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Marc Lutz

Post Lysandre's Trump Card Format

Marc Lutz talks about the upcoming format without Lysandre's Trump Card

06/09/2015 by Marc Lutz

 

Introduction

Starting on June 15th, Lysandre´s Trump Card is going to join the small group of banned cards in the history of the TCG. With Sneasel from Neo Genesis, Slowking also from Neo Genesis and the two promo cards, Birthday´s Pikachu and Ancient Mew, Lysandre´s Trump Card is going to be the 5th card ever to get banned, with also being the first one to get banned by The Pokemon Company international (TPCi), since the other four were banned about a decade ago by Wizards of the Coast (WotC).

 


With Birthday´s Pikachu and Ancient Mew just getting the ban because they were kind of gimmicky promo cards (Mew was just written in a weird language and Birthday´s Pikachu was also not intented to be used competitively considering that its effect of dealing an extra 50 damage, was based on a flip if it was your birthday!) 

On the other Hand Sneasel, Slowking and Lysandre´s Trump Card actually got banned because they were too good and unhealthy for the Metagame.

And I don´t mean unhealthy like trainerlock or lock decks in general which most people consider being unhealthy, I´m talking about cards being either too overpowered or in Lysandre´s Trump Cards case, removing complete winning conditions and the infinite acces to every ressource in your deck.

Sneasel from Neo Genesis got banned because the card was just too overpowered in general. Having no weakness, no retreat costs and a cheap powerful attack that could even be powered up more by using Special Darkness Energy was just to strong in WotC´s opinion, so they banned Sneasel because every other deck became unplayable by not being able to put up a fight against Sneasel decks.

The last cards that got banned thanks to it´s impact on the Metagame was Slowing, also from Neo Genesis. When Slowking was released in Japan its Poké Power allowed its user to flip a coin whenever his or her opponent played a Trainer Card, on heads, the trainer card would be put on top of your opponents deck, and its effect would be negated.The effect itself seems decent, but it would only work if Slowking was your active Pokémon.

And thanks to Slowking´s Attack not being that good, the card was an okay card that wouldn´t go crazy destroying other decks, but with his western release, Slowking became a lot more powerful than intended. Thanks to a mistake while transltaing Slowking, it's effect became completetly overpowered. From now on Slowkling was able to use his Poké Power while sitting on the bench, and on top of that, you were able to use it multiple times on a single Trainer Card, by benching more Slowkings.

So with four Slowkings on your bench you were able to flip four coins with just one of them having to be heads.

 


For most of us the ban of Lysandre´s Trump Card is the first one we've experienced, just because we didn´t play when the other cards were released. So this time we actually get a chance to look back on a card that almost everyone of us used or atleast saw in tournament play and most likely played against. So let´s take a look at the metagame since Lysandre´s Trump Card has been released.

Looking back

Released on November 5th 2015, Lysandre´s Trump Card wasn´t legal for Autumn Regionals in the US. The first actually tournaments with Lysandre´s Trump card were the late european Autumn Regionals.

But I want to start at cities, as they were the first full series of tournaments using Trump Card. The most dominating decks during cities were Yveltal variants, Donphan and Virizion/Genesect, with Seismitoad and fairy decks making it to 4th and 5th.

So with a few exceptions this also was the Metagame for Spring Regionals worldwide – deck wise. When we got Primal Clash, the metagame began to shift in a complete different direction. With the cities meta mainly consisting of heavy hitting decks like Yveltal EX, Donphan and Genesect EX the post Primal Clash Meta formed into a lock based Metagame with a few exceptions. When Acro Bike was released decks like Exeggutor and Seismitoad/Slurpuff started going crazy as they were able to quickly burn through their deck having access to all their resources whenever they wanted to. Another card that helped decks to quickly burn through was Archie´s Ace in the Hole.

The combination of Archie´s and Acro Bike helped Decks like Exeggutor and Flareon gain popularity. As you can see, most of the newly created deck abused the fact that they didn´t have to worry about ressources as they were able to shuffle their whole discard back into their deck, using Lysandre´s Trump Card. So when Reginals were going on, the Metagame had become a Seismitoad versus Anti-Seismitoad Meta with the top four decks being Seismitoad/Slurpuff, Exeggutor, Virizion/Genesect and Flareon.

Yveltal, Donphan and Fairies still saw a decent amount of play (fairies now using M Gardevour EX), but the top finishes were made by Seismitoad, Exeggutor, Virizion/Genesect and Flareon.

As you can see, the previously "fun card" Lysandre´s Trump Card quickly became the director of the metagame with Virizion/Genesect being the only top four deck not to abuse its power. Even though most peoply were complaining about the strength of lock decks, the format was still decent to play. I want to use our german nationals as an example:

 


David Sturm (Flareon)
Niklas Lehnert-Rappel (Metal)
Karl Peters (Seismitoad/Slurpuff)
Fatih Akdemir (M Gardevoir EX)
Ole Stognief (Landorus/Bats)
Robin Schulz (Seismitoad/Slurpuff)
Friedrich L. (Night March)
Markus Jakob (Seismitoad/Bats)

 

As you can see, we actually had some variety in our Top 8 with seven completely different decks. However, when Roaring Skies was released, it was obvious, that something was going to change.

With Shaymin EX and Trainer´s Mail, decks would be able to burn through even faster. Thanks to Lysandre´s trump card they didn´t even have to fear that they would waste their main resources, because they could get them back with Trump Card.

With cards like Acro Bike, Trainer´s Mail and Shaymin EX not being Supporters, you would even be able to burn through your deck after using Lysandre´s Trump Card. When most people thought that Hammers and Lasers from a Seismitoad/Slurpuff deck were annoying, imagine Seismitoad/Shaymin. It´s basically the same deck, but with an even stronger draw engine.

Almost everyone realized that this would just be too strong, so did The Pokémon Company international and announced the ban of Lysanmdre´s Trump card shortly after the first Roaring Skies tournaments took place.

How is the Metagame going to develop?


With Roaring Skies already being legal for US Spring Regionals and a few Nationals worldwide, we already got a taste of the new Format with Lysandre´s Trump Card.

So lets take a look at UK Nationals:

1) Alex Dao (Toad/Shaymin)
2) Oliver Fennelly (Toad/Shaymin)
3) Karl Blake (Trevenant/Shaymin)
4) Jamie Serhan (Trevenant/Shaymin)
5) Michael Cornwall (Lando/Bats)
6) Sam Taylor (Primal Groudon)
7) Jake Walvin (Toad/Shaymin)
8) Josh PoetPearce (VirGen/Toad)

As you can see, Trainerlock + Shaymin decks dominated the first tournaments with Roaring Skies. But what is going to happen when those decks aren´t able to burn through 30 cards per turn? How will they be able to lock their opponent when they can´t use more than four Crushing Hammers or Hypnotoxic Lasers? And the most important question, how will they be able to consistently attack with just four Double Colorless Energies?

The answer is very simple actually – They won´t.

These decks are just unplayable if you´re just going to switch out Lysandre´s Trump Card for any other card, you will have to construct your lists differently. Toad decks will have to include basic energies, they will probably have to run less Shaymin Exs, but the most important thing is going to be:

Ressource management:

Its obvious that you won´t be able to play a Sycamore, multiple Shaymins and/or Acro Bikes/Trainer´s Mail each turn, without decking out. And that´s the problem Trainerlock decks are going to face. You won´t be able to Lockdown your opponent by just playing one Crushing Hammer each turn and save your resources, it´s just not possible. With flipping cards like Super Scoop Up, Crushing Hammer and Hypnotoxic Laser dictating the past month´s metagame, it´s obvious that it´ll change completely. Lysandre´s Trump Card obviously made it possible to play as much of these cards as you wanted, and that is what made Seismitoad EX and Exeggutor so strong.

As long as you didn´t flip three tails with Crushing Hammer you were fine, you could just play Lysandre´s Trump card to get them back and draw them again with Slurpuff, Acro Bike or Empoleon. And this chaining of trainer cards just became even easier with cards like Shaymin EX and Trainer´s Mail. But Lock decks weren´t the only Decks to abuse Lysandre´s Trump Card to its maximum.

With Seismitoad/Slurpuff and Exeggutor dominating the Metagame, people obviously started playing Virizion/Genesect again, and with Virizion/Genesect making a comeback after Donphan decreased in popularity, people started playing Flareon again.

Flareon also got a few additions with the release of Primal Clash. Archie´s Ace in The Hole in combination with Empoleon and Acro Bike made it possible to burn through that many cards that you were able to knock out most Exs in one hit on your second turn. And you didn´t even have to be scared about decking out, because you were able to just play Lysandre´s Trump Card, burn through your Deck again, and still knock out your opponents Pokémon.

So as you can see, after the release of Primal Clash the Metagame was built around discarding everything you have and to burn through your deck as fast as possible, with Virizion/Genesect and Yveltal decks being the exception.

With the release of Shaymin EX and Trainer´s Mail it became even easier to burn through your deck, so banning Lysandre´s Trump Card was the best move the TPCi could have made.

Managing your resources will become important again and players will be punished again for wasting them.

The new metagame

I don´t think that Toad and/or Trevenant will be completetly unplayable, but they won´t be straight decks anymore.

Toad will become a Tech again and Trevenant will be paired with attackers that deal more damage than Shaymin EX or Trevenant itself, because of the fact that you won´t be able to prevent your opponent from attacking you, by just playing four Crushing Hammers.

So let´s take a look at a Tierlist for BCR-ROS without Lysandre´s Trump Card:

Tier 1:

Night March

Rayquaza (Colorless)

Groudon/Wobbuffet

Tier 2:

Yveltal

Landorus/Golbat

Donphan

Trevenant variants

Seismitoad/Garbodor

Seismitoad/Golbat

Tier3:

M Rayquaza EX (Dragon)

Raichu/Crobat

Metal

Manectric/Garbodor/Wobbuffet

 

Night March:

The deck that´s probably going to benefit the most from Lysandre´s Trump Card being banned is Night March.

With its hardest counter (Seismitoad) being weakened and Lysandre´s Trump Card not helping other decks to be able to tech against Night March, this deck will rise in popularity.

Being able to knock out every Pokémon in one hit is obviously very good and Night March doesn´t even have to risk decking out, because it doesn´t need as many pokemon in the discard pile as Flareon does, and Dimension Valley + Mew EX make it even possible to attack for just one basic Energy where Flareon has to be careful to not waste all of its Double Colorless Energies.

M Rayquaza EX (colorless):

Rayquaza might be a deck that has to go through a bunch of resources to set up, but once it sets up, it doesn´t have to burn through them every turn.

Once you set up your first M Rayquaza EX and a few benched Pokémon with Skyfield you´re able to run over your opponents Pokémon with enough time to set up another M Rayquaza EX to be ready if your first one gets knocked out.

Same as Night March, M Rayquaza EX is a deck that has to burn a lot of cards the first one or two turns, but once you get going you will be able to attack without risking to deck out, as long as you keep an eye on your ressources.

Groudon EX/Wobbuffet:

With almost every Deck using Shaymin EX as on of their main drawing engine, Wobbufet becomes very good.

Primal Groudon EX has been a very good card before and it´s just going to rise in popularity.

Being able to knock out every Pokémon with one hit using Gaia Vulcano. No deck is able to prevent you from setting up your Primal Groudon EX, thanks to its Ancient trade that prevents itself from getting targeted by any of your opponents trainers.

And thanks to Mega Trubo it´s even easier to set up your Primal Groudon EX.

Yveltal EX:

This card is probably going to be around until it rotates.

Yveltal has already been a solid choice for tournaments and but it also has some problems.

Even though Yveltal is a solid deck choice it will probably never be the top choice as it is just not good enough to compete with the Tier 1 decks.

Yveltal has already been able to make it to the Top Cut and you won´t have to face autoloss Matchups, but you also won´t be able to play against Autowins.

But if you´re just to scared to play against autolosses, Yveltal might suit you very well.

Landorus/Golbat:

Landorus/Bats has always been a good deck, with one big weakness: Seismitoad.

With the decreasing power of Seismitoad, Landorus/Bats may become an actual top deck that might even be able to make it to Tier 1.

You´re able to draw multiple Prices against Night March and M Rayquaza EX by using Hammerhead and your bats.

It´s also not that difficult to sneak knockouts on benched Shaymins if your opponent plays down to many of them.

The problem for Landorus/Bats will just be the big hitters like M Rayquaza EX or Groudon EX because you don´t really have a way to deal with them. Rayquaza will have to put some Shaymins into play, but it´s also able to knock out every of your Landorus Exs.each turn.

I still think that Landorus/Bats will see increasing play and it´s definatily a deck to keep an eye on.

Donphan:

Pretty much like Landours/Golbat, Donphan is going to see an increased popularity again with Seismitoad getting weaker.

Donphan is able to deal a lot of damage to your oppnents Exs using Spinning Turn and switching into Robo Substitutes to not even let your opponent draw a price card, but a problem that Donphan players are going to face is the strenght of Mega Exs like M Rayquaza EX and Primal Groudon EX.

Another fact that made Donphan so strong was that most decks weren´t able to knock out Donphans that easy.

With M Raquaza EX being able to set up in one turn, and Primal Groudon EX which is able to hide on the bench until it´s fully set up and Nightmarch being so fast, Donphan is going to face some difficulties with setting up Wreck before getting Lysandred and Koed.

Trevenant variants:

I´m not going to talk about every Trevenant variant in detail, because they´re basically the same, atleast strategy wise.

But I want to talk about one variant in detail – Trevenant/Gengar EX.

Since Gengar EX first was released in Phantom Forces, people tried to build decks around its second attack Dark Corridor which leaves your opponent´s Pokémon poisoned and allows you to switch Gengar EX with one of your benched Pokémon.

People tried to build decks around Gengar EX using cards like Robo Substitute and Sigilyph to prevent your opponent from drawing prize cards.

But with everydeck playing multiple copies of Lysandre and VS Seeker this deck quickly turned out to be just a worse version of Donphan, as Donphan was able to hit harder without even being an EX. Donphan also was able to abuse a whole lot of fighting cards like Hawlucha, Fighting Stadium and Strong Energy.

But with Trevenant getting stronger with the release of Wally, Gengar also could see some play, being able to Trainerlock your opponent on the first turn, even when you go first is so powerful that a lot of peple will try to make Trevenant relevant. After it already got powerful with Lysandre´s Trump Card and Shaymin EX people will have to look out for different attackers. Thanks to the Trump Card ban, and Gengar EX is on of those potential attackers that could benefit a lot from banning Lysandre´s Trump Card.

Seismitoad/Garbodor:

Even before Lysandre´s Trump card was released or people started Seismitoad/Slurpuff people played Seismitoad EX.

When Seismitoad EX was first used in a deck as a main attacker it was in Seismitoad/Garbodor.

As soon as Furious Fists was released people realised, that Seismitoad EX was powerful and with Virizion/Genesect dominating the pokemon world Championships 2014 you had to think about something to shut down Virizions Ability Verdant Wind, that´s where Garbodor came into play.

Some players also tried out cards like Reshiram that Virizion/Genesect wasn´t able to knock out without using G-Booster, but this quickly turned out to be not as good of an idea.

But with Virizion/Genesect not being able to deal with Night march and Rayquaza, the worst Matchup for Seismitoad/Garbodor is gone, and since Seismitoad/Slurpuff is destroyed with the ban of Lysandre´s Trump Card, it could be Garbodors time to shine again.

Seismitoad/Crobat:

A different approach to play Seismitoad without having to rely on Lysandre´s Trump Card is Seismitoad/Crobat. With not focusing on the lock part like Seismitoad/Garbodor, the more damage focused version with Crobat could also see some potential play.

Crobat, or spread decks in general, also become a lot more viable with Shaymin Exs sitting on every bench and Lysandre still being around.

Crobat also works great against Night March, as every Pokémon in Night March has a low amount of HP. But Seismitoad/Crobat has some weaknesses that keep it away from being a top tier deck.

The main thing is that it doesn´t have consistent high damage output like Rayquaza, Night March , Groudon and Yveltal. It might seem cool to play down multiple Golbats/Crobats each turn to deal over 100 damage, but that´s just not going to happen. Even if you manage to get your bats into play, you won´t be able to deal more damage after you played them down once. Even if you flip heads on two, three or even four of your Super Scoops Ups, you won´t be able to get more of them into play because you don´t have access to Lysandre´s Trump Card anymore.

As I said before, you will have an easy time against decks that bench multiple Shaymins, but the Top Tier decks are able to onehit your Seismitoad, so you will have to draw your bats every turn, or they will probably outspeed you.

One very important task for Seismitoad/Crobat is resource management.

Every Double Colorless Energy that you have to discard will decrease your power to constantly trainer lock your opponent, every Zubat, Golbat, Crobat and Super Scoop up that you have to discard is damage output that you´re probably going to miss in later stages of the game.

As long as you keep and eye on your ressources and draw the cards you want, Seismitoad/Crobat could be a powerful deck to lock your opponent and deal a decent amount of damage.

M Rayquaza EX (Dragon):

The easiest part to get why M Rayquaza EX is a strong card is to just look at its attack. Five energies might seem a lot at first but its a decent trade in, considering that you will be able to constantly hit for 300 damage. With dragon support cards like Reshiram and Double Dragon Energy paired with Mega Turbo it gets a lot easier to quickly charge up your M Rayquaza EX.

Another thing that makes M Rayquaza EX so attractive is its Ancient Trait "Wild" which reduces the damage done to it by attacks from Grass, Fire, Water and Lightning Pokémon by 20. The card that probably gets into everyones mind is Seismitoad EX which will just be able to hit for 10, or 30 with a muscle band. But if you think about M Rayquaza Exs positive aspects you will quickly realized that they will matter less without Lysandre´s Trump Card in the format.

To charge up M Rayquaza EX as fast as possible you had to burn through your deck as fast as possible, which could backfire horribly without Lysandre´s Trump Card. The second thing is seismitoad, you might be able to reduce the damage done to your M Rayquaza EX, but there won´t be that many Seismitoads anymore. As long as you keep in mind to not discard to many ressources, M Rayquata EX could be a good deck that is able to knock out every EX in one turn to quickly draw six prizes.

Raichu/Crobat:

Raichu/Crobat is a deck that benefits a lot from the release of Roaring Skies and doesn´t suffer under the ban of Lysandre´s Trump Card.

Before Roaring Skies was released Raichu wasn´t played that much as it just saw play when Yveltal EX was a strong deck. As soon as Yveltal became lees important, Raichu wasn´t played anymore, just because of its missing damage. Now, with Skyfield, raichu is able to knock out every EX in one hit, and that becomes even easier when using Golbat and Crobat.

Raichu and Crobat are both non Exs which helps the deck to be able to put up a fight against most EX decks, but still Raichu will probably remain a fun deck to play, without being relevant in tournament play, just because it´s still not fast enought to compete with decks like Night March or M Rayquaza EX, which negates its weakness by using Altaria´s Ability.

Metal:

With most decks using special energies to attack, Aegislash EX could see some potential play.

Metal has already been one of those decks that are very good once they get set up or play against the right matchups, but it was never able to be a top tier deck because it wasn´t able to constantly win against decks with a slightly worse matchup. It´s basically the exact opposite of Yveltal, which has decent Matchups all around, but no autowin or autoloss matchups, where Metal has some Autowins, or atleast very good matchups, but also some very hard matchups that might seem unwinnable in most games.

With Hypnotoxic Laser gone Aegislash EX gets even better. As long as you´re able to switch your Aegislash out four times by using keldeo, or just retreating to a different Aegislash EX, decks that have to use Hypnotoxic Laser to knock out you won´t be able to knock you out anymore.

Another card that helps to win against those decks is Steel Shelter, because your opponent won´t be able to spam infinite Lasers. But as much as Aegislash profits from the ban of Lysandre´s Trump Cards, it´s also a hit in the back. Metal was a very good deck against Seismitoad/Slurpuff, but with Seismitoad/Slurpuff not going to see any play Metal also loses its biggest strength. It´s also not able to compete with the Tier 1 Decks because Night March and M Rayquaza EX are able to attack you without even using special energies, and so is Primal Groudon EX.

Groudon/Wobbufet is also able to shut down Bronzong which slows down Metals set up even more, until one Primal Groudon EX is set up with four basic fighting energies to sweep through Metals attackers.


Manectric/Garbodor/Wobbuffet:

Manectric/Garbodor/Wobbufet is the perfect deck to play in a M Rayquaza EX heavy Metagame.

Shutting down Shaymin Exs Ability with Wobbufet while you set up M Manectrix EX and Garbodor to use Garbodor to prevent Altaria´s Ability while attacking M Rayquaza EX for its weakness is just as good as it gets.

The weakpoint of this strategy is just that you don´t have good matchups against most other decks, but if you expect a lot of M Rayquaza EX decks, or just want to crush some of them without playing for the top cut, go ahaead and play Manectric/Garbodor/Wobbufet.

Conclusion

Some of the relevant decks still remain playable, or get even better thanks to the loss of Lysandre´s Trump Card. On the other hand, decks like Seismitoad and Exeggutor get replaced by Night March. We will have to see if the format gets better without that much lock decks, or if it´ll turn into a quick format of onehits and games that last ten minutes.

I´m excited either way to see how it turns out and how people will adapt to the fact that ressources won´t be infinite anymore. 

 

Marc

[+4] okko


 

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