By Jack Snell
Hey y’all how’s it going, Jack Snell here, Ive been a competitive Pokemon TCG player for 12 years now, and I want to share with you some of my advice and knowledge about the game. Since Autumn Battle Roads are fast approaching, below I have completed a review of all the decks I expect to be popular and successful.
Hope you enjoy it and finally just to dispell a common myth, the Pokemon TCG isnt immature and “sad”, its a highly tactical game, you meet some great people playing it, and build wonderful memories. If youre sceptical about getting involved because youre worried what people think, be strong minded, people who mock the TCG are just judgmental and nasty, you dont mock their hobbies, so why should someone ruin your fun. Onto the article:
I decided to talk about Kingrdra Yanmega first because it is the most under-used deck in the format. It is a fast disruptive deck that can stand up against almost any deck in the format. It relies on getting a lot of quick Kingdra’s and sniping out basics with Yanmega, or attacking with “Sonic Boom” after a lot of “Spray Splashes” weaken them. Jirachi is also used to get multiple knockouts via devoution. Although I think it is a great deck I don’t think it will get a lot of play
Positives– Very disruptive and versatile. Pokemon Catcher does aid this deck by promoting heavy retreaters and sniping around them.
Negatives – The common weakness of Kingdra and Yanmega to Lightning, meaning they will probably be run through by attackers like Zekrom and Magnezone. Also if KOs arent taken before basics evolve, the low damage output will make KOs on tanks like Tyranitar Prime, Reshiram etc. very difficult
What is it? The hardest hitting deck in the format. It relies on Magnezone Prime to Lost Burn and Emboars Inferno Fandango to power up the attacks. Reshiram is usually included as a secondary attacker and Rayquaza Deoxys Legend also fits perfectly, usually in a 1-1 line, to conclude the game by taking two prizes at once, because it uses electric and fire energy and can be charged in a single turn. It was hyped as the BDIF coming into worlds and had a huge number of people who championed the deck.
Positives– Can utilise the Twins option because it is likely to fall behind early against anything but trainer lock, the two cards frequently obtained with Twins, would be the stage 2 of a basic on the field and a Rare Candy . It can OHKO any Pokemon in the format fairly easily. It is also fairly easy to play for beginners and has built in draw Power in magnezone.
Negatives– Pokemon Catcher really hurts the 3 retreat Magnezone and 4 retreat Emboar.
What is it? A nationals favorite that is invigorated after the release of Tornadus. Zekrom is a deck that uses energy acceleration of the Pachirisu Shaymin engine to hit for 120 fairly fast without a discard. It was destroyed last summer because of Donphan, now it has Tornadus to go against Donphan resisting it and 2HKOing it in return. I don’t think Zekrom will be the most played deck, but it will get some decent play.
Positives– It hits hard and now has a Donphan counter. It is also a popular Pokemon, so I could see it getting decent play . It has the unique ability to hit for maximum damage on turn 1.
Negatives– Runs out of resources towards the late game. It will also struggle with trainer lock, and decks with fast recovery.
Critical TSS Cards: Pokegear 3.0, Pokemon Collector, Dual Ball, Defender, Pokemon Catcher, Energy Search, Junk Arm, Pluspower
What is it? A deck that uses Typhlosion Prime to power up the attacks of Reshiram. It uses Ninetales as a draw engine. If you can get 2-3 Typhlosions set up you can keep re-using energies and you will be able to stand up just against any other deck out there. It is fairly fast, is consistent, and hits very hard. I expect a lot of people to run this deck, it will probably be the most popular deck.
Positives– Consistency, themed draw power, in the form of Ninetales, and once set up, barely disrupted by Judge or trainer lock, due to the energy acceleration coming from the discard not the hand.
Negatives– Early Catchers to KO Cyndaquils and Vulpixes will really hurt the engine of the deck, so a T1-T2 Collector is quite vital.
What is it? It again has Reshiram, the infernal dragon as its main attacker but Emboar for support instead of Typhlosion. It doesn’t change the matchups too much, but this versionhas a positive matchup against Reshiphlosion due to the single damage counter Afterburner places, allowing you to one shot opposing Reshirams while it struggles against fast decks like stage 1 rush . Emboar lets you get more energy on the field faster, but you must run recovery cards like Fisherman and Energy Retrieval to return the energy to your hand, and these cards are dead in your opening hand. The Emboar line also has a lot of HP, meaning it is not very easy to knock them out, although Emboar is a prominent Catcher target with its humungous four retreat cost. I don’t expect many people to play this deck, the masses will go with Reshiphlosion instead, for sheer consistency and synergy with the draw engine that is Ninetales, but I truly believe the deck still has potential.
Positives– Basically the same thing as Reshiphlosion, but has a good matchup against the deck because it does not drop damage counters.
Negatives– It requires more maintenance then Reshiphlosion and is more susceptible to trainer lock.
Stage 1 Rush
What is it? A deck pioneered at US Nationals by the likes of Kyle “Pooka” Sucevich, who also took it to the finals.
Anyway, Stage 1 rush is usually made up of Donphan Prime, Yanmega Prime, and Zoroark BW. It is basically a tool box deck that seeks to have an answer to every popular deck. A larger number of shuffle/discard draw supporters than standard are necessary, I for example run 12 in my list, a combination of Judge, Copycat, PONT and Professor Juniper. It uses Pokemon Catcher very effectively, making it very hard for opponents to setup a stage 2. Even though this deck has not been talked about for a while, I think some people will still play this deck, perhaps some of the better players will play it as well. I believe this is the best deck in the format right now due to its speed
Positives– It is a fast deck that abuses Pokemon Catcher and Judge well for disruption and has an answer to most of the decks out there. Yanmega for pure speed and versatility, Donphan to counter Magnezones, Zekroms, Zoroarks, CIncinnos and etc. by attacking for their weakness and Zoroark to deal with heavy hitters like Reshiram, RDL, Zekrom
Negatives– Stage 1 Rush was made to counter the nationals format, this format is a little different. It gets shut down against Gothitelle and struggles against Vileplume lock variants with its low damage cap.
What is it? A combination of Yanmega Prime and Magnezone Prime that won U.S. Nationals. It is very fast and disruptive, and it can also hit for lots of damage later in the game. It hopes to do a lot of disruption early, so it won’t have to go blow by blow later in the game. I expect a decent percentage of the better players to be playing this deck.
Positives– It is very versatile and can still hit well while disrupting. This deck can seemingly do it all. The draw power is also very good.
Negatives– This deck also might be a little older and not adjusted to the Pokemon Catcher format. I think Pokemon catcher ends up hurting this deck because the player will not be able to setup 2 Magnezone without the threat of getting one of them pulled up without energy on it. I can also see item lock hurting this deck.
What is it? An item locking damage counter moving deck that is very hard to beat for a lot of the decks out there. Though it struggles in the early game, if it sets up it is very hard to beat. You just setup a Gothitelle, and when it gets hit, use Reuniclus to move the damage counters to either Zekrom or Reshiram. Gothitelle gives you a great item lock, and makes it almost impossible for your opponent to get an OHKO because of the lack of items like Plus Power.
Positives– Having an item lock on the opponent without having one yourself is amazing. It makes it very hard to OHKO Gothitelle, and if you can’t OHKO Gothitelle you may not get a knock out the entire game. It has been getting a lot of hype going into BRs, so I anticipate that a lot of people will play this deck.
Negatives– This deck also struggles early game. They will not get a Gothitelle till about turn 4, if you can attack by turn 2, you might be able to beat the deck before it starts going.
What is it? An item lock deck that uses Vileplume. Beartic is the main attacker here. His attack will make sure that your opponent will not be able to attack next turn if does not switch out, and Vileplume makes it so that you arent able play trainers like Switch/SSU ,critical search like Communication Dual Ball and accelerators like Rare Candy. Also pluspowers are locked which prevents opponents Zekroms, Reshirams from reaching the magic number of 130 HP. It strives to setup a Vileplume early, often through the means of Twins, and then setup Beartic and make it so you are not able to attack. The deck has not received a lot of hype so far, so I do not expect it to see a lot of play, however implementing Beartic as a 3-3 main attacker in Ross Cawthon’s deck to replace 2-2 Donphan and 1-1 Suicune Entei Legend is an intelligent play, with Reuniclus’ Damage Swap ability allowing Beartic to become an unstoppable tank if they cant OHKO it, and also powering up Zekroms Outrage in the meantime.
Other Crucial cards include Rainbow Energy to provide any type of energy and also add a damage counter to the field which can be moved onto Zekrom to charge up Outrage, Blissey Prime for healing, and 2-3 Pichu allowing you to fill your bench with weak Solosis’ and Oddish’ turn 1, so that your opponent cannot “Catcher” all of them and kill them before they evolve.
Positives– It is a pretty strong lock deck that can give decks with heavy retreaters real issues. Item lock in any form will be great at Battle Roads, and Beartic is a card that is hard to knock out and is made faster by Double Colorless Energy.
Negatives– This is probably the slowest Vileplume deck, and struggles against Pokemon that can hit for more than 130 damage ie. Magnezone Prime, Badboar, Rayquaza Deoxys Legend. If your opponent has a free retreating Pokemon like Mew or Yanmega, Beartic’s lock will be quite ineffective.
Peace out, Jack Snell x
Tags: Card Collecting