05/22/2015 by Ryan Sabelhaus
Ryan goes over one of his favorite decks at the time, Shaymin-EX/Trevenant. With a strong focus on early trainer locking and the ability to draw through the deck quickly, this build is certainly something to watch out for in the upcoming format.
Hello again 60cards readers! It's been quite a while since I've written an article for this website, but there's a lot to talk about with Roaring Skies about to be legal for competitive play. Many new decks and strategies are being built, most of which involve the addition of Shaymin-EX. When asked what my favorite deck for the new format is going to be, my personal favorite at the moment is actually BASED on Shaymin-EX. He is the draw support, attacker, and just the overall engine of the deck. The build that this article is going to focus on is none other than Shaymin-EX/Trevenant. Some may have seen me or my brother playing this list on the Sabelstream, which is done on Tuesdays and Thursdays around 9PM EST. Enough talking, let's get straight into the article!
- 4x Shaymin EX
- 4x Trevenant
- 4x Phantump
- 3x Professor Juniper
- 1x N
- 1x Lysandre
- 1x Lysandre's Trump Card
- 2x Wally
- 1x Team Flare Grunt
- 3x Virbank City Gym
- 1x Computer Search
- 4x Ultra Ball
- 4x Trainer's Mail
- 3x Acro Bike
- 3x Crushing Hammer
- 1x Enhanced Hammer
- 4x VS Seeker
- 4x Hypnotoxic Laser
- 3x Muscle Band
- 3x Float Stone
- 2x Head Ringer
- 4x Double Colorless Energy
This deck may seem a little strange at first, but the reasoning behind each card count was very sound when I was making this list. This build has been the product of numerous card changes and preparing for the decks that have been most popularly played online. Let's focus on some of the strange counts that people may be confused about.
2 Wally? Why multiple copies of a card that would only be used on turn one?
Turn one trainer lock is absolutely vital when playing this deck against some of the faster builds coming out. Without the ability to play trainers and reduce hand size through the use of Ultra Ball's and Computer Search, decks that revolve around Shaymin-EX draw engines will slow down immensely. They won't be able to explode out of the gates and go through their entire deck, which will leave this deck more time to use disruption cards over and over again. Two copies are to ensure trainer lock can come about with even one of them prized. Locking down an opponent's trainers can literally decide the game against some of the fast-paced decks coming around, such as Rayquaza-EX/Shaymin-EX.
3 Crushing Hammer, 1 Enhanced Hammer, 2 Head Ringer, and 1 Team Flare Grunt? Seems like a lot of disruption…
Well, the deck doesn't have very large damage output and needs to recycle these disruption cards multiple times through the use of Lysandre's Trump Card. It is not very hard to draw through the deck multiple times from being able to use multiple Shaymin-EX every turn. The Crushing Hammer and Team Flare Grunt are vital against decks that play a Virizion-EX, such as some of the Rayquaza-EX builds. With small counts of grass energy, the poison could be able to stick and increase damage output immensely.
The Enhanced Hammer helps to slow down decks that revolve around special energies, which seems to be every deck nowadays. You will be able to get maximum efficiency out of this hammer from repeated uses, which we can thank Lysandre's Trump Card again for this. Head Ringer's were a last second addition to the deck, but have helped a lot in testing. Stopping a Seismitoad-EX from attacking on the first turn is crucial to beating that difficult matchup, along with helping to slow down Rayquaza-EX decks through making them manually mega-evolve and end their turn. Head Ringer can also help effectively stall a Virizion-EX/Genesect-EX deck just long enough to hit those Crushing Hammer's and possibly stand a chance against a difficult matchup.
Only 1 N and 3 Professor Juniper? Doesn't seem like enough draw supporters...
With Shaymin-EX as the main source of drawing for this deck, the need for supporters is not as big as in other decks. This deck requires many playable cards in order to lower hand size and go through the deck faster, such as Acro Bikes, Trainer Mail, Ultra Ball, and many more. The need to lower hand size is crucial for this deck. Without netting at least 4-5 cards or more off of each Shaymin-EX ability, you won't be able to run through the deck and get all of your vital disruption resources fast enough.
4 Trainer's Mail and 3 Acro Bike? Why not just play more supporters?
Well, if you see my last point that I made about the deck playing low amounts of supporter cards then you would know we need playable cards every turn. We need to speed through the deck and get setup, while using our multitude of disruption cards. Using a Trainer's Mail and finding an Ultra Ball will help to get a Shaymin-EX and begin the process of drawing through most of our deck. We also are intending to use Wally as our first turn supporter in order to get a turn one item lock, which would mean that this deck needs many sources of finding Wally. Both of these cards help to sift through unwanted options and find the desired supporter we are searching for to ensure a Trevenant making an appearance on the first turn of the game.
Now that we are done taking a look at the deck and focusing on some of the strange counts being used in this list, let's take a look at some of the strengths and weaknesses that this deck has:
Strengths of Shaymin-EX/Trevenant:
1) Consistency: With a seemingly simple strategy, the deck can setup and perform what it's meant to do in almost every game. Attacking with Shaymin-EX and sending up a Trevenant to shut down the opponent's trainers. It's as simple as that. With 4 Shaymin-EX and 4 Ultra Ball, along with many ways of drawing into those two cards, it's not very hard to get the ball rolling with dropping Shaymin-EX after Shaymin-EX to draw through the deck. With his attack also returning himself to your hand, the main attacker of this deck also serves as your draw card for the next turn to help with internal consistency. To perform very well at high level tournaments, a deck must be able to setup and perform at it's highest output for 8-9 rounds and must be an extremely consistent build. This deck would almost certainly fall into that category.
2) Trainer-Locking Capability For The First Turn: Before an opponent can even draw a card and begin their turn, they are shut off from their trainer cards. This can be absolutely brutal in some matchups that rely heavily on their trainer cards (Rayquaza-EX/Shaymin, Flareon, Archie-based decks, Seismitoad-EX variants). Without even a chance to thin their deck of trainers, opponent's now have a multitude of cards that can't even be played (without the use of a Lysandre). It's pretty easy to beat an opponent if nearly a third of their deck is unplayable and they can't use the strategy that they intended to use for their deck.
3) One-Prize Shields Being Used: With the trainer lock decks of recent memory being with Seismitoad-EX, a big fault came with each attacker being worth 2 prize cards when knocked out. This build relies on attacking with Shaymin-EX and sending him back to your hand, which allows you to send up a Trevenant and only give an opponent one prize card if KO'd. This can help to elongate games and give you much more time to use those fancy disruption cards over and over again. With most decks only playing one Lysandre, it will be very hard to draw into that one copy or use it repeatedly without important trainer cards (VS Seeker, Trainer's Mail).
Weaknesses of Shaymin-EX/Trevenant:
1) Reverse Trainer-Locking: As I've found out from immense testing online, this deck struggles very badly against other trainer-locking decks. It just seems to slow the games down immensely and leaves this deck with the capability of attacking for 30 damage. Without the ability to play down important trainer cards, such as float stones, this deck will have no way of keeping a trainer lock going. Trevenant has a bulky 3 retreat-cost and needs float stones in order to be brought active. If an opponent were to cause a turn one trainer lock against our build, there would be no way of performing the intended strategy of our deck. Without the use of Hypnotoxic Laser's and Muscle Bands, this deck will literally have the capability of attacking for just 30 damage every turn, which would not lead to many wins.
2) Virizion-EX Based Decks: Virizion-EX has the ability to shut down one of the main sources of damage that this deck abuses, Hypnotoxic Laser poison damage. Without poison, this deck will struggle to take knockouts with its possible 50 damage using a Muscle Band. Opposing decks that RELY on Virizion-EX and use the card as part of their strategy will be very bad matchups for this build. Opposing decks that use Virizion-EX as a TECH card, such as a one-of Virizion-EX in Rayquaza builds, could possibly not be enough to have a huge effect. With usually 3-5 grass energy in the deck, it may be difficult to draw into these under trainer lock, or may be difficult to sustain on the board while we are using Crushing Hammer's. Either way, Virizion-EX is a pain for this build and can possibly shut down a huge source of damage output that we rely on.
3) Decks That Can Accelerate Energy: Fairy decks that revolve around Xerneas flooding the board with fairy energy can be an example of a big problem for this deck. Other examples of Pokemon that can flood the board with energy would be Virizion-EX, M Manectric-EX, Yveltal, Bronzong, etc… Crushing Hammer will not be as effective if the opponent can keep energy on the board and keep using their stronger attacks. If a Trevenant is getting KO'd every turn, this deck will struggle and fall apart. Hypnotoxic Laser can help to alleviate the problem through opponent's possibly missing a turn of attacking, but just a flip of the coin landing on heads will put them right back on the offensive.
Overall, I feel like this deck is a strong starting point for anyone that is confused about the upcoming format. This build will show you the power that comes with Shaymin-EX's game-changing ability, along with the potential that comes from playing Wally in a Trevenant based deck. With a low damage output and some possible weaknesses, I'm not saying that this deck will dominate the upcoming metagame and win many tournaments. This is just a deck that everyone should be prepared for that can possibly steal some games with its incredible internal consistency and abuse of disruption cards.
For the time being, this deck would probably be my favorite deck of the upcoming format. I'm not a big fan of the Rayquaza decks with the large amount of Raichu that I have seen being played online. It is certainly a strong contender in the format, but every deck will probably have a tech card intended just for Rayquaza builds. Silent Lab, Wobbuffet, Raichu, Garbodor, and many other cards just make Rayquaza much too scary for me to play.
I wish everyone good luck in their upcoming Regional Championships, National Championships, and whatever tournaments are starting up around this time of the year. This has been another great season of Pokemon with some game-changing cards coming out in this recent set that will definitely see competitive play. For anyone going to US Nationals, I'll definitely be there if you would like to stop by and say hello. For the European readers that are heading to the World Championships, I can't wait to see you all in Boston. Thanks for reading and let me know if there are any questions about the deck or my logic behind inclusion of any cards.
-Ryan Sabelhaus <3
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