Top Crop – The Best Decks Heading into the Fall Season

INTRODUCTION

pokemon battle television tv screen

The stream was great!

With no Battle Roads before the start of Fall Regionals the Klaczynski Open played a major role in giving us a predicted meta. If you missed the live stream I’m sure The Top Cut will have their recorded games up soon. There were a few really great matchups so I highly suggest watching some of them. These videos will also be the only insight that we have of the format heading into Fall Regionals.

Just to quickly recap the event, the Top 4 was 2 Darkrai/Garbodor, 1 Blastoise, and 1 Virizion/Genesect/Lugia. The Finals was Darkrai/Garbodor versus Blastoise and the former came out on top. I was very happy to see so much variation and such an open meta.

As I discussed in my last article I want to spend this article looking at the strongest decks in the format and my lists for them. I’m hoping this will give you some insight into the decks you’re testing for Fall Regionals as well as what lists look like for other meta decks. The Klaczynski Open really made me rethink some of my card choices in my lists.

Below is the list of decks I plan on covering in this article…

The Decks

  1. Blastoise
  2. Virizion/Genesect
  3. Tool Drop
  4. Darkrai/Garbodor
  5. Plasma

I feel like this season is going to have so much thinking outside the box. Some decks are going to have a lot of room to be creative with, while others are going to be tight on space and teching in more cards will kill your consistency. The ability to be an innovator while at the same time balancing between teching and consistency is going to be a huge challenge for deck builders. I enjoy deck building and formats where you can be creative, so from everything I’ve seen so far this is definitely going to be my type of format.

Quick Worlds Recap

I’m sure everybody is looking to put Worlds in the past and focus on the new format, so I won’t spend much time discussing it. However, I would like to quickly share my lists from Worlds and The 2013 Top Cut Invitational.

Worlds List

Pokémon – 10

3 Darkrai EX
3 Keldeo EX
2 Absol PLF
2 Sableye DEX

Trainers – 39

4 Professor Juniper
4 N
2 Skyla
2 Colress
3 Bicycle

 

4 Ultra Ball
4 Dark Patch
4 Hypnotoxic Laser
3 Pokémon Catcher
3 Energy Switch
2 Dark Claw
1 Energy Search
1 Max Potion

1 Computer Search

 

1 Virbank City Gym

Energy – 11

11 Darkness

mr. mime hiding bush

Should’ve played him.

The list was very similar to the list I played at United States Nationals, however after the huge showing from Gothitelle I expected it to be a big deck at Worlds. The 3rd Keldeo EX and the 2nd Colress were changes made to further improve that matchup.

Looking back, the deck was perfect for the meta we were expecting. The Goth matchup was extremely favorable, Plasma was slightly favorable, and mirror was 50/50… and slightly better if they didn’t play Bike. The only thing I would change (based on the information I had at the time) would be to drop the Max Potion for Mr. Mime. Looking back not playing the Mr. Mime was an extremely obvious mistake.

My friend and I both played this list card for card, however sadly we both went 4-4. My 4 wins came from 1 Blastoise, 2 Plasma, and a no show. My 4 losses came from 1 Darkrai deck and 3 Plasma build. All my losses managed to end up as real games, but in all 4 I was drawing dead for large portions of the game.

It was very frustrating to spend all this time preparing for an event to only sit there and draw/pass. I really don’t know what more I could have done for consistency since I already ran 12 Supporters, 3 Bike, and 1 Computer Search. I’ve said it before, but the format desperately needs some sort of Pokémon consistency card. Smeargle UD was perfect last year and I was sad to see it go. To be fair though, in all my wins my opponents drew/pass for at least part of the game as well.

The Top Cut Invitational

As for The Top Cut Invitational I decided to stick with Darkrai, however I went with a list much closer to Jason K’s winning list. I almost played straight Klinklang, but just couldn’t bring myself to do it. I had played Darkrai all season and couldn’t ditch it for the last tournament of the year. I really want to thank Mike Lesky and Justin Sanchez for lending me cards for the event.

Pokémon – 10

4 Darkrai EX
3 Sableye DEX
2 Keldeo EX
1 Mr. Mime PLF

Trainers – 39

4 Professor Juniper
4 N
1 Colress

4 Bicycle
2 Random Receiver

 

4 Dark Patch
4 Ultra Ball
4 Hypnotoxic Laser
3 Pokémon Catcher
3 Energy Switch
2 Dark Claw
1 Enhanced Hammer

1 Computer Search

 

2 Virbank City Gym

Energy – 11

11 Darkness

In the first round I beat Josh as he drew/passed, in the second round I lost a very close game to Edmund Kuras’ RayEels, and in the last round I had to play Josh again where he T1 N’d me into no Supporters and I drew/pass a majority of the game.

Overall it was a great experience, but as I said before I should have played straight Klinklang as I had auto-wins against 5 out of the 8 decks, a 50/50 matchup against Sami’s Plasma, an unfavorable matchup to Yamato’s Darkrai/Garbodor, and I’m assuming an unfavorable matchup against Jason K’s Dusknoir/Empoleon.

The New Format

Enough of recapping Worlds and discussing BLW-on; let’s go ahead and jump right into the current format. In this section I’m going to discuss several decks and give my lists for them. I will wrap each deck up by discussing strengths and weaknesses of the deck as well as some things to keep in mind while playing it.

Blastoise

Ross’ recent success with the deck at the Klaczynski Open is proof the deck is Tier 1 now more than ever. The deck also plays really well in a best-of-three format, which a majority of this season will be played in.

With the loss of Energy Switch the format has really changed from a T2 format to more of a T3 format. This slightly slower format is something that I feel Blastoise can really easily capitalize on. The deck is also so easily techable for individual metas. Even though the new set didn’t really bring Blastoise anything special, the shift in the meta I believe will work out to Blastoise’s advantage.

Pokémon – 14

4 Squirtle BCR
4 Blastoise BCR
3 Black Kyurem EX PLS
2 Keldeo EX
1 Jirachi EX

Trainers – 35

4 N
4 Skyla
3 Professor Juniper
1 Cilan

 

4 Ultra Ball
4 Rare Candy
3 Super Energy Retrieval
3 Pokémon Catcher
1 Level Ball
1 Heavy Ball
1 Tool Scrapper
1 Energy Retrieval

1 Computer Search

 

4 Tropical Beach

Energy – 11

9 Water
2 Lightning

2 Keldeo EX

Only 2 Keldeo EX might seem really low, but if the format shifts the way I think it will we can expect to see a lot less Special Conditions. Without Item lock I expect Accelgor to see next to no play and if Virizion EX becomes big many top tier decks will put less emphasis on Hypnotoxic Laser. Non-EX decks will most likely just switch to Bangle.

With less Special Conditions running around the deck can put less emphasis on Rush In and run fewer copies of Keldeo EX.

1 Jirachi EX

jirachi-ex-plasma-blast-plb-98-full-art

Saves you from a bad hand.

Last year was the first year that we have ever had where we didn’t have a Pokémon consistency card. In 2012 we had Smeargle UD, in 2011 we had Cleffa HS, 2010 was Chatot MD, and I could continue this trend all the way back to 2004.

When I say Pokémon consistency card I mean a Pokémon that is searchable (Ultra Ball, Level Ball, etc.) thats allows a deck to get out of a bad opening hand. Jirachi to Skyla to Computer Search allows you to get any card out of your deck. This becomes extremely useful in the late game when you’re usually 1 SER away from winning the game.

Now I understand Jirachi EX can also be a huge liability basically forcing you to play with 4 Prizes to your opponent’s 6. However, I would like to point out a couple of things. The deck runs 9 other Basics, so the odds of starting lone Jirachi are low plus I would much rather start lone Jirachi than a lone Exeggcute.

Second, just because you run Jirachi does not mean you have to play it down. Many games you might end up just discarding it without even playing it. The idea is it brings a new level of consistency to one of the most inconsistent decks in the format. If everything is running smoothly and you don’t need Jirachi then simply don’t play it down.

Techs

One of the things I love most about Blastoise right now is I feel like it is so easy to tech the deck differently depending on the meta that you expect to see. I want to talk about 3 different Pokémon techs I have in mind and in what meta I feel they would be the most useful.

1 Black Kyurem BCR

If you expect a lot of mirror matches the single copy of the regular Black Kyurem can easily be enough to swing the matchup. However, outside of playing a lot of mirror matches the card really doesn’t have a ton of uses.

3rd Keldeo EX

I know a lot of people are going to find my 2 Keldeo EX very low. I can completely understand that and would honestly really like to have a 3rd copy of Keldeo EX in the deck. The 3rd copy of Keldeo EX would make the deck less vulnerable to Hypnotoxic Laser and would also decrease the odds of the deck starting with lone Jirachi EX.

1 Suicune PLB

suicune plasma blast plb 20

Might help you bide time.

I found a lot of success early in Cities last year by playing a Blastoise deck that hid behind Sigilyph and its Safeguard Ability early while it set up. Suicune can bring the deck the exact same benefits, but with the added advantage of not forcing the deck to run a separate Energy type.

The downside is outside of being a great wall the card really does nothing that the rest of the deck can’t do better. The 3 Energy for 70 attack is pretty bad when compared to Keldeo EX who does 110 for the same 3 Energy.

I do feel the card might be worth the spot in a meta where you expect fast EX deck and you need to buy yourself that needed turn or two to set up. However, Suicune is bad in metas where you expect a lot of non-EX Pokémon or decks like Virizion/Genesect that between Catcher and Genesect ability easily get around the Safeguard Ability.

2nd Tool Scrapper

The Klaczynski Open has really showed just how popular Darkrai/Garbodor will be. It’s sure to be a major player at Fall Regionals and it’s important to be ready for the deck. The 2nd copy of Tool Scrapper will help if 1 is prized, give the deck 2 turns to use Abilities, and make it easier to draw into.

Strengths

I feel the deck is very strong in the best-of-three format and has solid matchups across the board. Garbodor can be a very hard matchup, but still highly winnable if teched right. The deck can also come back in the mid and late game even if it is down several prizes.

Weaknesses

The deck plays 10 Basics and 4 of them are donkable (Squirtle) and 1 more of them you hate to open with (Jirachi), which really leaves the deck only 5 “safe” Basics to open with. I really don’t like the idea that I have a 50/50 shot of opening with a “bad” Basic.

The deck at times can also be inconsistent and very combo-based. Without Blastoise in play the deck really can’t win (early game or late game). If you struggle to set Blastoise up early game or if your opponent is able to remove Blastoise from the field late game they can steal a win.

Things to Remember

  • Be careful discarding resources.
  • Different metas will have a huge impact on how you build and tech the list.
  • Try to place extra Energy on a second attacker to reduce the chances of N hurting you.
  • Try to set up a second Blastoise ASAP, and at the very least bench a 2nd Squirtle to threaten a Blastoise.
  • Use Black Kyurem EX against EXs and Keldeo EX against non-EXs to help preserve resources.

Virizion/Genesect


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