Hey fellow Pokemon trainers! Today my job is to convince you that despite what you may have thought or heard, Lugia Landorus is an amazing deck in the current format – so good I would consider it one of the best decks at the moment! The key is to construct it and play it the right way, and I’m going to hopefully help give you an idea of how to do that.
My name is Myles and I’m from Canberra Australia, you may have read my article from around this time last year “Playing Anti-Meta: Introducing EX Corners.” In a similar vein, I am posting this article because I think Lugia Landorus hasn’t gotten anywhere near the attention it deserves.
Recently I competed in our Canberra Regional Championship, and went 6-0 with the deck in best-of-3 Swiss. In the top cut (top 8) I won my first round before losing my second – giving me a total run of 7-1. I hope this will help convince you that you should give this deck a chance!
Lugia/Landorus is a deck entirely based around setting up early Lugia EX kills. The deck functions by setting up quickly and easily and by making favourable Prize exchanges throughout the game. The early game utilises Landorus EX and Hypnotoxic Lasers to get damage on the field, putting EXs into range of the 120 damage that either Lugia or Bouffalant can deal out.
By setting up Lugia early, you put your opponent in a very dangerous situation for the rest of the game and give yourself many opportunities to win. The deck is very versatile, and although you won’t start the same way each game – all of your starts are strong and scary to the majority of decks against you.
What sets this deck apart from Lugia/Tornadus or other variants is that its focus is heavily on the idea of setting up Lugia for kills, rather than just running similar Pokemon alongside. That’s the key to having a good Lugia deck mentality, think of all cards as either setting up things to be killed for 120 damage or doing 120 damage to take advantage of those set ups.
The Deck List
This is the deck list I used at Regionals and I believe it is a solid template for a successful Lugia Landorus deck in any meta.
Pokémon – 8
2 Lugia EX
Trainers – 38
2 Virbank Gym
Energy – 14
Rationale For Chosen Cards
Bouffalant is a controversial choice in this deck and yet it is one of the most essential cards overall. The reason Bouffalant works so well in this deck is easy, it hits for the same magic number as Lugia.
Since Landorus/Lasers are being used in the deck to put everything within range of 120 – Bouffalant is the perfect back-up to Lugia. Lugia gains a Prize lead by taking 3 Prizes against an EX to the 2 it gives, in the same way Bouffalant does the same by taking 2 Prizes from an EX and giving up only 1 – both are favourable trades.
Add to that its tenacity with Bouffer and it is a very important card in the deck.
The high Supporter count is essential as this deck takes Prizes quickly and is easily crippled by N. Being able to draw back into your Supporters is vital to survival in this deck so a high count is necessary. A “Skyla toolbox” of sorts is also used with Skyla/Computer Search/Ultra Ball/ Energy Search acting as way to get the one last card you need for any combo at any time – facilitating the decks need to be versatile.
The low Ultra Ball count is also something often commented on, and my main response is that the deck realistically often doesn’t need many Pokemon out and you inevitably draw into more before you need Ultra Ball. This is just something I’ve found in my extensive testing of the deck – extra Ultra Balls really don’t help much.
I always find it amazing how much resistance the inclusion of Hypnotoxic Laser gets in Lugia decks. The common cry is: “Lugia gets less benefit from Laser because it doesn’t score extra Prizes when a Pokemon is killed by poison between turns.” This couldn’t be a more misguided statement, as Hypnotoxic Laser is actually (in my opinion) the most important card to complement Lugia EX.
The number one thing is to realise that Lasers are there for the early game – they are there to set up damage on Pokemon before you attack them, putting them into range of Plasma Gale.
Their usefulness is this is unbelievable, and you really just need to use it to understand it. Even when you do use lasers late game to finish a Pokemon off after using Plasma Gale – you miss out on an extra Prize, but in most cases that is a small issue while the ability to remove a threat from the board can be priceless.
The final interesting card choice of note is Escape Rope – a card I believe is highly under-rated in the current format. Escape Rope, aka Warp Point, is both a Switch and a poorman’s Catcher at the same time.
The core beauty to Escape Rope is that in most cases you can assume your opponent will have the Pokemon they want to be Active as their Active. This truth means that whenever you can mess with that, you waste them resources and time.
In many early and late game scenarios where your opponent has only 1 benched Pokemon Escape Rope also acts exactly like a Catcher – the power of having effectively 8 Catchers in your deck for these moments is amazing.
This is particularly true for Lugia EX which thrives off sniping things for extra Prizes – as well as filling the mandatory quota for anti-Laser/Catcher switching cards.
Variants and Why I Recommend This Version
I won’t go into too much detail about techs here as there is much that can be said and a lot can be dependent on local meta games. However as I see it there are three main viable variants for Lugia Landorus decks. After getting feedback and ideas on the SixPrizes forums, I have tested a variety and found some to work better than others.
I believe the list above is the best universally, but for your meta things might be different.
1. The first version of the deck is the ultra-aggressive version seen above. It uses Lasers heavily and in doing so allows you to grab Prizes whenever and however you can.
2. Varying from this is the conservative version which seeks to keep Lugia EX and Landorus EX alive against their opponents. Using Aspertia Gym as well as Eviolite facilitates this, and gives you extra turns of life (or wastes more energy and resources from your opponent).
The problem with these extra turns of life is that without the extra damage from lasers (which you can’t fit in) you end up using those extra turns to do the same amount of damage anyway, but give your opponent more space to react.
3. Another version of the deck gets rid of Bouffalant and Lasers and defensive cards in exchange for lots of Ultra Balls, Fighting Energy, and Supporters to maximise consistency and to rush out Landorus and Lugia.
The problem with this variant is that while it can be more consistent, it loses its versatility and when the opponent messes with your numbers in any way (healing, Eviolite, Resistance, etc.) you fall apart.
I wont go into all of the possible matchups here as the format is so diverse and filled with interesting semi-viable rogues or alternate versions of decks, but I’ll try and cover the main hard hitters.
60 – 40 vs. Rayeels
Rayeels is a strong deck and a tough matchup. Their ability to 1HKO any of your Pokemon in a single turn is very scary. However the matchup is swung in your favour through the power of Landorus EX against Tynamos, if you get swinging early they often can’t recover in time.
40 – 60 vs. Blastoise
While Landorus EX is a boon against Eels, it is a curse against Blastoise. Its Water Weakness makes this matchup a difficult one. Squirtle’s Shell Shield ability is also a pain and makes stopping your opponent getting a Blastoise difficult thing to do.
The best strategy against Blastoise decks is to focus mostly on Bouffalant and Lugia, only benching at most one Landorus EX (who is still an excellent starter). By trading for Prizes well with these two the game is still easily winnable.
60 – 40 vs. Tornadus Mewtwo
Tornadus Mewtwo or any variant there of tends to feel a little like a mirror match at times. However the energy acceleration and power of Lugia EX tends to push these matchups in your favour.
70 – 30 vs. Darkrai
Landorus EX is the key to this matchup and realistically every Pokemon you have is a huge pain for Darkrai to deal with. The hardest Darkrai decks to face are heavy hammer variants, but given the current meta those don’t do very well – so they matchup is nicely in your favour.
30 – 70 vs. Plasmaklang
This deck is not at all teched against Plasmaklang. If you think its popular in your meta I advise against playing this deck. You can win the matchup by getting enough Prizes before they get a Klinklang out and then finishing with Bouffalant as best you can, alternatively you can just stall and hurt them with Lasers and try and get them to deck out.
If you are worried about this matchup you can improve it by including a teched Aspertia Gym or some Large Cloaks – both of which will push Bouffalant out of being 1HKO’d by Cobalion EX.
I’m afraid the report side of this article will be slim, I’ve mainly included it so you can get an idea (and perhaps some evidence) that the deck is viable against meta decks in the current format.
This tournament was the first regional tournament Canberra has ever had, and it was also our biggest tournament to date with an awesome turnout of 35 Masters with a huge turnout from other States, including large groups from Brisbane and Sydney.
As is standard for Australian tournaments, all our games were best of 3. With the majority of players having travelled to be at this tournament it was an unusually competitive group, with a very high number of tier 1-2 decks.
Swiss Round 1 – vs. Roxanne with Crobat Mewtwo
Roxanne ran a very good poison deck and both of our games were very close – something which became a common theme throughout the tournament for me. She got very unlucky in our first game, Junipering for 7 of her last 11 cards and whiffing on the last switch in her deck that she needed to win.
My deck’s setup was slower than usual in these games, making it very tense throughout.
Swiss Round 2 – vs. Ashley with Darkrai
Ashley runs a very competitive Darkrai deck with Lasers, which he ended up coming in 4th after top cut. Our games were tough throughout, but the power of Landorus EX was just too strong, putting way too much damage on the field and giving me the match.
Swiss Round 3 – vs. Bori with Blastoise
Bori is a fellow Canberra pokemon player, and I owed most of the cards in my deck to her. I knew Blastoise was a tough matchup, and was reminded of the fact even moreso when she steamrolled over me in the first game, getting set up and doing way too much damage for me to deal with.
In the second and third game however the tides turned and I was able to comeback and snatch victory from her. In one game this was done through Lugia EX and Bouffalant, in another through using Landorus EX and HTL to kill Squritles one by one and stop her from ever getting Blastoise out.
Unfortunately for me, this was not the last I would see of Bori’s deck.
Swiss Round 4 – vs. Sameer with Rayeels
Sameer is another close friend and fellow Canberra player. His Rayeels was another scary sight to face (placing 6th after top cut), but I knew I had the type advantage and made sure to press it. Sure enough, using Landorus EX to deny Eelectrics as often as possible, the deck fell under its own weight. Little was I to know that I was about to be seeing a fair few more eels.
Swiss Round 5 – vs. Paul with Rayeels
Paul’s Rayeels turned out to be a harder nut for me to crack than Sameer’s. He had teched a single Zekrom into his deck, allowing him to dangerously 1HKO Lugia EX. Dealing with this threat allowed him to get his eels out, giving him an easy game one victory.
Unlike playing against Sameer I was unable to start with Landorus EX but instead got off turn 1 Plasma Gale’s both games (unfortunately both times against Rayquaza EXs). In the second game I continued the momentum and was able to grab a victory.
The final game came down to time in the first few turns and I was able to kill a Tynamo with Lugia EX for two Prizes. Paul was left with no way to match me in Prizes, despite having a better set up. Paul ended swiss 5-1 and came 5th after top cut.
Swiss Round 6 – vs. Bodhi with Rayeels
Another run into Rayeels and I wasn’t sure whether this was lucky or not. Bodhi also ran a Zekrom tech in his deck, but against him I was lucky enough to start with Landorus EX. He was able to take a game off of me, but with some bad luck in his final game the power of Landorus EX overcame his deck.
By this point I was pretty tired but very stoked to have done so well. Bodhi ended up coming 7th after top cut.
Top 8 – vs. James with Lugia Landorus Tornadus
Relieved to be against something other than eels, but also very nervous to be in top cut I faced James in top 8. We ran what was essentially a mirror, however his deck was more teched against Blastoise, including: Tornadus, Aspertia, Eviolite and Scramble Switch – but lacking Lasers.
These games were fast paced and devastating. In game one he got off a T2 Plasma Gale for KO on my own half powered Lugia, giving him 3 Prizes and leaving me with no set up. However through a lucky N and good HTL flips I was able to set up a couple of Bouffalants and win the game off of them alone.
The following games were ridiculously tight and came down largely to luck of the draw. Landorus had problems with resistance from Lugia and Tornadus, but I feel my deck still had the edge through its use of Lasers, which gave it much more flexibility in when and where it could take Prizes. Knocking out James put him at 8th place and left me on my 7-0 match winning streak.
Top 4 – vs. Bori with Blastoise
My winning streak ended when I faced Bori’s deck once again. This time I wasn’t so lucky in denying her Blastoises. In game one she was able to get a T2 donk on my lone Landorus with a T2 Keldeo and Blastoise (after I had killed one of her Squirtles on T1).
In the second game I fared no better though having massive support droughts. Bori was slow to set up too and I almost snatched a victory by using Lugia to kill a laser-weakened Keldeo and just needing a DCE & laser to kill a Black Kyurem for the other three Prizes.
Unfortunately it was not to be as Bori eventually set up and I was unable to draw a Supporter. An anticlimactic end to such a successful tournament, but Supporter droughts happen to all decks, and in the end that’s just how the game goes.
Bori went on to win the tournament overall, thankfully winning Canberra Regionals for the home team. Although I was disappointed to have missed out on an attempt to go 9-0 with my deck, I was very happy to see Bori win and she definitely deserved it. I was also very happy to place 3rd overall and think it is a testament to the versatility and strength of the deck I was using.
Standing: 7-1 (3rd place)
Lugia + Landorus (+ Bouffalant) should be considered a T1 deck for most metas at the moment. It has a huge amount of versatility and strength, crushing meta, anti-meta and rouge decks alike. Give it a try, and make sure to use it with Bouffalant and Lasers as they really do make the difference.
I’d like to thank the entire Canberra Pokemon community, as well as the Australian community at large. The turn out for Canberra’s biggest tournament ever was amazing and it was a fantastic day!
Lots of gratitude towards all the players who came from interstate to play in the tournament, it would have been nothing without you all. Special props to Sameer, Shanan and Bori for lending me the majority of the cards needed for the deck and to Bori for her first place finish!