A Look At The Format – Part 3 – Hydregion & Klinklang

Today we are going continue our look at the format by looking at 2 decks, that while different in make-up, function in very similar ways.  These 2 decks are Darkrai/Hydregion and Klinklang/EX.  Both decks thrive on using the Stage 2’s in each deck to move your energy around between attackers which allows you to accomplish several things.  It allows you to instantly power up an attacker that you just played down and take advantage of a type-advantage that you may have over your opponent.  It also allows you to heal off all damage from anyone on your field with “Max Potion” without losing the energy attached to them.  These decks are often slow and a little clunky, but once set, you may sweep the rest of the game without losing a prize card.  The keys to these decks are knowing your builds and how to play them.  They are very easy to misplay.  In the right hands, these decks can be a beast.

First we will look at the deck that came to us from Japan and had instant success in US events, Darkrai/Hydregion.  Of the two decks, this deck is easier to play because the energy requirements are more straight forward and because the deck revolves around Darkrai EX, whose ability can give all of your Pokemon a free retreat cost, eliminating concerns about “Pokemon Catcher” being used to stall out your progress.  Here is a pretty general list.

  • 3 – Deino
  • 1 – Zweilous
  • 3 – Hydregionhyd
  • 3 – Darkrai EX
  • 1 – Mewtwo EX
  • 1 – Shaymin EX
  • 1 – Sigilyph
  • 2 – Sableye
  • 4 – N
  • 4 – Professor Juniper
  • 3 – Bianca
  • 4 – Pokemon Catcher
  • 3 – Rare Candy
  • 3 – Dark Patch
  • 3 – Eviolite
  • 3 – Max Potion
  • 2 – Level Ball
  • 3 – Ultra Ball
  • 1 – Computer Search ACESPEC
  • 8 – Darkness Energy
  • 4 – Blend Energy (GRPD)

One of the first things to consider is which EX Pokemon (or other regular Pokemon) you will put in your build.  The “Blend” Energy used in this build opens up your options to all Psychic, Grass, Fire and Darkness types.  This gives you a nice list of powerful attackers that you can customize this deck with.  To name a few, Cresselia EX, Reshiram EX, Entei EX and Regigigas EX are all viable options.  Many players pick Cresselia EX over Mewtwo EX, despite the high energy cost, because after Cresselia attacks, it has no weakness on the next turn, meaning no return KO from an opposing Mewtwo EX.  Plus, Cresselia EX heals itself 10 damage between turns, which can turn a potential 2 hit KO for your opponent into a 3 turn KO (which you can always eliminate with the well timed Max Potion).  Falling behind in prizes never hurts in this deck as a properly timed Shaymin EX and “N” can close out games for you very quickly.  With popular decks like Blastoise/Keldeo and anything with Terrakion (regular or EX) being weak to Grass-types, Shaymin can easily be the MVP of this deck.  Those afraid of Shaymin’s low HP (for an EX) have opted for the Emerging Powers Virizion instead, as it can one-hit any of the Grass-weak Pokemon.

Without dwelling too long on this deck, let’s look at the other prize-denial deck, Klinklang/EX.  This deck does not designate a second party like Darkrai/Hydregion because your options in this one are wide open.  Here’s a list first, then we’ll talk about some options.

  • 4 – Klink
  • 1 – Klang
  • 3 – Klinklang
  • 2 – Keldeo  EXkk
  • 1 – Registeel EX
  • 2 – Terrakion EX
  • 1 – Darkrai EX
  • 1 – Black Kyurem EX
  • 4 – N
  • 3 – Skyla
  • 3 – Professor Juniper
  • 3 – Cheren
  • 1 – Computer Search ACESPEC
  • 3 – Rare Candy
  • 2 – Heavy Ball
  • 2 – Ultra Ball
  • 4 – Max Potion
  • 3 – Pokemon Catcher
  • 2 – Eviolite
  • 2 – Switch
  • 4 – Prism Energy
  • 4 – Blend Energy (WLFM)
  • 5 – Metal Energy

I have built versions of this deck and played them and have to admit they are great fun.  I like the deck because with the other “Blend” energy (WLMF), you can play a pretty crazy mix of characters in this deck.  The version I played (before Keldeo EX joined the party) contained Kyogre EX, Groudon EX and Entei EX.  This deck, like Hydregion, uses Darkrai EX (1 or 2 depending on your preference) to provide free retreat but relies on the 4 Prism Energy to provide the Darkness Energy necessary to retreat.  Now, with Keldo EX, this deck is gains another “out” from opponents “catching” your Klinklang, as Keldeo can “Rush In” and attack.  A good Water-type attacker is definitely a necessity in this deck.  As much as I like earlier options like Kyurem EX or Kyogre EX, it is hard to argue that either of them is a stronger option than Keldeo.

Some of the various options for this deck (some good, some not so much) are Landorus EX, Groudon EX, Kyruem EX, Kyogre EX, Black Kyurem EX, Registeel EX, Regigigas EX, Entei EX and even Zekrom EX.  Those that discard energy with their attack (such as Landorus & Zekrom) can be harmful to the deck if used early.  However, 1 copy of a surprise attacker like either of those 2 could completely change or end a game if used at the right moment.

The existence of Keldeo in so many decks cuts down on the usefulness of the Fighting-types that could go into this deck.  Groudon EX and Landorus EX suffer from that Water-type weakness, which makes them easy targets for an opposing Keldeo EX.  The key to playing this deck (or Darkrai/Hydregion) is to keep your energy in play.  Anything that can get one-hit while sitting there with 3-4 energies attached to it is devastating to these decks.  You can’t build either of these decks to be immune to all types, but you want to minimize the ways in which you are vulnerable.  With that being said, Terrakion is probably the best choice.  Black Kyurem EX is a very nice addition to this deck, as he deals some massive damage and with the Dragon-type weakness, is only in trouble against Rayquaza/Eels (and at the same time, is a nice counter to Rayquaza, as all the Dragons are weak to each other).

Both of these decks take some practice.  Misplays are often made in where you attach energy or which Pokemon you bench and when.  Versions of both of these have won multiple events over the last year (more by Darkrai/Hydregion).  Both of these decks are completely wrecked by “Hammer” decks, as they can sit patiently and discard your special energies until you have none left and then roll over your hapless attackers.  However, thanks to energy accelerators like Blastoise/Keldeo and the Eels, both of which dominate the Hammer decks, the Hammers are seeing less and less play.  Both of these decks have some interesting new Pokemon to try out from the coming Plasma Storm set.  We will touch on those in our final article on the format.

We’ve got two more decks to look at with you and we will try to get these articles out over the next day or two.  We’ll look at Darkrai & Friends and then Ho-oh/Tornadus EX to wrap things up.  We hope to see lots of you at today’s pre-release!  See you at the Gym!

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