Experts' corner

Ryan Sabelhaus

"Thinking Outside the Box" - A look at two possible decks to counter Night March

Ryan goes over two possible deck choices ...

04/11/2016 by Ryan Sabelhaus

Ryan goes over two possible deck choices that can beat the most hated deck in the Pokemon community right now...Night March!




Hello again, 60cards readers! It seems that we’ve got a big problem in the Pokémon community nowadays… Night March. Everyone is trying to figure out how to beat the deck, while also having a good tournament performance. For this article, I’m going to talk about two possible deck choices that have great Night March matchups, while also being relatively good in the format. These decks are going to be Reshiram/Giratina-EX and M Sceptile-EX. These aren’t completely unknown, as they have gotten tournament placings in the State Championships that have been going on. Nathan Brower was even able to make 1st seed at the North Carolina State Championships with his speed Giratina-EX deck, which performed well against opposing Night March and Mega Pokémon-EX.

If you are looking to play a deck in any upcoming standard-format tournaments that has a good matchup against Night March, look no further than one of these choices. Reshiram/Giratina-EX is able to shut down Stadium use and Double Colorless Energy from hitting the board, which effectively stops Night March from attacking and taking Prize cards. With almost every build of Night March relying on Double Colorless Energy (opposed to the Bronzong builds), the game almost instantly ends when Giratina-EX gets an attack off. M Sceptile-EX is able to avoid being knocked out by a Night March attack through having a massive 220 HP, while also reducing 40 damage from attackers with Double Colorless Energy (thanks to playing Assault Vest). After taking huge amounts of damage, the M Sceptile-EX can just heal completely heal through shuffling between attackers and attaching an Energy with Jagged Saber.

That seems like enough of an introduction. Let’s talk about these two possible Night March counters and what makes them strong deck choices!


This deck completely revolves around getting an attacking Giratina-EX as quickly as possible and never letting the Chaos Wheel lock end. Stopping a player from utilizing their Special Energy cards, Tool cards, and Stadiums can make a game very difficult for most decks in the current metagame. Stopping Special Energy cards is what seems to be the most detrimental effect of this attack, as it can almost completely win matchups against Night March, M Rayquaza-EX, Vespiquen/Vileplume, and more. With Night March hoisting the most placements for every week of State Championships that have happened, it seems like a deck that can shut off their Energy cards from being played would be a great choice.

It seems like there are two versions of this deck that have been seen, the version with and without Puzzle of Time. Using Puzzle of Time is a great way of retrieving Double Dragon Energy, while also helping to get out an attacking Giratina-EX as quickly as possible. This may lead to a slightly smaller amount of consistency cards, but the deck can still setup very quickly and there is almost no way of stopping the Chaos Wheel lock after the first attack. The version without Puzzle of Time focuses more on consistency, with more Supporter cards and a Bunnelby to retrieve vital resources later in the game. Having to attack with Bunnelby would mean that the Chaos Wheel lock has been broken, which allows an opponent to play their Special Energy cards, Tool cards, and Stadiums. This is why my favorite version of the deck utilizes playing Puzzle of Time.

Let’s analyze some of the card choices and their inclusion in this build.

3 Reshiram, 3 Giratina-EX:

In an ideal world, we would have four of the Reshiram to give the greatest odds of starting with it. With this deck having an extremely tight list, the most we can get away with is going to be three. To utilize the Ability of attaching extra Fire Energy, the Reshiram needs to be the Active Pokémon, which is the main reason why there are so many switching cards in this deck. The perfect strategy is to get a Reshiram Active, attach an extra Energy or two onto a Giratina-EX, and play a Double Dragon to quickly shut down opposing Special Energy cards.

Playing three copies of our main attacker, Giratina-EX, is more than enough to get through most games played. In many matchups, just getting out one quick Giratina-EX can be enough to last for most of the game.

1 Hydreigon-EX, 1 Hoopa-EX, 3 Shaymin-EX:

Again, in a perfect world, there would be another Hydreigon-EX in the deck to assure that we utilize the Ability to Retreat for free. Since the list is tight, we make due with just one copy and easily play it onto the Bench through using a Hoopa-EX. If this one copy of Hydreigon-EX is Prized, the game can get pretty complicated. Using Shred can also be important in matchups that have a Jolteon-EX. Just two attacks can get through a Jolteon-EX, which has to use three attacks to knock out the Hydreigon-EX.

Hoopa-EX is a great utility for getting out a Giratina-EX, Hydreigon-EX, and a Shaymin-EX. Just one card can now grab every resource that is required to carry out the strategy of this deck, while also drawing extra cards after emptying the hand.

Playing too many Shaymin-EX can be a burden near the end of the game, as they allow for an opponent to take easier Prize cards and not deal with the Giratina-EX. They are mandatory in almost every deck nowadays, so we just deal with the burden and try to eliminate the problem through playing a copy of Parallel City for discarding our excess Pokémon.

3 Max Elixir, 4 Puzzle of Time:

Both of these cards are easily played to lower our hand size for Shaymin-EX, which is the primary source of drawing for this deck. Max Elixir is an easy way of getting Energy onto Giratina-EX to use Chaos Wheel as quickly as possible. Not much thought behind reasoning for this card, as it makes perfect sense to use in most speed decks. The Puzzle of Time also offers a way of drawing needed cards off of Shaymin-EX, while allowing us to retrieve vital resources from the discard pile later in the game.

3 Sky Field, 1 Parallel City:

While some versions of this deck use Scorched Earth to draw more cards, this build focuses on extending Bench space to utilize Shaymin-EX better. After playing many Shaymin-EX, they can hopefully be discarded through dropping a Parallel City and limiting our own Bench. Playing a good amount of Stadium cards is also necessary to bump opposing Stadiums before a Chaos Wheel lock, while also activating the Ability of our Hydreigon-EX.

Now that we’ve gone over the Reshiram/Giratina-EX deck and card inclusions, let’s take a look at the M Sceptile-EX build that also offers a good Night March matchup.

M Sceptile-EX

This is the deck that I chose to play at the South Carolina State Championships, which was especially due to its great matchup against Night March. I wound up playing against some very interesting deck choices, but still piloted this build to an 18th place finish. While this deck doesn’t offer much flexibility in the strategy that it uses, M Sceptile-EX is very consistent and annoying to deal with. It focuses on Mega-evolving during the first turn, through using a Forest of Giant Plants, and then doing 100 damage every turn after that while healing off another M Sceptile-EX. There’s nothing more consistent than just doing 100 damage every turn of the game until all Prizes have been taken.

Similar to the M Sceptile-EX build that I piloted to a 3rd place at Columbia, SC City Championships, this version also utilizes the Pokémon Tool Assault Vest. While it is difficult to be knocked out with 220 HP, Night March can still find a way to do that much damage if all 11 Pokémon are in the discard pile or a Giovanni’s Scheme/Muscle Band are used. To assure that this doesn’t happen, Assault Vest is played to reduce attacks by 40 damage and prolong the life of each M Sceptile-EX. When our attacker isn’t knocked out, all of the damage is inevitably healed through using Jagged Saber with another Sceptile.

Another rarely considered upside to this deck would be the Ancient Trait of our main attacker. M Sceptile-EX has the θ Stop Ancient Trait, which prevents it from being damaged by opposing Abilities, which proved to be very effective against Crobat-based decks. Just another thing to keep in mind while playing this build.

Let’s take a look at some of the card choices for this version of M Sceptile-EX. 

3 Sceptile-EX AOR, 1 Sceptile-EX XY53:

Just doing 100 damage every turn can sometimes turn out to be just short of a knockout, especially when it comes to an opposing Shaymin-EX. Through playing just one promo Sceptile-EX, we can hit for 130 damage and possibly secure the last two Prize cards needed to win the game. It’s also never a bad thing to include an attacker that can stall for a turn, which can be accomplished by the promo Sceptile-EX using Agility.

2-1 Ariados Line, 0 Jirachi XY67, 0 Virizion AOR:

This section of the deck would be considered the non-EX part, which used to be much larger in previous M Sceptile-EX builds. Since this deck plays a copy of Revitalizer, the Ariados line can be slimmed down to a 2-1 line. It still gets out with relative ease and is used effectively to push more damage than the normal 100 every turn.

My previous version of this deck had a copy of the promo Jirachi and the non-EX Virizion attacker, which were taken out. Since Assault Vest can be a great way of stopping Night March, the inclusion of Jirachi just didn’t seem worth it for the updated list. Virizion AOR was previously used to counter any Pokémon-EX hatred, which usually was found in the form of opposing Regice. Since that card isn’t seen as much anymore, this build utilized the extra spot to add in consistency with Mega Turbo.

4 Forest of Giant Plants, 4 Trainers’ Mail, 4 Ultra Ball:

These cards are probably the most important additions to this deck, as they are vital to performing the intended strategy. Getting out a Forest of Giant Plants is vital towards attacking with Jagged Saber on the second turn, which can also be found with the Trainers’ Mail. Ultra Ball is another primary target for the Trainers’ Mail, as it can grab a Hoopa-EX and inevitably be used to evolve quicker or draw extra cards through Shaymin-EX. I would certainly suggest playing the maximum counts for each of these cards, just to assure that every start is as consistent as possible.

1 AZ, 3 Super Scoop Up, 1 Escape Rope:

These are the primary sources of switching that can be found in the deck. Through playing an AZ and multiple Super Scoop Up, we also have the ability to pick up our weaker Pokémon-EX to prevent Prize cards from being taken from them being knocked out. This will inevitably be the strategy for our opponent if a M Sceptile-EX can’t be knocked out in one hit, which is the case for most matchups.

Just one Escape Rope is played in this deck, which would be higher in a perfect world. Since this list is also relatively tight, sacrifices must be made and only one switching card is played.

2 Mega Turbo:

Probably one of my favorited additions to this deck would be the Mega Turbos. They allow for a possibility of using Jagged Saber on the very first turn of the game, although it is rather unlikely. These additions are usually just played to help assure a turn 2 Jagged Saber, which can sometimes be prevented from starting with an undesired Pokémon. Retreating with a grass Energy can be saved through just attaching the Energy with Mega Turbo.


I’d like to thank everyone that reads my articles and finds them helpful towards testing and playing in tournaments. I try to provide decks that give a new perspective on the format, which in this case can provide some help towards solving the Night March problem that has taken over. For the sake of the entire Pokémon community, let’s hope that this deck doesn’t completely dominate any more large-scale tournament series. Good luck to everyone in their upcoming events and thanks for taking the time to read another one of my articles!

-Ryan Sabelhaus <3

[+3] okko


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