A Look At The Format – Part 2 – Eelektrik Variants

dynaToday we will look at the 2nd deck that consistently makes its way towards the top tables in competitive events.  It is kind of difficult to put a name to this deck, as different versions of this deck have been winning events since the winter of 2011.  Originally, the deck was Zek/Eels, or Zekrom/Eelektrik, usually paired with Thundurus or Tornadus from Emerging PowersZekrom saw its first competitive play in the ZPST donk deck that was designed to power up Zekrom on your first turn and hit for 120 damage, ending many games before the opponent ever played their 1st card.  The Eelektrik version that followed provided an almost polar-opposite style deck by being slow out of the gates but providing great late game consistency.  As you’ve probably noticed by now, that is the 2nd reference to consistency and this deck.  Subsequent sets have done nothing but add more powerful attacking options and cards to solidify the build.  The deck’s consistency is why it remains one of the top decks of the format.  Lets look at how it has evolved over the past year and a half.

Since Zekrom/Eelektrk, Pokemon has released 4 sets and is about to add a 5th set in the fast approaching Plasma Storm set.  At the center of these sets has been the return of the EX Pokemon, returning in the form of big Basics rather than the Stage 2 EX characters from many years ago.  Many of these have found their way into Eelektrik decks.  Basically, anything that either uses Lightning energy or Colorless energy to attack will work with “Eels”.  We can not cover every variation of this deck that we’ve seen without making this a 5 or 6 part article.

This is a pretty solid version of what the deck has turned into over the last year and is much closer to what people were playing during the Winter Regionals.

  • 4 – Tynamo
  • 4 – Eelektrik
  • 2 – Zekrom
  • 2 – Rayquaza EX
  • 2 – Mewtwo EX
  • 1 – Raikou EX
  • 4 – Professor Juniper
  • 4 – N
  • 2 – Bianca
  • 2 – Skyla
  • 4 – Pokemon Catcher
  • 4 – Switch
  • 3 – Level Ball
  • 3 – Ultra Ball
  • 1 – Computer Search (ACESPEC)
  • 2 – Skyarrow Bridge
  • 1 – Energy Retreival
  • 1 – Super Rod
  • 1 – Tool Scrapper
  • 4 – Fire Energy
  • 9 – Lightning Energy

This list has pretty good coverage in that it has a good variety of attackers.  We have seen versions that just attacked with Mewtwo, some that focus on Rayquaza EX, some that try to snipe everything with Raikou EX, some that use more Colorless characters like Tornadus EX and Bouffalant (DRX) and some that still use the original attackers.  While not being as common, some players include Zekrom EX, Regigigas EX and even Keldeo EX in their builds.

Regardless of the build, the keys do doing well with Eelektrik decks are getting Lightning Energy into the discard pile early (with Ultra Ball, Computer Search or Juniper) and getting Eelektriks on your bench as quickly as possible.  Once this is accomplished, you can use “Dynamotor” to charge up the attacker that best suites the match-up that you are facing and just out-hit your opponent.  zekRayquaza EX gives you the ability to take out anything in one shot.  The regular Zekrom can prove very valuable to counter speedy Tornadus EX decks, as it can one-hit it.  Zekrom can also prove to be a game-saver when someone plays down that pesky, anti-EX Sigilyph.  Mewtwo EX may or may not be necessary… the only advice that I can add on that is that every time I’ve left it out of a deck, I’ve played at least 1 game where I wish I had it.  Fighting-type decks are problems for both Zekrom and the Eels.  Rayquaza and Mewtwo both provide solid counters the Fighting guys.   Raikou EX is another optional addition to this deck.  His usefulness is sometimes very situational, but late in a game, that 100 damage to anyone can often make taking that last prize card much easier.

As we have seen, there are 2 major threats to this deck.  The first is that ability killer, Garbodor.  Shutting off the “Dynamotor” ability locks this deck down.  “Tool Scrapper” remains that easiest way out of the lock.  Raikou EX can also come in handy in this match-up as it can keep sniping Garbodor/Trubbish off your opponent’s bench, allowing you to save your “catchers” for the big guys.  The other major weakness for this deck is starting with a lone Tynamo.  Every event we have attended, we see the same thing.  The tournament organizer begins the round and 30 seconds later, hands are going up to report “results”, as one player starts with only that Tynamo, looses the coin flip (making them go 2nd) and gets “donked”.  Landorus EX, Torandus EX and Mewtwo EX are 3 examples of several Pokemon that can KO that 40 HP Tynamo on the 1st turn.  Many players have started adding Ditto (BCR) to their build to try and eliminate this scenario.  70 HP Ditto can survive most 1st turn attacks, then safely “Transform” into Tynamo and evolve into Eelektrik on the 2nd turn.  The  opening few turns are the most treacherous time for this deck.  Much like Blastoise/Keldeo, once this deck is set, it is hard to beat.

You could go to the next big event and pick out 10 players playing Eelektrik variants and look at their decks and see 10 completely different builds.  That is the beauty of this deck… that you can customize it to suite what you like to play and what cards you have.  You may have to adjust the build to counter common decks in your local meta game.  The build listed above may not win the World Championship, but it should give you a good place to start.  This deck is not super expensive to build, as all the EX’s except Raikou can be purchased in the promo tins.  Just about everything else can be obtained easily through trades.  Ebay remains the source we use the most to pick up single cards.  If you can’t find Eelektrik anywhere else, there is a 3-Tynamo, 2-Eelektrik line in the “Furious Knights” theme deck.

We hope you are all finding these article helpful in understanding the game at the moment and maybe in helping you strengthen your own builds.  As a side note, if you are not familiar with the cards mentioned, we suggest you look under the “Researching Tower” tab on the PokeGym website.  It has all of the cards mentioned listed in alphabetical order and brings up a picture of the card you click on the right.  In our next article, we will look at 2 similar decks that focus on prize denial, meaning decks built with the goal of keeping you from knocking out any of their attackers.  We’ll look at Darkrai/Hydregion and Klinklang/EX and how these 2 different decks do basically the same thing but in different ways.  See you at the Gym!

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