Late, but Not Too Late: Accelgor at the US National Championships

After a month of time to reflect on the exciting goings-on of the United States National Championship, now is the best time to address my own experiences from that event. For those who don’t know, I advanced to the third day of play, placing 10th in a field of over 1,000. Furthermore, I did it with one of the most unusual rogue decks to date: Accelgor/Chandelure/Vileplume/Darkrai.

In today’s article, I’ll be going over both my experience at Nationals, as well as what was surely the sleeper hit of the season’s biggest tournament. Not many people – Worlds invitees included – know much about it, so I’d like to inform you to the best of my ability. We’ll close out with a discussion on what BLW-on holds for this beast of a deck.

What on Earth is This?!

For those of you who either don’t know about the deck or haven’t played for long enough, a discussion of Accelgor is warranted.

Basically, the heart of any Accelgor variant is to say the words “Deck and Cover” as many times as appropriate until you’ve won. This is because Deck and Cover is one of the few attacks in the game that grants automatic, unconditional Paralysis, and at the exceptionally low cost of [C][C]. But since Deck and Cover requires you to shuffle Accelgor into the deck every time you use it, there are some issues involved in its consistent, reliable usage – namely, drawing into what you need.

To alleviate that, we use Mew Prime to See Off Accelgor, inevitably copying Deck and Cover via the Lost Link Poké-Body. This makes it so that we only need to get two cards back (Mew and the appropriate Energy) as opposed to three (Accelgor, Shelmet, and the appropriate Energy).

That said, what if your opponent just lets his or her Pokémon get knocked out? Then you’ll be in trouble for sure, right? Well, not quite. Upon successful use of Deck and Cover, the next major card to abuse is Chandelure NVI. Through its Cursed Shadow Ability, you achieve two major advantages.

Deck and Cover

First, you can set up active Pokémon for knockouts on your turn without using an attack, thereby giving you a chance to use Deck and Cover again, producing what is a “permanent” paralysis of sorts. Second, in the event that you want to or cannot paralyze the opponent, Chandelure gives you an additional way to leverage prizes while Mew Prime uses Deck and Cover against the opponent.

Thanks to Darkrai EX’s Dark Cloak, a Chandelure with an Energy providing Darkness type will always retreat for free, making the “permanence” of the paralysis all the more absolute.

Finally, the “glue” holding this variant together is Vileplume UD’s Allergy Flower. The most powerful options to beat this deck are Items that threaten to break your lock, such as Switch and Pokémon Catcher, so exiling those Items away for the rest of the game is an undeniable advantage.

If you’d like more information on Accelgor heading up to Worlds, check out some of my past articles on the deck. But for all intents and purposes, you should now understand the concept well enough to dig into an actual list. Included below is the card-for-card build I played in the US Nationals Masters Division…

This is the result of two months of careful revisions and constant tweaking. However, if you haven’t followed my work on the Kingdra variant, you probably have a lot of questions about it. Here is why I settled on the exact list that I did:

Three Accelgor

In preparing for Nationals, a constant source of frustration was prizing key cards. Usually, these issues involved the Oddish count, the Vileplume count, and the Accelgor count. In the end, I decided that three Accelgor was the best choice for a couple reasons:

1. Although Item Lock is extremely valuable for this deck to win, it’s not 100% essential; that is, you can improvise until Item lock becomes available. Since Accelgor is the one necessary component of the deck, you must always have access to it when you need it.

2. More Accelgor means a higher probability of having one in hand for Relicanth’s Prehistoric Wisdom. Likewise, more Accelgor means a lower probability of an unsuccessful See Off with Mew Prime.

Three Litwick

In the last two or three days before Nationals, I wanted to run another consistency Basic, but wanted to avoid a second Pichu if at all possible. Remembering the reliability of Promo Litwick’s Call for Family, as well as my comfort with 3-2-2 lines in Accelgor/Vileplume, I went with the higher count.

Going back to the previous topic, why did I run a third Litwick over a fourth Oddish? Again, it goes back to prizing key cards: either I run a huge risk of never having my item lock, or run a huge risk of never having my Chandelure. With Item lock, smart Oddish benching when you have one prized can handle anything short of Kyogre EX; but with Litwicks, Horseas, or any other pre-evolutions of damage manipulators, having one prized and losing another to a KO could mean instant death.

Shaymin

Shaymin serves a couple major uses in Accelgor. Perhaps the most important use is for when you need to correct glitches in your own setup. For example, there are times where you have to drop a Double Colorless Energy from your hand just so it isn’t lost due to using Professor Juniper. At other times, you may want to move Energy off of or to your auxiliary support Pokémon (e.g., from Relicanth to an essential attacker, or from an essential attacker to Darkrai EX to close out a game).

Smeargle

The one last second play in my Nationals list. Between Smeargle, Professor Juniper, and Tropical Beach, it’s theoretically possible for Accelgor to draw 21 cards on a single turn.

In hindsight, I should have run this as a fourth Oddish, but it was occasionally useful. Furthermore, I enjoyed the Portrait/Supporter/Beach combo at least twice in the event, granting me a massive advantage in resources.

Relicanth

Put simply, it’s an unwise decision to rely entirely on Mew Prime’s See Off for dumping Accelgors into your Lost Zone. However, running more than one copy would bog down your list unnecessarily.

No Pokémon Collector

Perhaps this is one of the more unusual ideas I went with for the event. Originally, this was done because of my high count on Pokémon Communications and Ultra Balls. However, as time went on, I found Ultra Ball to be increasingly useless. So why did the no Collector call remain?

I felt that the space used for these Pokémon Collectors were also dead weight in the late game. While Collector certainly helps you draw those valuable Mews, it’s hitting both the Mews “and” Double Colorless that forms the backbone of your late game. In more games than one, drawing into the Collector as opposed to a draw led directly to a loss.

15 Draw and Search Supporters

This is the heart of my list, as well as my entire deck theory behind Accelgor. As you can tell from the very first list I posted months ago, the idea is to win by never whiffing on the Accelgor paralysis. Even though Smeargle is far less of a focus now, the principle of “do what you can to avoid whiffs” remains, and my high draw count plays hugely into that.

Furthermore, Twins in the Mew version of Accelgor is unbelievably strong. After falling behind on prizes, it essentially gives you complete access to your entire setup (or if you already have that, several turns of Deck and Cover). Even if the opponent drops an N on you during this period, it still isn’t that big of a deal: off of six cards, you ought to have drawn into what you needed or a draw cards anyways.

Tropical Beach

Although the above may suggest some overconfidence about my chances against disruption, let me be clear: a bad N scares the living daylights out of me. Heck, a wrong Claw Snag from Weavile UD could be a killer! Because of those two common threats, I invested a couple spaces into Tropical Beach, which is my insurance policy in case of bad hands.

Even when my draw isn’t terrible, and the situation called on me to do something unusual (e.g., retreat into a Chandelure to snipe a benched Pokémon), Beach gives me something productive to do in place of the attack.

Rainbows and Prisms

Rainbows are a near-absolute must in a Mew/Accelgor list utilizing Darkrai EX at the same time: they let you attack with See Off to get Accelgor into the Lost Zone, yet also supply appropriate energy for Darkrai EX’s Dark Cloak. Therefore, running these is indisputable.

But what about the Prisms? In deciding these two spots, I had three choices: no extra Energy at all; Darkness; or Prism. Although having what could have been more space to play draw was an appealing possibility, I recognized through testing that having only four Energy with which to See Off (or eight to Prehistoric Wisdom) was unacceptable.

Additionally, I dismissed the Darkness Energy because its only major purpose in the deck – aside from charging up Darkrai late game – was to fulfill a redundant role that was already covered by Rainbow Energy. Thus, the last two spots were dedicated to Prisms, increasing the odds of an early See Off tremendously.

There is so much more that could be said about this deck – it really is that deep. However, oftentimes the best way to explain is by showing and not telling. Therefore, let’s get into the thick of my tournament report!


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