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Pikachu's Hideout

Four Non-Standard Ideas to BREAK the Standard Format

A look at the Standard format with four somewhat unique deck ideas to test for your upcoming tournaments!

12/02/2015 by Pikachu's Hideout

What's good, 60cards readers? With Regional Championships underway in a lot of countries and City Championships right around the corner in North America, everyone's focus is finally shifting toward the Standard format. However, given that so many of the big events this season have been in Expanded, some players are having a hard time coming up with interesting ideas for Standard decks. The purpose of this article is to explore a handful of more unique and innovative Standard deck ideas. These lists range from significantly tested to mostly theoretical, but if you're still at a loss for inspiration in the Standard format, something here is likely to catch your interest. Let's get started.

A Couple BREAKout Techs

There are two new techs that just entered the format which not only fit comfortably into every deck, but also probably belong in most every deck. These techs have powerful interactions with most of the expected Standard metagame, so if you're building any Standard deck, be sure to consider them.

Jirachi XY67

With virtually every deck in the format relying on Special Energy, a well-timed Jirachi can dramatically change games. Players have already caught on to the obvious implication of this card: a hard counter to decks relying solely on Special Energy – most notably Seismitoad/Giratina – and a way to break a lock to get set up. While this is certainly a valid use of this card, Jirachi brings a lot more to the table.

There are a handful of Standard decks right now relying on turbo engines with four Double Colorless Energy and only a handful of Basic Energy – Mega Rayquaza, Night March, and Vespiquen are the prominent examples. Jirachi can be a stellar tech against these decks, preying on their low Energy count. At worst, they're forced to Lysandre around the Jirachi and take a KO on one of your Benched Pokémon (these decks often don't run the Escape Rope necessary to KO a Jirachi who's just used Stardust) and at best, they miss an attack entirely, unable to find the necessary Energy and means to get Jirachi out of the way. If you manage your Bench properly, it's possible to force grind games where you slowly run them out of Special Energy altogether and lock them out of the game. Sure, that's easier said than done, but it's still a possibility that Jirachi affords you that wouldn't otherwise have – and all for the cost of just one deck slot.

Even against decks that are more conservatively built, Jirachi can enable you to catch up if your opponent gets a faster start. A Stardust coupled with some disruption, like a Hex Maniac, Judge, or Lysandre, could end your opponent's next turn before it even starts, giving you an opening to seize tempo in the game. And returning to the example of low-Energy turbo decks, Jirachi can be the MVP of the mirror match too. These games are so often decided by Energy attachments rather than Prizes and the ability to discard a valuable Special Energy for just a Basic Energy of your own is backbreaking, especially if you deny a KO in the process.

Special Energy use shows no sign of stopping in Standard, so every deck should seriously consider a Jirachi. If you're running a deck particularly vulnerable to certain decks like Seismitoad or Night March, you might even want to consider two. 

Parallel City

This is arguably an even more splashable card than Jirachi. All it requires is that you can play a Stadium, but if it's timed well, it can decide the match. Parallel City can come in handy with its damage-reducing effect, but make no mistake: the star of the show here is the Bench-limiting side of the card. Cutting your opponent's Bench to three can be game-changing. Obviously it's particularly noteworthy against Sky Field decks, where you could force them to discard up to five Benched Pokémon at once. Against a Mega Rayquaza or Raichu deck, that'll leave them scrambling to rebuild and get their damage output back up. Those decks will definitely be aware of and prepared for Parallel City (expect extra copies of Hoopa-EX and Sacred Ash) but a smart Hex Maniac or Judge alongside Parallel City could set them back at least one turn.

It can also work against non-Sky Field-dependent decks. There will certainly be plenty of Support Pokémon like Bronzong PHF, Zoroark BKT, and Smeargle BKT around and against some setup decks, even a Bench of three can be hard to work with. For example, in the next section we'll take a look at an updated Tyrantrum/Giratina/Bronzong list. This deck relies on getting two Bronzong and a Smeargle into play so it can power up back-to-back attacks from Tyrantrum-EX while using Smeargle's Second Coat Ability to recycle Fighting Energy to help power Dragon Impact. Against this deck, Parallel City forces some difficult decisions. Do you discard a Bronzong? The lone Smeargle? A backup attacker? Parallel City can create tough situations with difficult decisions like that, which easily justifies its inclusion in decks.

But an equally powerful use of Parallel City is to intentionally limit your own Bench, discarding Shaymin-EX and depriving your opponent of ways to steal the game. Imagine a Night March mirror where you use your own Shaymin to set up only to discard them from play a couple turns later, while your opponent still has theirs on the field. Or consider a late-game Parallel City in Vespiquen, where it can potentially discard two Stage 1 Pokémon to add 40 damage to Bee Revenge to make one last push over a bulky Mega Pokémon and close out a game. Clearly Parallel City has offensive, as well as defensive applications, and including a copy in your deck gives you access to a whole new range of plays.

Remember: you can't play down a Stadium if there's another Stadium in play with the same name. This means that if your opponent controls a Parallel City, you can't play down your own – even if you're playing it in the opposite direction. (This might seem obvious, but some players overlook this fact!) This means that "Parallel City wars" can become a factor in games, where you and your opponent vie to get the first copy into play. For instance, if you don't want your opponent to force you to discard your second Bronzong or you really need to Lysandre a Shaymin-EX to win the game, you can play your own Parallel City to prevent your opponent from using their own to mess up your gameplan. Sure, they can counter your copy with another Stadium and then play their Parallel City a turn later, but that one turn could very well be deciding. (Besides, they might end up missing a Stadium or discarding their Parallel City – especially with how Sycamore-reliant the Standard format is.)

Parallel City is looking to be one of the defining cards of the upcoming format. (It may be telling that Parallel City is even the Cities promo!) Be sure to spend some time thinking over how the card interacts with your deck, consider playing it, and definitely expect to see it being used against you!

"Old Faithful" – A Safe Play for an Unknown Metagame

The purpose of this article is to introduce a handful of somewhat unconventional and innovative deck ideas, but if you've got a tournament coming up soon and you're not comfortable running one of those decks against an uncertain field, or you simply don't have time to test them, it's worth taking a quick look at one of the safest decks you could play. Tyrantrum/Giratina/Bronzong is powerful and versatile and it gains a fair bit from BREAKthrough, making it a very dependable choice if you're going into a tournament blind.

This deck has a lot going for it right now. It has a heavy hitter in Tyrantrum, a lock strategy in Giratina, and the freedom to run a number of different tech attackers because of Bronzong's quick acceleration. With the addition of Smeargle, it's even possible to power up a Tyrantrum-EX without relying on Double Dragon Energy, which has the twofold benefit of saving those Energy for Giratina and playing around Jirachi. This deck is somewhat vulnerable to Stardust, but having the ability to Metal Links some Metal Energy onto a Tyrantrum and then swap a Metal for a Fighting with Second Coat can at least keep Jirachi at bay for a bit. For good measure, it helps to splash in an auxiliary attacker that relies totally on Metals. This particular list opts for Heatran to force seven-Prize games, but Dialga-EX, Aegislash-EX, and Lugia-EX are all decent alternatives.

Battle Compressor fits perfectly in this deck. Obviously you want easy access to Energy in your discard to make use of Bronzong and the heavy Compressor count also facilitates a Supporter toolbox. For instance, an opening hand with a Compressor and VS Seeker lets you choose between Professor Sycamore and Pokémon Fan Club to set up, and if you've already used a Shaymin or two to get your setup rolling, you can opt for a Hex Maniac to slow down your opponent. Later in the game, Supporters like AZ and Ace Trainer really shine, and the heavy Battle Compressor line ensures that they're always within reach.

Speaking of Ace Trainer, preliminary testing suggests that Judge is somewhat underwhelming. With so many decks running heavy counts of Shaymin-EX and Item-draw, as well as Battle Compressor to thin, forcing your opponent's hand size to four just isn't as disruptive as it used to be. It still has its place in the format, but in a slower deck like this, Ace Trainer just puts in more work. It's so easy to give up an early Prize, slam an Ace Trainer, and then overrun your opponent with one of your big Dragons. A hand of three may not be much smaller than a hand of four, but the fact that you also get a fresh six makes Ace Trainer well worth the inclusion. And, hey, if you have an early lead and it's dead, just Battle Compressor it away!

On the other hand, Giovanni's Scheme works wonders. More often than not, it will serve as a searchable Muscle Band to allow Tyrantrum-EX to hit 210, but coupled with Muscle Band, it lets Dragon Impact do a huge 230 to OHKO Pokémon like Mega Sceptile and Mega Rayquaza. There are a lot of situations where the extra damage from this card comes up and again, the devotion to Battle Compressor makes it readily accessible, so it's well worth the deck slot.

This list runs a Parallel City largely for defense against an opponent's own Parallel City (you do have a number of important Bench-sitters, after all), but it's worth noting that, thanks to Giratina, you can lock it in play and make it very disruptive for your opponent as well. Mega Rayquaza decks basically lose as soon as you play Sky Field and get a Chaos Wheel off, for instance, and your opponent will struggle in the mirror under a restricted Bench, especially if you can drop Hex Maniac into the mix. Again, this is a deck with a ton of options, and having the ability to lock such a powerful Stadium is just one of the many power plays you can pull off.

There's some room for adjustment in this list. Hoopa-EX can be good to set up and works well if you're already running Fan Club. Xerosic or Enhanced Hammer can really seal the deal against Special Energy-dependent decks. And of course, an extra Switch or two is always good. It can be hard to tech out a deck if you're going into an undefined metagame, but it can still be good to show up early to your event and see if you can do a bit of last-minute scouting, especially if attendance is somewhat low. Just remember to bring spare cards with you and be prepared to make last-minute changes to your deck list.

Four Offbeat Deck Ideas

Now we're going to get into the heart of this article. By now you've probably read about the traditional decks in Standard. You're probably already familiar with the latest Night March list and know how to build a working Magnezone/Raikou deck. This part of the article seeks to bring new ideas to the table, to show you concepts you might not have tested before. These decks might not all be ready to break the format right out of the box, but they're solid concepts, and if you put the time into refining these ideas, you very well might find success in your upcoming City Championships. Let's just get to the point.

Standing In the Hive

Of the next four ideas, this one is definitely the most fine-tuned. Vespiquen is certainly nothing new to the Standard format. In fact, it's easily one of the most-discussed decks right now. However, a lot of the lists available are focusing on Eeveelutions. While that's not a bad way to go, it's been said before that Vespiquen is all about flexibility and this deck showcases a rather different approach to the deck.

While this particular variant still focuses on Vespiquen as the primary attacker, we have a second, very solid backup attacker in the form of Zoroark BKT. In a format where almost every deck relies on Shaymin-EX to set up, Benches get big quickly and Mind Jack starts hitting for very respectable amounts of damage. With just three Pokémon on your opponent's Bench, Mind Jack hits for a respectable 100 damage for just a DCE – a big threat in the early stages of the game, and should your opponent overextend and fill their Bench on turn one, Mind Jack with a Muscle Band hits the magic 180. For a lot of decks, playing around Zoroark's power involves hindering their own setup, giving Vespiquen ample time to set up the sweep.

Meanwhile, in place of the Flareon-Blacksmith engine, this version opts for Bronzong. Metal Links is a bit of a tricky substitute for Blacksmith because there's almost no chance of getting two Bronzong online in a single game. It's too easy to discard a piece with Sycamore and honestly, most of the time you can't afford to have both Bronzong in play instead of powering up Bee Revenge. What this means is that you're limited to just one extra Energy attachment per turn, but in exchange, you get a more consistent source of acceleration throughout the game. With an early Bronzong, it's easy to plan ahead and attach a DCE to your Active while putting a Metal on a Benched attacker with Metal Links, setting you up for next turn, where a second Metal Links, a Metal Energy, or another DCE (preferably on a different Pokémon – don't want to waste Energy!) gets you another attack.

A major benefit to this is that it keeps your Supporter for the turn free, letting you take advantage of a Sycamore to dig deeper and further your plays, or any number of tech Supporters that can throw off your opponent. This particular list opts for Giovanni's Scheme, for heightened damage output, and Judge for disruption, but Hex Maniac and Xerosic are also great options. Pulling a surprise KO out of nowhere, or coupling a KO with some disruption can create incredible advantage for you and Bronzong makes it easier to pull off those plays since your VS Seekers won't be stretched quite as thin on Blacksmith drops.

It's worth noting the (obvious) synergy between Bronzong and Zoroark. Bronzong's biggest drawback is its clunky Retreat Cost of three, and past lists have run AZ to mitigate that. This is obviously not ideal since AZ is a card you'd probably otherwise not want to run, but it was a necessary evil to enable the Bronzong engine. Now, however, since you're already running Zoroark as a backup attacker, it's easy to include a couple of Float Stones to gain access to the classic "Rush In-Retreat" combo, giving the deck more mobility. Even if you don't have Zoroark in play, you can still stick a Float Stone onto Bronzong to prevent it from being a Lysandre liability. BREAKthrough has clearly given Vespiquen a whole new world of options to consider.

We've discussed the main idea of this deck, but let's get into the noteworthy card choices now.

4 Shaymin-EX: Running a full four copies of Shaymin gives you plenty of access to Set Up to, well, set up more quickly. Now that Judge is in the format, having a full playset of this card helps to ensure that you won't be stuck dead-drawing once your hand size is cut down to four. This prevents you from losing the game before you even get your first turn and also lets you use Judge yourself, either as disruption or shuffle-draw, and have a very good chance of drawing out of it. Though Shaymin is always something of a liability on the Bench, with Parallel City in the format, we now have the freedom to Set Up without fear.

2 Bronzor PHF: Just as a quick note, we're sticking with the Phantom Forces Bronzor over the new BREAKthrough one. Even though we have Float Stone to facilitate free Retreat, it's still ideal to not run any Basics that can't easily be Retreated with a Basic Energy, lest we miss the turn-two attack.

1-1 Ariados: This tech is exclusively a response to Focus Sash. If Lucario/Crobat or Mienshao decks are part of your metagame, Poisonous Nest is all that stands between you and a savage loss. That said, if those decks are a non-factor, this line can easily be replaced with something else. A second Jirachi could be good, as could a 1-1 line of Octillery or Mismagius.

3 Professor Sycamore: There's really not a desperate need for four. With the Battle Compressor/VS Seeker engine and four Shaymin-EX, drawpower should always be within reach, allowing you to cut corners here and there.

1 Giovanni's Scheme: This Vespiquen deck really emphasizes early aggression and Giovanni contributes toward that goal. Pulling that extra 20 out of nowhere often means the difference between a KO and a whiff in the earlier phases of the game, especially against Mega Manectric. The drawing effect of Giovanni might only come up once every ten games, but it's here if you need it and it also somewhat justifies cutting the fourth Sycamore.

1 Judge: Admittedly, it would feel so much better if this were an N, but in Standard, we have to make the most of what we have. Judge can still be functional disruption and if you've got a hand with three Vespiquen, Battle Compressor, and VS Seeker, then Judge can bail you out as a shuffle-draw Supporter too.

3 Muscle Band: Again, early aggression. Three Muscle Band helps to ensure you don't fall short in the earlier stages of the game.

1 Super Rod: Should this be a Sacred Ash? In Standard, we don't have access to Flareon PLF as an additional Vengeance-style attacker, meaning we very well might need another Vespiquen to get the job done. With Zoroark as a backup that can easily KO a Shaymin-EX most of the time, we probably can get by with only shuffling in three Pokémon, but Sacred Ash is obviously another option. You almost certainly need one or the other.

1 Parallel City: This card is simply incredible here. Playing it with the blue side facing you allows it to function as a makeshift Muscle Band, discarding two of your Pokémon and fueling Bee Revenge. It has the added bonus of dumping your used Shaymin-EX, thereby forcing your opponent to push through a swarm of Vespiquen to win the game. With Bronzong and Zoroark in the deck, it can be tricky to manage the restricted Bench size, so be sure to be careful when playing this card.

There are some other cards we can consider for this deck as well. Though Bronzong is a very good card, Vespiquen/Zoroark can also work with Eeveelutions instead. If you're going into a metagame where Mega Sceptile is a serious threat, it's easy to swap out 2-2 Bronzong and three Metal for 2-2 Flareon and three Fire (maybe cutting a Float Stone for Blacksmith). This deck can hit 220 damage with a little bit of work, but Flareon makes the matchup a near autowin for you. Should Mega Sceptile be prevalent enough to push Fighting decks out of contention, the 1-1 Ariados could then become something like a third Eevee and a Jolteon. You could also switch up the Supporter line. Xerosic is another line of defense against Focus Sash, should that be necessary, and Hex Maniac is now tried and true. Teammates could also be a great inclusion. Vespiquen has a ton of options, and that's a big part of the reason it's a top-tier deck right now.

Turbo Coat!

Okay, here's where things start to get a bit weird. We've now noted the powerful synergy between Bronzong and Smeargle, but the Painter Pokémon can also be used to give Mega Manectric a boost. Since Mega Manectric decks typically run two different Energy types, sometimes Mega Manectric players find themselves in the unenviable position of being forced to put an incompatible Energy to one of their Pokémon, be it attaching a Water to their Manectric-EX or Turbo Bolting two Lightning onto an Articuno. Smeargle smooths over those awkward situations, its Second Coat Ability handily swapping the misplaced Energy for the correct one, so long as you can just get one into the discard pile. This makes the deck more consistent and helps it run better throughout the whole game.

Okay, now what if we took that idea another step? With Smeargle to make sure the right Energy types always end up where they need to be, we suddenly have the ability to cram a third Energy type into Mega Manectric decks, opening up a whole new world of plays. There's definitely potential in a Mega Manectric toolbox deck, where you use Turbo Bolt to power up a host of different attackers so you always have a response for what your opponent throws at you, but you can take a different approach to the Turbo Bolt/Second Coat combo too...

This deck aims to win games somewhat illegitimately by dragging up weak Pokémon on your opponent's Bench and taking two-Prize swings with Mega Manectric and Articuno. Turbo Bolt on Shaymin-EX is obviously the ideal, as you get two Prizes and two more Energy in play, but you can also target down small Basics with Articuno for quick Tri-Edge Prizes. This gives you options to steal games in matchups where Mega Manectric is otherwise at a disadvantage and it gives you more win conditions than the standard Mega Manectric list.

Let's take a look at the highlights.

2-2 Pyroar PHF: Flare Command is an incredibly underrated Ability, but it ties the deck together, giving you access to anything on your opponent's Bench at virtually any point of the game. One Turbo Bolt onto a Pyroar will set up two successive Flare Commands and with Smeargle, you don't even need to Turbo Bolt Fire Energy onto the Pyroar right away.

2 Articuno ROS 17: Articuno is a Mega Manectric staple, netting you easy bonus Prizes with its Δ Plus Ancient Trait. Articuno's primary purpose in this deck is to KO tiny Basics (Joltik, Bronzor, Combee, etc.) for two Prizes, but it's also good to finish off a Pokémon-EX softened up by Turbo Bolt to the tune of three Prizes.

4 Trainers' Mail, 3 Acro Bike: The "Speed Draw" engine is a perfect fit in this deck, giving you plenty of consistency in a deck that relies so heavily on a turn-two Turbo Bolt. It's especially good in this variant as it lets you get an early Litleo into play and gives you quicker access to Battle Compressor which, needless to say, plays an especially big role in this particular variant.

1 Switch, 1 Escape Rope: This is a pretty tight count on switching cards, honestly. It's justified in that you mostly just need to make sure Mega Manectric is Active by turn two, at which point you can rely heavily on its free Retreat. Though Articuno has a Retreat Cost of two, if you're attacking with it, you won't typically want to switch it out anyway. A sitting Pyroar can be a Lysandre liability (and an argument for another Switch or an AZ), but you can usually make do if you're forced to hard-Retreat it.

2 Target Whistle: Alongside Pyroar, this is the other big enabler of the "take cheap Prizes and steal the game" strategy. Target Whistle turns even a single discarded Shaymin into a game-changing liability for your opponent and with Articuno in the deck, you can play a similar game with little non-EX Basics. Honestly, you should probably consider running a third.

2 Rough Seas: This is another weirder decision. We're not really aiming for drawn out, grindy games, so Rough Seas loses a lot of its appeal. Because of that, we don't really need three or four copies. The main purpose of Rough Seas in this deck is to serve as a counter-Stadium. One way an opponent could play around this deck is by using Parallel City to restrict their own Bench to three, thereby removing easy targets and blocking Target Whistle. Rough Seas lets us counter that so our Target Whistles go off unobstructed. That said, we could even take it a step further by running Sky Field instead. This basically ensures that the opponent will always have a Bench spot for Target Whistle, as it's next to impossible to put eight Pokémon down without one of them being susceptible to either Turbo Bolt or Tri-Edge.

2 Fire Energy: This rather low count is justified entirely by Smeargle, as you only ever really need a single Fire Energy for the deck to work. Here's the concept: Turbo Bolt any two Energy onto Pyroar. Then when you're ready, use Second Coat to swap one of those Energy for a Fire and use it to Flare Command. Then you can subsequently use Second Coat once more to place that same Fire back onto Pyroar and Flare Command once again. Obviously we run the second Fire as insurance against bad Prizes.

This is a bit of an odd take on Mega Manectric, but it works perfectly to exploit a big opening in the current format. Give this concept a try. Pyroar PHF is a very underrated card and the Mega Manectric/Smeargle engine has a lot of potential.

Bring the Nois

With the release of its new BREAK Evolution, Noivern FFI is starting to show some real promise. The card has seen some fringe play in the past as something of a "Bad Deck Monday"-style gimmick deck, but now Noivern just might have what it takes to BREAK into the competitive scene.

In the past, Noivern decks have worked as spread decks, using Meowstic FLF to move all the damage counters around to take late-game KOs via Ear Influence. This list abandons that concept for something a little more focused. Noivern's Boomburst attack spreads 30 across all of your opponent's Pokémon, while Noivern BREAK's Synchro Woofer does 150 damage if you can match hand sizes with your opponent. Those two attacks in succession deal 180 damage to any one Pokémon. Thus, the basic combo is to get off a Boomburst, BREAK Evolve, play Judge, and swing for a KO on a Pokémon-EX. If your opponent is left without a way to respond to Noivern BREAK, they risk losing another Pokémon to Synchro Woofer next turn. After all, their whole board was softened up by Boomburst.

This deck comes with a backup plan too. With Jolteon in play, Noivern becomes Lightning-type (but Noivern BREAK doesn't – keep that in mind!). With Wide Lens and Electric Effect in play, Boomburst does 60 damage to each Lightning-Weak Pokémon, and this format happens to have one particular Lightning-Weak Pokémon featured prominently in virtually every deck...

So, if your opponent ever gets two Shaymin-EX into play, one quick Boomburst leaves them both in the danger zone and if your opponent doesn't immediately respond, they're open to another Boomburst for four Prizes, and like the Mega Manectric deck we just discussed, this deck runs a couple Target Whistles to create such openings. Now, your opponent could counter that play in a number of ways. They could Sky Return one Shaymin, for instance, or play an AZ to scoop one up. But defensive plays like that still leave your opponent a step behind in the game, especially because they make it less likely that your opponent will be able to KO a Noivern.

And on that note, let's discuss the last big aspect of this deck: Noivern's Echolocation Ability is key to your success. Spreading damage and setting up big KOs is all well and good, but the reason this deck has a chance to compete at all is Noivern's Ability to refuse to be Knocked Out. Admittedly, the ubiquity of Hex Maniac weakens Echolocation somewhat, but still, most decks will find themselves unable to string together more than one or two Hex Maniac-assisted KOs in any given game, especially since this deck relies so much on repeatedly playing Judge, so your opponent will have more pressure to use their VS Seekers to draw new hands. Every time your opponent is forced to play into Echolocation, they're playing into a coin flip, and losing a couple of those flips can put them too far behind in the Prize trade to keep up.

So now that we've discussed the basics, let's break down this list a bit.

4 Noibat BKT 132, 4 Noivern FFI, 3 Noivern BREAK: This is the lifeblood of the deck. Noivern and its BREAK Evolution are the only attackers here and as such, it's important to run a bunch. Three Noivern BREAK is sufficient since the deck sometimes needs to attack specifically with Noivern FFI (for the aforementioned Jolteon combo). We also run a Super Rod to recycle part of this line.

3 Judge: Matching hand sizes is key to making Synchro Woofer work right. With VS Seeker, two Judge might get the job done, but the third copy makes it easier to find it early in the game, allowing you to play Judge multiple times over the course of the game, repeatedly keeping your opponent off-balance.

4 Trainers' Mail, 3 Shaymin-EX, 3 Sky Field, 4 Ultra Ball, 2 Level Ball: This deck relies on getting multiple Evolutions into play and one of the main attackers is a quasi-Stage 2. We also need to attach an Energy every turn to keep up. This means that we can't miss a beat setting up, so we run a heavy count of consistency Items. These also work well with Judge, as we have a greater chance of drawing into live cards after we cut our own hand size to four.

2 Target Whistle, 2 Wide Lens: These cards enable our spooky "steal a bunch of Prizes" Plan B with Jolteon. As they're not crucial to the deck's performance, we only run a couple of each. We have Trainers' Mail to help dig for them anyway.

1 Super Rod: Yet again, Sacred Ash might be the better choice here. Super Rod works with the deck's reliance on manual Energy attachments, however, as discarding three or four Basic Energy off a bad Sycamore can be devastating.

This deck has a glaring weakness in its lack of Energy acceleration. It's very dependent upon manual Energy attachments and missing just one, or having a couple Noivern Knocked Out back-to-back can basically shut you down. While this list provided was something of a "bare bones" approach, it's probably possible to work around that deficit. If you can squeeze in a small Bronzong line and a Smeargle, you could change up the Basic Energy to a 2/2/2 split of Metal/Darkness/Psychic and cram in a Battle Compressor or two to smooth everything over. This idea is untested, but a potential change could be something like this:

-1 Eevee
-1 Jolteon
-1 Noivern BREAK
-1 Jirachi
-1 Judge
+2 Bronzor
+1 Bronzong
+1 Smeargle
+1 Battle Compressor

Ideally we'd fit an extra Bronzong and Compressor in there, but space truly is tight. Of course, this idea might be more trouble than it's worth. It may be more worthwhile to just stick with the streamlined list and take the bad beats as they come. Regardless, Noivern may be one of the big sleeper cards of the current Standard format and it's bound to find some success in Cities at some point.

Vanishing Damage

Mega Mewtwo decks have been discussed recently, but this is a bit of a different take on the concept. The main attack here is Mewtwo-EX's Damage Change rather than Mega Mewtwo's Vanishing Strike. The idea here is that Mega Mewtwo is pretty hard to OHKO and against any opponent incapable of one-shotting it, Mega Mewtwo can just slide all of its damage onto the Defending Pokémon. Obviously the deck doesn't do much against Night March but suck and die, but against the field at large, it's a real contender. Let's take a look.

This deck functions as something of a makeshift lock deck in that it aims to set up one or two unbreakable Mewtwo and put the opponent in a position where they can't afford to attack it. However, if they ignore Mega Mewtwo, it can eventually build up enough Energy to Vanishing Strike repeatedly and sweep that way. Again, Vanishing Strike isn't the focal point of the deck, but since you're running Mega Mewtwo X anyway, might as well build the deck around it as well. This is a somewhat simpler deck than the others, so let's just break down the card choices.

3 Landorusm FFI: Landorus serves as a means, alongside Mega Turbo, to spit Energy into play and get Mewtwo up and running a little bit faster. It's convenient in that in can accelerate Psychic Energy as well as Fighting. Most of the time you'll only want to play one in a game, but it's an ideal starter and occasionally a second copy comes up, so we'll run three.

1 Smeargle BKT: Since this deck relies on two different Energy types, once again, Smeargle shines. This card works around the potential awkwardness of the respective Energy costs of Mewtwo-EX and its Mega.

1 Korrina: Korrina is a great way to search Items, justifying the low count of some key cards. Skyla is also a good fit here, but Korrina got the nod since it can grab a Landorus.

1 AZ: This is pretty much here to move Lysandre targets off the board. Once you've got your Mewtwo setup going, you want to make sure your opponent doesn't have any avenues to steal the game.

4 Trainers' Mail: This gives the deck a little extra speed and consistency and, alongside Korrina, helps dig for important Items. In particular, this card can grab your Stadiums, while Korrina falls short in that regard.

3 Battle Compressor: This serves to get Energy into the discard for Shout of Power and Mega Turbo, but it also pseudo-searches Supporters and thins the deck. In other words, Battle Compressor is good because it's Battle Compressor.

2 Mewtwo Spirit Link, 2 Hard Charm, 1 Tool Retriever: The ultimate goal here is to get a Mega Mewtwo with a Hard Charm attached. This means that, short of exploiting Weakness, nothing is going to KO our Mega Mewtwo. Given that this deck is a bit slower, you can also afford to manually Mega Evolve a Mewtwo. However, you still need to Mega Evolve at least one Mega Mewtwo with a Spirit Link, so the deck includes a couple. It's easily accessible through Korrina or Trainers' Mail anyway. We have one Tool Retriever to eventually swap that Spirit Link for a Hard Charm.

This deck doesn't hold up well against Night March or Pikachu-EX, but most decks in this format have a slightly lower damage cap than 250, and against those decks, Damage Change can really shine. Mega Mewtwo can make Mega Manectric, Mega Sceptile, and even an unfortunate Mega Rayquaza cry. If you see the right opening in the metagame, give this deck a try.


That does it for this article. Hopefully you're feeling inspired and excited for this weekend's City Championships. Hopefully one of these ideas serves you well. Now that City Championships are starting to heat up, there are tournaments just about everywhere. To those of you competing in a Standard event this weekend, best of luck to you. And to all 60cards readers, thanks for reading. See you next time!

[+9] okko


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