We think by now everyone realizes that we did a lot of testing in preparing for the Pokemon World Championships. As we described earlier, we eventually came around to the Celebi/Tornadus/Terrakion build that we shared with you. What we skipped in the last post was the deck that took up almost three weeks of testing prior to that deck. All of the Fincastle Gym Leaders were in agreement that a good trainer lock deck with Vileplume would be a strong play, as CMT, Darkrai and Eel variants were all very dependent on Trainer Items. One of the biggest bonuses in the format with trainer lock was the removal of Pokemon Catcher as a factor, allowing bench-sitters so keep their seats comfortably without getting KO’d or trapped in the active spot. We knew that the next thing this trainer lock would need was its very own tank. Regigigas EX with the fighting weakness was no good (thanks to Terrakion)… Kyurem EX with the huge attack cost was no good thanks to Pokemon limiting its good attack to every other turn. For many of the reasons that Terrakion is so good, we went with what seemed to be the obvious choice, Groudon EX.
If you can’t guess by the title, the goal of the deck was to set up a Groudon EX and keep him going for as much of the game as possible. For those familiar with the Klinklang/EX deck, it does the same basic thing, but constantly heals Groudon and other EX Pokemon by moving the energy off the damaged Pokemon, healing with “Max Potion” (Trainer Item) and then moving the energy back on. But how to you do the same thing under trainer lock? Gym Leader Joel stumbled onto a way one day while looking through our binders at cards that would soon be rotated out. Say “hello” to our little friends:
That’s right…. open with Mew and “See Off” Togekiss, then when needed, play down DCE on Mew, heal everyone and then send Mew back into the safety of your deck. The next question seems for us was what to you send to the active spot after using “Blessed Wings”. Logan immediately jumped in with the perfect candidate…. Druddigon (NV) with the “Rough Skin” ability. The idea here… make them attack it and take 2 damage counters, which in turn activates the effect on Groudon‘s second attack, “Giant Claw”, allowing it to hit for 12o instead of 80 damage. The last question was how do you move all of these big guys around? Darkrai EX, Prism and Rainbow Energy. Under trainer lock, the special energy was safe from the hammer cards and Darkrai was safe from “Catcher”. All the pieces were there, now we had to fit it into a 60 card deck.
We went through several lists, all of which struggled with the same thing…. getting Vileplume out fast (turn 2 or 3 at the latest). Pichu has been a good way to achieve that, but we saw quickly that there was no bench room for him. We played with the Vileplume lines a lot. Gym Leader Logan leaned towards a 3-1-3 (Basic-Stage 1-Stage 2) line, wanting that middle stage so he was not dependent on “Rare Candy”. Gym Leader Joel was after speed and preferred a 4-0-4 line, requiring the “Candy”. Outside of that, the Supporter line was the most vital part to get right. We changed lines with almost every draw/shuffle Supporter out there and eventually conceded that “Twins” needed to be maxed out. The list below was the most consistent list that made. Take a look.
- 2 – Mew Prime (TM)
- 2 – Togekiss (UD)
- 2 – Druddigon (NV)
- 4 – Oddish (UD)
- 3 – Vileplume (UD)
- 3 – Groudon EX (DX)
- 2 – Darkai EX (DX)
- 1 – Shaymin (UL)
- 1 – Eevee (UD)
- 1 – Espeon (DX)
- 4 – Pokemon Collector
- 4 – Twins
- 4 – Professor Oaks New Theory (PONT)
- 4 – Professor Juniper
- 2 – N
- 1 – Flower Shop Lady
- 4 – Pokemon Communication
- 4 – Rare Candy
- 3 – Fighting Energy
- 4 – Prism Energy
- 4 – Rainbow Energy
- 2 – Double Colorless Energy
In addition to “Twins”, we felt “Communication” was also essential, as it helped get that Vileplume quickly and also allowed you to re-insert Togekiss into the deck (you can’t see him off if he is in your hand). The extra “Communication” and “Candy” could be thrown away when necessary along with anything else that clogged up your hand with “Juniper”. Espeon was included in the event that you were paired up against a Vileplume/Vaniluxe or Accelgor deck. Espeon would make any of these match-ups laughable, as you would out-hit them on a massive level.
What we created, in theory, was a lock that, when set, would wear down everything out there and come from behind to sweep most games. The list above would set up almost every time. The biggest weakness was the fact that after an Oddish was caught and KO’d, a Mew was KO’d either in the active spot or on the bench by a Darkrai and a Druddigon was lost, you had to typically come from 3 prizes down. Allowing multiple Groudon and even Darkrai and Vileplume to take hits under the lock would after let you store well over 300, sometimes over 400 damage around your bench and then remove it ALL in one turn! How awesome is that?!? Why not play it, then?
There were two main reasons this deck never saw the tables in Hawaii. The first was time. The Last Chance Qualifier tournament was a best 2 of 3 format with a 60 minute time limit. In testing, this deck came back from even 5 prize card deficits several times. However, we knew the standard 30 minute time limit was usually exceeded in doing so. Trying to win two games with it would be very difficult in 60 minutes, especially when you factor in “gamesmanship”, which is Pokemon’s polite turn used for those who waste time and stall to win by staying ahead in prizes. It is rampant in the Masters division, especially at big events. The Fincastle Gym Leaders hope that there is a very itchy seat somewhere with a long wait destined for all those who play this way, but concede that it is a very unfortunate part of the game. The fact of the matter is that this deck would have likely fallen to a prize count loss in the LCQ format.
The reason Logan did not take it into the Junior field was his comfort level with the deck. Time is usually not an issue with Juniors, as most have not been corrupted by their evil parents or older siblings (it is usually harder to get Juniors to slow down and not rush). However, Logan grew frustrated with the deck at times. As you can imagine, a deck like this is very prone to miss-plays and the person running the deck must be 100% comfortable with the deck to be good with it. Not losing your cool when you give up that 3rd and sometimes 4th prize card is a difficult thing to do. As the trip to Hawaii grew closer, Logan knew it was time to turn to something else. The last thing you want to do traveling to an event like the World Championships is enter with a deck you are not confident with. Logan took a chance at Nationals and it did not pay off (almost did, though). Logan helped develop the deck he eventually entered and we both knew it was the right play for him.
Ah, what could have been…. an army of angry Groudon, shielded under the “Blessed” wings of that never-played “Jubilee Pokemon”. Joel had the deck packed away in the event that he made it through the LCQ and into the main draw (at which point you could play a different deck). In single game matches, it could have been the deck that shook up the tournament. If nothing else, it would have been priceless to play and watch the horror on your opponent’s face once you revealed what it did.
We had great fun making the deck and even frustrating each other with it at home. We wanted to keep the idea secret and preserve the surprise factor in case we played it, so we unfortunately never got to test it out at league. If CMT died with the shift in formats, then this deck loses all of Mew‘s 9 lives. Virtually everything that makes it work (from Vileplume/Mew/Togekiss to the vital Supporters) goes away with the rotation. This deck is bound for Zombieland. Any of you that play Unlimited format, have a go at it. For the Gym, it is another one for the books. Check back in a day or two to see what Gym Leader Marthe came up with (another cool rogue idea). Hope you enjoyed the read… see you at the Gym!