Experts' corner

Ryan Sabelhaus

"Stop the March" - An in-depth look at a strong deck choice to beat Night March for the World Championships

Ryan takes a look at his favorite counter to the overwhelming amount of Night March decks that were seen at the U.S. National Championships.

07/25/2016 by Ryan Sabelhaus


Hey, 60cards readers! The U.S. National Championships are done and over with, which resulted in a huge upswing of players using Night March (myself included). The eventual Champion even piloted a Night March variant that used Vespiquen to help counter Jolteon-EX and Seismitoad-EX decks. With the largest tournament of the year (and all time) over, every player with an invite is looking forward to the release of Steam Siege. It has been predicted for the longest time that Karen would be released right on cue to save the Pokémon community from a Night March World Champion, as there doesn’t seem to be much that can stop this powerhouse deck. However, recent scans from the Steam Siege set have shown that Karen is NOT getting printed in time for the World Championships.

Without Karen to stop Night March, along with the release of Pokémon Ranger to make Night March even stronger, it’s looking like nothing can get in the way of Pumpkaboo and Joltik for this August. Nearly 38% of players that made D   ay 2 of the U.S. National Championships were piloting a Night March deck, which was BEFORE this deck had an answer to some of its biggest problems. With the addition of Pokémon Ranger, this deck now has an answer to:

1) Jirachi XY67: Once the biggest answer to discarding Double Colorless Energy and slowing down Night March, Jirachi is stopped from becoming immune for a turn after a Pokémon Ranger. This means that Night March isn’t forced to play around awkward situations and can just attack right through this Pokémon.

2) Giratina-EX: A huge problem for the Night March decks was playing against an opponent that could stop Special Energy from coming down. Without DCE’s, this deck can’t function. Giratina-EX can now just attack for 100 damage, while Night March can play down their DCE’s and Dimension Valleys again. It usually only takes one big knockout onto a fully powered Giratina-EX to swing any matchup in Night March’s favor, which won’t be very difficult at all with this new supporter card.

3) Jolteon-EX: This was meant to be the answer to Night March when first shown. Can’t be attacked by Basic Pokémon and can seal up the game if it’s the only Pokémon in play (to avoid the Escape Rope/Lysandre combo). With Pokémon Ranger being printed, Jolteon-EX will see a huge decrease in play.

4) Seismitoad-EX: With Waterbox showing great performances at U.S. Nationals, along with many other Nationals around the World, Quaking Punch has come back with some real power behind it. Although this deck can still take on Night March through just Item-locking an opponent, they can now realistically get beaten from an opponent that can chain playing Pokémon Ranger one after another. The number of players feeling confident in Seismitoad-EX will certainly decrease leading up to Worlds, unless it can find a way to beat Night March with a Pokémon Ranger included.

So with all of this power and new card additions to help, what can possibly stop Night March at the World Championships this year? In my mind, the best answer would be a consistent Trevenant BREAK deck. Through my tournament experience at Georgia Regionals and the National Championships with Night March, my worst fear was playing against a Trevenant BREAK deck. If this deck was able to hit a first turn Trevenant and shut down my Item cards, there was almost no way that I could win. Two of the players that made it to the Top 8 of the U.S. National Championships were piloting a Trevenant BREAK deck and ran through opponents that were using Night March. Following off of their success, I began testing with Trevenant until I found a list that I felt confident playing against Night March. Let’s take a look at the list!

Trevenant BREAK (World Championships)

This list is very similar to the builds of Michael Bergerac and Jamie DePamphilis for the U.S. Nationals Top 8. They both seem to have the right idea when it comes to playing Trevenant, which involves playing a multitude of cards that cause disruption, along with no excess Pokémon to assure highest chances of getting the first turn Wally. Disruption was done in the form of either hand disruption or Energy disruption, which both can have extremely detrimental effects on an opponent’s setup.

Forcing an opponent to shuffle their hand back into the deck and draw a lower amount of cards under Item-lock is the main strategy incorporated with Trevenant nowadays. The thought behind this strategy is that eventually an opponent will just draw poorly and won’t be able to take knockouts on the attackers in front of them. With VS Seeker being such an important card for decks that revolve around Battle Compressor (such as Night March and Vespiquen), they have elected to run less supporter cards to use for later in the game through their Items. Trevenant capitalizes on this strategy through playing multiple Red Cards and N’s to use with the ability Forest’s Curse. With so many Item cards being played in these decks and not very many supporters, an almost unplayable hand could be the result of every Red Card or N used.

Now that we’ve gone over the Basic premise behind this deck, let’s look at some of the finer details in this list, along with reasoning behind some card inclusions.

3 Wally, 4 Trainers’ Mail:

Such high counts of these cards should give a relatively large probability of getting out the first turn Wally onto a Phantump. With the biggest priority of this deck being to shut down Item cards as quickly as possible, it only makes sense to play more cards to help find the Wally. These two cards become much easier to find when Ultra Ball and Shaymin-EX come into the mixture.

4 Crushing Hammer, 2 Team Flare Grunt:

The large amount of Energy disruption is another thing that makes this deck very enticing to play. While Trevenant BREAK aims to wear down an enemy’s board by spreading damage over multiple turns, these disruption cards help to slow down an opponent and force them to commit extra Energy onto attackers that might be knocked out soon. Over the course of the game, the overall Item-lock and Energy disruption usually leads to a turn of missing an Energy attachment, which can be game-breaking. Another positive to these cards is that they are not situational towards Special Energy cards, like Enhanced Hammer, and can be used on any Energy that is attached.

3 Red Card, 1 Delinquent:

After Christian Ortiz first showed off the Trevenant BREAK deck with multiple copies of Red Card during Regionals, the trend started shifting towards every Trevenant deck playing this sort of hand disruption. With both players that made the Top 8 of U.S. Nationals playing at least 2 copies of Red Card, it has proven to be an extremely effective card in Trevenant decks. Limiting an opponent to just four cards while also under Item-lock can shut down any strategy that they are trying to perform. Almost every opponent will struggle to find their limited number of supporter cards, which also includes the Night March decks that play Lysandre and Hex Maniac to get around Trevenant’s ability. Less supporters being played will lead to slower setups, which means that each attacker will live longer and spread more damage. Delinquent is the ultimate form of shutting down an opponent that has setup nicely at some point of the game. After an opponent goes through the process of playing all the cards in their hand, they are usually left with a small amount that can be discarded through the use of Delinquent. It is most appropriate to use this card when an opponent has 3 or less cards in hand to discard almost all chances of playing supporters on their following turn.

2 Head Ringer, 3 Red Card, 2 N:

I realize that I’ve already talked a little bit about Red Card, but this section is pertaining to the options for getting around Shaymin-EX looping. If an opponent is attempting to just constantly bounce a Shaymin-EX to their hand and avoid being knocked out, playing a Head Ringer onto a benched Shaymin-EX will stop that idea quickly. The use of a Red Card to shuffle back in the Double Colorless Energy and Shaymin-EX is another good solution that can stop the process of Shaymin-EX looping, which also applies towards playing an N. The Expanded lists relied on using a Mewtwo-EX to just Psydrive through an opposing Shaymin-EX, which has now shifted towards just disrupting the looping process. Overall, this deck doesn’t seem to struggle against an opponent that is forced to use this strategy, as they usually won’t draw back into the necessary pieces while under Item-lock.


With the new set coming around and no Karen to be seen, the Pokémon community will have to look for answers to the Night March epidemic that has occurred. Although Trevenant BREAK may not be the best deck in the format with overall great matchups across the board, it can guarantee a consistent Item-lock that occurs hand-in-hand with Energy disruption and hand disruption. Decks that are extremely similar to the list above have also just made the Top 8 of the largest Pokémon tournament in the history of the game, so I’d certainly say that they are more than qualified in the tournament experience department. If you are playing in the World Championships that are coming up this August and still haven’t found an answer that can consistently beat Night March, I would recommend that you try out this list for some games.

With the addition of Pokémon Ranger to some of the current decks in the format, Seismitoad-EX is also going to decrease in play. With Waterbox probably seeing a decline from this card coming out, Trevenant loses a terrible matchup that it didn’t want to see. In my opinion, it seems like the perfect opportunity for Trevenant to flourish and take over the format that has been dominated by Night March variants. Only time will tell if this actually occurs, along with the entire set of Steam Siege to be revealed and tested with. Some new decks may come around that can easily counter Night March or Trevenant, which will completely shake up the ever-changing format that is still completely lost after the U.S. National Championships. Make sure to keep an open mind until the final release of Steam Siege and don’t just decide on a deck without extensive testing of the matchups that you expect to see! This is the final push up towards the biggest event of the year, so don’t let this moment slip away from laziness.

That’s all I’ve got for you all today in this short article! Just some of my thoughts on the current metagame, along with the best counter to beating Night March in my opinion. I’ll be sure to test more extensively in the upcoming weeks, especially with the final release of Steam Siege. Hopefully everyone had fun at their National Championships and I can’t wait to see everybody that is flying out to San Francisco. If you have any questions or thoughts about the article, I’ll gladly answer anything that you shoot my way. Thanks for reading, everybody!

-Ryan Sabelhaus <3

[+11] okko


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