tournament Report

Round 1 - Chase Moon - Night March: WW (1-0-0)

Right off the bat, I hit a Night March Round 1 and I immediately knew this was going to be a tough tournament. I had to pray that my opponent didn't have a Jolteon-EX counter. So Game 1 is underway as I play first and start to set up a Jolteon-EX with a Double Colorless Energy and pass, only to have my opponent Enhanced Hammer off my Double Colorless turn one. At this point, I'm just like, “Well, Jolteon, at least we tried.” However, my opponent didn't have much going for him outside of the Enhanced Hammer. I take my second turn of the game and this time I attach a Lightning Energy that I ripped of the top. My opponent proceeds to yet again have nothing going and is unable to KO my Jolteon-EX on the Bench. I then attach another Double Colorless Energy and finally start the lock train. This is where my opponent finds his Xerosic and starts clearing out my Double Colorless Energy. I knew I just had to keep finding Double Colorless Energy at this point. I was fortunate enough to never miss a beat and eventually take all my Prizes with Jolteon-EX after using Puzzle of Time to get back two Double Colorless Energy. Game 2 was basically the same except my opponent was forced to discard his Enhanced Hammer early on, along with a couple VS Seeker, so eventually he ran dry of Lysandre plays, making Jolteon-EX stick for good.

Round 2 - Derrick Boer - Aegislash-EX/Lugia-EX/Zoroark/Bronzong: WW (2-0-0)

This was a fairly easy matchup even though my opponent ran multiple Aegislash-EX. I knew all I had to do was Hex Maniac three times in a row to take all my Prizes, which is basically what I did. My opponent didn't get Zoroark attacking Game 1, so a single M Rayquaza-EX went to town. Game 2, however, was looking a little better for my opponent because I took so long to find a VS Seeker to Hex Maniac his Aegislash-EX, which took back-to-back KOs on two Shaymin-EX. I thought for sure I was done for, but I finally found a VS Seeker and started the comeback and because I had him Hex’d, he couldn't Bronzong onto anything. My opponent then Judged me and promoted another Aegislash-EX, except he Judged me into a VS Seeker, which brought me down to two Prizes. My opponent then promoted Zoroark, but he was 10 damage shy of the KO on my M Rayquaza-EX to take Game 2. I then Lysandre up a Shaymin-EX for my last two Prizes to take the series 2-0. It was crazy how long Aegislash-EX had me locked for. Still, I was able to make a huge comeback with a single M Rayquaza-EX once I found my VS Seekers.

Round 3 - Justin Crossley - Greninja: WLW (3-0-0)

These games were actually closer than I thought they would be. Justin played Dedenne, which made the match somewhat tougher. Game 1, I believe I was able to keep the Hex chains coming and managed to pull that one out. However, Game 2 was slightly different because at one point in the game, Justin basically had a lone Greninja BREAK and I know if I could just KO it then the game was over from there. The previous turn he just KO’d a M Rayquaza-EX, which meant I had to get one out from scratch. I'm digging and digging and the only missing piece I need is the Spirit Link, which I knew I had two left about a 15-20 card deck. I was unfortunately not able to find it, letting Justin steal the game the following turn. Game 3 is actually really close, to the point at which I almost deck out. At one point in the game, I'm at three Prizes to Justin's four, I believe, and I went to use a Professor Sycamore and so Justin proceeded to cut my deck, and I'm just like, “Wait, what? I played Sycamore,” so Justin called the head Judge over and we find out it's a Prize penalty. Now I know I'm at three Prizes and the same turn I can take another, bringing me down to one Prize. So I, of course, take the Prize as it's Game 3, and follow it up with an Emerald Break to bring me to one Prize. At this point, Justin knew the Prize penalty meant certain defeat, so he tried to Lysandre my Hoopa-EX and hoped that I couldn’t Retreat it. But I had one Double Colorless Energy left, so I took Game 3.

Round 4 - Carson Goins - Entei/Charizard-EX/Gallade: WW (4-0-0)

This round I knew what I was going up against and I was happy it was an Entei deck. I wasn't sure how I was going to approach the match though, because I can just Jolteon-EX lock or just go HAM with M Rayquaza-EX swarms. Going into Game 1, Carson plays first and plays an Ultra Ball and the very first card he showed was a Gallade, so immediately I scrapped the Jolteon-EX strategy. These games went fairly smoothly for me as Carson's deck can't one-hit KO a M Rayquaza-EX while I can one-shot everything on his field. Game 1 and 2 basically go the same, with one or two M Rayquaza-EX cleaning Carson's field to take a comfortable 2-0 and the series.

Round 5 - Ryan Peterson - Raichu/Crobat: WLW (5-0-0)

I knew Ryan was playing Raichu/Crobat and I'm not going to lie, I offered to ID with him because I knew the match was highly in Ryan's favor, but Ryan declined. Game 1 starts and Ryan and I are trading KOs, but at one point in the game Ryan whiffs the revenge-KO on my M Rayquaza-EX, which gave me an opening to win the game since I was at four Prizes at this point and I knew I had to KO back-to-back Shaymin-EX to take Game 1, so I Lysandre up one of them and Benched a Zorua bringing myself down to two Prizes. Ryan responded with a KO on my M Rayquaza-EX but fortunately for me, I was able to Lysandre another Shaymin-EX and KO it with Zoroark to steal Game 1. Game 2, however, Ryan never missed a beat and easily took it to Game 3, where he started with a lone Zubat as I play first and attach a Lightning Energy to my active Jolteon-EX and play some other cards and Pokémon on the Bench. Ryan takes his first turn of Game 3 only to have a lone Hex Maniac and a pass. I proceed to attach a Double Colorless Energy to Jolteon-EX and Flash Ray for the KO and the series. Unfortunate for Ryan to go out like that, but I'll take what I can get, especially against a really tough matchup.

Round 6 - Austin Long - Night March: WW (6-0-0)

I know if I win this round, then I'm basically good for Top 8. These games went very fast. I believe both games lasted 15-20 minutes total, if that. Game 1, I play first and open Hoopa-EX which I was fine with. I Ultra Ball for Jolteon-EX attach a Lightning Energy to it and Puzzle of Time, only to see a Float Stone in the top three cards of the deck, so I rearranged it for my next card in case Austin doesn't one-hit KO my Hoopa-EX turn one. It goes exactly as planned and I attach the Float Stone to the active Hoopa-EX and then Retreat into Jolteon-EX and attach a Double Colorless onto it and start the lock train. My field was Jolteon-EX Active and just the Float Stoned Hoopa-EX on the Bench with no Pokémon in the discard, so Austin immediately scooped. We start Game 2 and I'm forced to Bench a lot of Pokémon to try and get Jolteon-EX going. I eventually get it going and Austin tries to do Pokémon Catcher plays but he flips tails and from there he didn't have much because he was forced to discard a good amount of VS Seekers. Austin just ended up scooping even when my Bench was full of Lysandre bait.

Round 7 - Ahmed Ali - Night March: Scooped (6-1-0)

Ahmed was 5-0-1 at this point and I knew he didn't run a Jolteon-EX counter which meant that I wanted him in Top 8 and plus, he's a good friend, so I just gave him the game to guarantee him Top 8 since I knew it would get him his Worlds invite at the same time and I was fairly confident my last round opponent would have been Zach, who agreed to ID the round before if we played, and that turned out to be the case.

Round 8 - Zach Bivens - Greninja: ID (6-1-1)

Zach and I knew 19 points was in for sure, so we both agreed to ID to guarantee ourselves Top 8. Down below is what Top 8 looked like.

Top 8 final standings

 

1. Night March (Top 8)
2. Night March (Top 4)
3. Greninja (Runner Up)
4. M Rayquaza-EX/Jolteon-EX (Winner)
5. Seismitoad-EX/Crobat (Top 8)
6. Night March (Top 8)
7. Vespiquen/Vileplume/Jolteon-EX (Top 8)
8. Tyrantrum-EX/Giratina-EX/Bronzong (Top 4)

 

Top 8 - Kyle Warden - Seismitoad-EX/Crobat: WW (7-1-1)

Going into this round, the judge comes over and explains that Kyle had a Game 1 loss due to a decklist error which was that Kyle forgot to write Super Scoop Up. So all I had to do was win a single game, and I knew he didn't run Hammers so I knew it wasn't going to be too hard to take at least one game off Kyle. I win the coin flip and play first and start to set up a M Rayquaza-EX so I can start the wrath next turn. Kyle opens with Seismitoad-EX, Double Colorless Energy, and Fighting Fury Belt. However, I can still one-hit KO him with M Rayquaza-EX with a full Bench. I also knew he was playing without Super Scoop Up so even if I didn't one-hit KO him, I knew it was basically a guaranteed two-shot, which was the case. Kyle was trying to find a Red Card turn one, but just couldn't find one. At one point in the game, Kyle did manage to KO a M Rayquaza-EX with Lugia-EX, but I double Puzzle of Time’d another M Rayquaza-EX onto the Bench to revenge-KO the Lugia-EX and from there Kyle couldn't do much and so I take Game 2 after having the Game 1 win due to the decklist error to take a quick series.

Top 4 - Noah Sawyer - Tyrantrum-EX/Giratina-EX/Bronzong: WW (8-1-1)

Going into this match, I was pretty confident in it because I knew once I drain all four Double Dragon Energy, then the game is over. Game 1 I play first and explode with a couple M Rayquaza-EX and pass the turn. Noah doesn't have much and passes with a Bronzor Active and a Giratina-EX on Bench but no Energy. I proceed to Professor Sycamore and again my opponent decides to cut my deck and so Noah just scoops because his hand was dead and he was about to get a penalty. Game 2, however, is looking a little better for Noah. He eventually starts attacking with Giratina-EX with Faded Town locked as the Stadium and both my M Rayquaza-EX were taking 20 damage a turn and both got up to 100 damage each just from Faded Town. He had me locked out of Double Colorless Energy, so I just started to Xerosic his Double Dragons off. Three turns in a row, I Xerosic a Double Dragon Energy and eventually force Noah to pass, which meant I was able to attach my Energy now. However, I knew Noah was getting low on cards in the deck, so instead of trying to Hex Maniac every turn, I played it safer because I knew he only had one Double Dragon Energy left. So I just kept Lysandre’ing up a Bronzong and passing with Jolteon-EX Active and eventually forced Noah to one-shot the Jolteon-EX with Tyrantrum-EX, which had his last Double Dragon Energy. I follow up with a one-shot of my own on his Tyrantrum-EX, forcing Noah to scoop right after because he knew it was over since he had no Double Dragon Energy left.

Finals - Zach Bivens - Greninja: WW (9-1-1)

I make it to the finals and now am up against Greninja, which I was happy about. Zach played both Dedenne and Jirachi, which meant I had to be careful. Game 1, Zach decides to try and Jirachi off my Double Colorless Energy on my M Rayquaza-EX but unfortunately, misses the Energy, forcing me to take a free KO on the Jirachi which also forced Zach to scoop because I was up so many Prizes. Game 2 is actually looking a lot better for me because Zach plays first but I manage to get a M Rayquaza-EX attacking turn one and start taking quick Prizes. Zach knows the quick pressure I put on him meant it's only a matter of time until I take all my Prizes. Zach then starts to get his Frogadier going but now I'm up two Prizes right off the bat. Eventually I'm down to two Prizes to Zack's four and Zach tries to stall with Bubble on Froakie. He flips tails and now I'm at one Prize. Zach again Bubble's two more times and survives a couple more turns but I eventually draw into a second Puzzle of Time to AZ up my Active M Rayquaza-EX and attack with a different one to take my last Prize and become the 2016 Georgia State Champion. By the way, both games I Prized Hex Maniac and pulled it off the fourth Prize both games. So out of both games I only Hex’d one time and it was irrelevant.

Closing Thoughts

That will conclude this article about my State Championship win. I hope you were able to learn something from this article. Going into Week 3, I can still see this deck being strong. However, with the deck now winning two States, it might get more attention and more people may start playing it making people want to counter it even more. It's still a top option for me going into Week 3 because most people will still want to try and counter Night March which is still going to be the deck to beat. Expect to see more Trevenant, Vespiquen/Vileplume, and Greninja decks come Week 3, and possibly even more Giratina-EX decks. If you expect a good amount of Vespiquen/Vileplume for Week 3, then I recommend adding in an Aegislash-EX because if they don't run a counter, then you can get a free win. Adding a Jirachi would ultimately help against a lot of decks that would otherwise give M Rayquaza-EX trouble, so consider adding one of those as well if you are debating on playing the deck this weekend.

I'll be playing at Florida States this weekend so if you see me come say hello even though most of you are probably doing other States. Good luck at your upcoming States. With that said, if you have any questions then please feel free to leave me a comment down below 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. Or if you have any other deck ideas and want to see an analysis on it, then by all means post it and I'll take a look. As always, keep an eye out for more articles to come. Until next time!

-Jose

[+15] okko


 

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