Experts' corner

Ryan Sabelhaus

"The Three Musketeers"- A look at Three Popular Decks for the Upcoming Regional Championships

Ryan takes a look at three popular decks that should see a lot of play at the upcoming Autumn Regional championships for the 2014-2015 TCG season.

10/01/2014 by Ryan Sabelhaus

Hello 60Cards readers! The first round of Regional championships are coming up for the 2014-2015 Pokemon TCG season and this format looks to be very interesting. There are a plentiful amount of deck choices and no one can seem to figure out what works the best. Although there are many different decks to play, three of the most popular choices that will be seen during Autumn Regionals are Yveltal-EX/Garbodor, Landorus-EX/Garbodor, and Pyroar/Seismitoad-EX. That is not to say that these are the best three decks, but they will certainly be seen and should be prepared for. Let's get into the article: 

Table of Contents:
1) Yveltal-EX/Garbodor LTR
2) Landorus-EX/Garbodor LTR
3) Pyroar FLF/Seismitoad-EX
4) Closing Opinions

1) Yveltal-EX/Garbodor LTR

This deck just wont seem to go away. With the new format rotation and the loss of Dark Patch, everyone just assumed that Yveltal-EX wouldn't be fast enough to survive in this format. This legendary creature just doesn't seem to be going away anytime soon, especially with Garbodor by his side to shut down an opponent's abilities. The strength of Yveltal-EX's attacks, combined with Hypnotoxic Laser and Garbodor, just make this deck a deadly force at the upcoming Regional championships. With the large amount of Mewtwo-EX that will be at Regionals as well, Yveltal-EX will allow for an even larger hit whenever an X-Ball comes down. Let's discuss the strengths and weaknesses of this top contender. 


-> Lightning Weakness:
With the loss of speed-based Yveltal-EX decks from last season, everyone has shifted away from playing Raichu for coverage from this deck. There are hardly any decks that can fit a Raichu line, especially with the terrible weakness to Fighting that would make a sure liability towards all of the cards from the new set. With the resurgence of Landorus-EX, along with the fighting stadium and strong energies, lightining pokemon are just too hard to conidently put into any 60-card list. This makes Yveltal-EX a very happy Pokemon, as most opponent's will need to AT LEAST attack this card twice to knock it out. With 2 turns to attack and Hypnotoxic Laser to assist it, this deck will surely get some solid damage down before giving up two prize cards. The only other possible options as lightning attackers would be Dedenne, which isn't seeing very much play right now as well. 

-> Simple Strategy:
This deck has a very simple strategy, which is one of the reasons why it is so successful. The whole point of the deck is to get out a Garbodor to shut off abilities, while continuously pounding on opposing Pokemon with Yveltal XY and Yveltal-EX. There isn't very many thought processes that need to be made, aside from choosing whether or not to play a Hypnotoxic Laser during a certain turn or to Y-Wing instead of Evil Ball. With such a simple strategy and a solid decklist to go with it, this deck can consistently perform what it is supposed to do and will be a sure-fire bet to setup throughout the day and provide a solid performance. 

-> Trainer Locking:
As do most decks in the current format, this list plays Seismitoad-EX to slow down opposing setups. With the toad not allowing trainer cards to be played and Garbodor to keep his tool cards, no abilities will be allowed out of the opponent's side of play. Not allowing almost 20 cards to be played out of every deck in the format is just a very strong concept, which will be heavily abused during this round of Regional championships with Seismitoad-EX roaming free. The lack of trainer cards also make it seemingly impossible to play stage-2 decks in the current format, which narrows the amount of decks that need to be prepared for. Those matchups are near auto-wins for this deck as long as Seismitoad-EX can hit the board and lock down trainers and abilities. 

-> Predictable Turns:
Along with a simple strategy, this deck is also very predictable at times. Without the surprise factor that comes with Dark Patch, the turns are very slow and the attacks are easy to see coming. On most occasions, an opponent will know exactly what a player will do during their turn, as there aren't many other choices. This can allow players to prepare for upcoming turns and make some matchups more difficult than they should be, but the deck can sometimes just be too strong to overcome. Although the predictable turns are a weakness to this deck, something negative must come from a strong and effective strategy with powerful EX Pokemon. Otherwise, everyone would be playing this deck for Regionals and there would be plenty of lightning mouse Pokemon making it into decklists. 

-> Inherent Weakness to Lightning:
Although this may be a strength to the deck, if an opponent does play lightning Pokemon, this deck is in quite alot of trouble. Raichu is just too strong against this deck and can one-hit KO a Yveltal-EX with ease. With the main attacker of this deck being disposed of by just a double colorless energy, it is very hard to setup anything that won't be knocked out. Seismitoad-EX does allow for a little bit of coverage to Raichu, but eventually the mouse Pokemon will find a way to take easy prizes off of our main attackers. There are also very little fighting pokemon that could be added to this deck that will be able to return KO a Raichu, especially without needing fighting energy to use their attacks. 
Not only does this deck have a weakness to Raichu, but Thundurus-EX is also very strong against Yveltal-EX. If plasma is heavily played in your area, I would certainly suggest that you play this deck with caution. A Raiden Knuckle with Deoxys-EX and Muscle Band has the possibility of knocking out a Yveltal-EX for just one energy card, which is basically a nightmare for any player. 

2) Landorus-EX/Garbodor LTR

Jose Marrero went over this deck very nicely in his latest article on and I have to agree with his comments on the strengths of this deck. It has definitely gained some strength with the addition of all the cards from the new set, such as the Fighting Stadium and Strong Energy. This deck can hit for large amounts of damage on the first turn, assuming you go second, and can put an opponent into a bad position almost immediately. With Garbodor there to help shut down opponent's Pokemon and slow down any strategies, they must go toe-to-toe with a super-charged Landorus EX with Muscle Bands, Strong Energy, and the Fighting Stadium. My list may be a little different than Jose's list, but it just comes down to some personal preferences. I don't feel the need to play Lucario-EX, but instead like the added security of more Seismitoad-EX to help with every matchup that may be seen. Item locking an opponent will never be a bad turn in my eyes. This list also doesn't play any Hypnotoxic Laser, but once again that's my own personal preference. Let's look at the strengths and weaknesses.

-> Strong Opening:
This deck certainly has the strongest opening turns in the entire game right now. Landorus-EX can hit for an insane 90 damage for just one energy, along with 30 damage going to any benched Pokemon. This is just incredible damage output that can't be matched and instantly puts an opponent into a tough situation. Hammerhead also allows for a player to place damage wherever they see fit, which could effectively end the game sooner than it should be ended. Whenever an opponent can finally catch up on board state and do damage of their own, it may be too late for them from too much damage being done to their Pokemon. If there is a Trubbish that hits the board during the first couple of turns, this setup will be an extremely strong presence that must be dealt with immediately. It has been proven before that pure strength decks can win tournaments, such as the Big Basics decks of previous seasons.

-> Flexibility in Deck List:
This deck has a lot of extra room, which allows this deck to be played in many different ways depending on the person. If you prefer a large amount of Lucario-EX, then there are some extra spaces that can be devoted into some Lucario-EX. Maybe a player wants to play a larger amount of Landorus-EX and take out some of the Seismitoad-EX. Those cards can be changed around and the deck will still perform very effectively. This list can also be changed into a version that plays Hypnotoxic Laser and Virbank City Gym, such as Jose Marrero's list that he showed. Some players may also not have all the cards to play this deck, which can be supplemented with other cards that they do have. With such flexibility and a little bit of creativity, this deck can show varying levels of strength and power that can't really be matched in this format during the opening turns.

-> Extreme Consistency:
Korrina allows this deck to be an extremely consistent deck thanks to the large amounts of trainer cards that help to get off quick attacks. There are plenty of switching cards, drawing cards, and consistency cards to help this list do damage fast. With Korrina basically being a Skyla, with the added effect of grabbing a fighting Pokemon as well, Landorus-EX is never too far away. This deck also plays a very large amount of drawing cards and doesn't need very much to setup. With a Trubbish down on the first turn and a Landorus-EX attacking in the first one or two turns, this list proves to be a strong contender in the format.

-> Unfortunate Types for Weaknesses:
There are very bad weaknesses that come with each and every Pokemon found in here. Landorus-EX has a weakness to water, which can be found in Plasma decks that have Kyurem, Virizion/Genesect decks that play Beartic, and any deck that has Seismitoad-EX. These weaknesses can be quite hard to overcome at times, which can slightly lower the advantage that comes from a strong opening. Lucario-EX has a weakness to psychic, which can be found in Mewtwo-EX and Deoxys-EX. Both of these Pokemon can effectively knock out a Lucario-EX with ease, which proves to be a major liability to playing this card. Not only do those two Pokemon KO Lucario-EX, but they also can KO a Garbodor with just a Muscle Band attached. A final weakness that proves to be big for this list would be Seismitoad-EX's weakness to grass. Virizion-EX and Genesect-EX can do a lot of damage to the toad and will be seen at Autumn Regionals.

-> Weak Late Game
Although the openings for this deck are very strong and can put an opponent into a tough bind, the late game just isn't as strong. As long as an opponent can last through the beginning of the game without taking too much damage to their side, this deck struggles to take the last couple of prize cards and reach respectable amounts of damage to get one-hit KO's. It seems to be a trend with this deck to just falter after a late game N down to a low amount of cards, along with an attacking Pokemon that is hitting us for weakness. Added consistency cards can help against this problem, but also just make the deck a little more bland.

3) Pyroar FLF/Seismitoad-EX

This deck seems to be the more strange list out of the three that I am discussing. Not that many people are enjoying this deck at the moment, but it is a very strong contender that will be seen at the Regional championships in these coming weekends. Pyroar has always been a very strong card, but has lost some of its flare with the large amount of Garbodor that is being seen in the current format. Although this can prove to be a bit of a problem for this deck, it can still overcome Garbodor decks and win matchups that most would think it can't. Seismitoad-EX fits very nicely with this deck because of the coverage to grass weakness from Pyroar. It also can slow down an opponent and allow for much needed time to setup Pyroar's to attack with during the game. Basic EX attackers will be in nearly every deck that will be seen at the Regional championships, so Pyroar will always find it's way to get played, even with the large amount of Garbodor. Now let's get into the strengths and weaknesses that come with this deck.

-> Intimidating Mane
One of the best strengths of this deck would have to be the amazing ability of Pyroar, which allows it to not be damaged by opposing basic Pokemon. If you face a player that only plays basic Pokemon, then it becomes a free win for this deck. Finding ways to abuse this power are what makes Pyroar decks such a strong force in this format. It is for this reason, that Pyroar was able to get second place at the U.S. National championships this past year. It has proven itself before, although there certainly weren't as many Garbodor variants at that tournament.

-> Ability to Abuse Different Supporters
Not only does this deck play the normal counts of supporters in most situations, there are also plenty of spots that could be made into the specialized supporter cards to help this deck. This deck can incorporate many Lysandre from the lack of supporters needed after it has been all the way setup. Not only is Lysandre huge for this deck, but Blacksmith is one of the better cards that is played in this list. Attaching 2 fire energy to any fire Pokemon can allow for a little bit of a surprise factor, along with being able to charge up a Charizard-EX out of nowhere. Blacksmith has proven to be a very powerful card that can flat-out win games when used effectively.

-> Plenty of Time to Setup
With the addition of Seismitoad-EX to this deck, there has become plenty of time to allow for a proper setup of Pyroars. This can allow the deck to win certain matchups just based on the ability to get out a plentiful amount of lions. Some decks just can't deal with large amounts of Pyroar, which will help to earn some easy wins. There is also a lot of free time in the Virizion/Genesect matchup, assuming that a turn 2 Pyroar or Charizard can KO a grass Pokemon. This matchup is one of the most lop-sided matchups in the format if a Virizion-EX doesn't get off an Emerald Slash before being knocked out. Pyroar definitely enjoys a little free time to get ready, but opposing players should try not to give the lion any preparation time.

-> Doesn't Enjoy Garbotoxin
I have said it a couple of times already, but this deck does have a certain weakness when it comes to playing against Garbodor decks. They can prove to be annoying at times, especially with well-timed N's hitting the board to go with Garbodor. This can allow for basic Pokemon to knock out our attackers that usually wouldn't be touched without Garbotoxin. With the large amount of decks that now play the trash heap Pokemon, this may prove to be a larger liability than expected. There are certainly ways to get around Garbodor, but I always believe that there just isn't any good preparation to a well-timed N in a Garbodor deck.

-> Super Rod is Gone
Without Super Rod being in the format, this deck can struggle to get back some of it's resources at times. This also requires the deck to play larger lines of Pyroar and more Blacksmith to recover energy. Super Rod was certainly a powerhouse of a card that will be missed in this format and proves to be greatly missed in this deck as well. I have run into plenty of occasions where I have run out of energy cards or Pyroar's in the deck, which has caused me to lose those test games. Even with the lack of Super Rod and the requirement to play conservatively at times, this deck will always have a place in this current format with basic Pokemon dominating the tournaments.


4) Closing Opinions

This season will certainly prove to be a fun one to play in. The "expanded" format will be very interesting to watch unfold, but the current standard format is where I like to keep my focus on. I truly believe that without a strong focus on the current format, there will be no need to test for the expanded from not making it to Day 2. Making sure to playtest for Day 1 will pay off in the long run and could be the reason that you get to show off some cool combination on the second day.
I hope everyone does well at their respective Regional championships in the coming weeks, or at whichever tournaments are coming up next for you. Hopefully you embrace the new format and show off some creativity with deck-building. This format has plenty of room for creativity! Thank you all for reading this article and feel free to message me with any questions or suggestions on deck lists.


-Ryan Sabelhaus <3

[+3] okko


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