What to play… Genesect… Pyroar… Yveltal… Plasma….. What do you do? What do you choose? When you are just playing Pokemon with friends, or at league, or at a local tournament, it’s not that big of a deal. You play whatever version of one of these decks you have. You win some games, you lose some games. You have fun with the wins, you write off the losses by exclaiming what was prized, or how you did not draw anything. If you want to see those questions above gain a little weight, imagine thinking about them in the context of preparing for the World Championships. You look at what is popular and what has won at major tournaments. You look at counters to all of the same decks. You look at everything that you have played in the last season (and beyond). You have one chance to get it right. This is a process that we at the Gym have gone through 3 times now and, well, it ain’t easy. Tempers flare, arguments break out and tears are shed. That’s all part of preparing for an event like the World Championships. We wouldn’t trade it for anything.
As soon as we settled on the decks that we would play at this year’s National Championships, we went right to work on building and testing decks for Worlds. We looked at the decks that Georgia has played recently and which ones she was the best with. Our 1st stop… Plasma. Georgia won the Philadelphia Regional with her Kyurem/Deoxys/Keldeo deck. She picked up wins at City Championships and league challenges with a speed-Lugia build that was insanely fast. So, we sat down and talked and asked her what she want to try for Worlds. Georgia said, “Pyroar”. Gym Leader Joel said, “Huh…”.
So, we start building some Pyroar decks. At the same time, we pushed the Plasma idea, knowing that the earlier builds would have to add some answer to deal with Pyroar, as we thought it would be popular after its showing at Nats. We started with a basic Kyurem build, working in a 2-2 line of the Plasma Beartic. Beartic, with a “Muscle Band” could wipe Pyroar off the field by simply attaching a “Rainbow Energy” and activating its “Powerful Rage” attack. Yay, problem solved. Not really. The line really made the smooth running Plasma engine “clunky”. Yes, it squashed Pyroar decks, but it staggered against everything else. Relying on a pair of 130 Hp attackers seemed risky in a meta game that can deal that much damage so easily in a turn. So, we kept on building Pyroar decks.
9 different builds, to be exact. We tried Pyroar with Charizard EX, with Reshiram, with Raichu, with Electrode, with Jirachi EX, with Delphox, with Druddigon, with Mewtwo EX. I think we even tried it with a little Bisquik (if you are not from the South, you should know that you can make just about anything with a little Bisquik). We did not like any of them. And most importantly, neither did Georgia. The closest we got to being settled with the deck was a build w/Electrode and Raichu, and to be honest, that build would’ve have been a pretty decent play, but we did not like its consistency. At least once in about every 4 or 5 games, it just did not set up and got crushed. With a little over 3 weeks to go until Worlds, we gave Pyroar the bird (you don’t know how badly we wanted add a picture of Georgia doing that here, but just felt like that would resurface down the road someday at completely the wrong time, like a Supreme Court appointment hearing).
While all this testing was going on, Joel was constantly looking through his 100+ lists, searching for one thing…. Speed. Speed on an overwhelming level. Something that by turn 2 would have your opponent frantically looking for an answer. The answer was there in the middle of his decks on the PTGCO with this brief title, “M2/Dex”.
Let’s look at the final list, then we’ll talk about some changes we made to Joel’s original build. The key to this deck and why we went with it was simple, Georgia loved it. Everything in this list was familiar. She knows the Plasma engine like the back of her hand, and Mewtwo EX has been in almost every non-Plasma deck she has ever used. The marriage of the 2 was perfect for her. Here is Georgia’s 2014 Worlds list, “Fall Out Girl”.
Fall Out Girl:
- 3 – Mewtwo EX
- 4 – Deoxys EX
- 1 – Genesect EX
- 1 – Latias EX
- 2 – Virbank City Gym
- 3 – Bicycle
- 4 – Team Plasma Badge
- 4 – Hypnotoxic Laser
- 3 – Colress Machine
- 2 – Team Plasma Ball
- 2 – Ultra Ball
- 1 – Startling Megaphone
- 2 – Switch
- 1 – ACESPEC Scramble Switch
- 4 – Shauna
- 3 – Skyla
- 2 – Shadow Triad
- 4 – N
- 2 – Blend GRPD
- 4 – Prism
- 4 – Plasma
- 4 – Double Colorless
Here’s a quick rundown of how to play this deck. Attach a “Plasma Badge” to Mewtwo EX, attach energy, use “Colress Machine” to attach more energy, bench a bunch of Deoxys EX to add more damage, knock stuff out. Repeat if necessary.
Originally, this list was just 4 Mewtwo EX , 4 Deoxys EX. Mewtwo EX (M2, so I don’t have to keep typing that) has been so good for so long, he is just too good not to use. What this list does is takes what M2 does and magnifies it… and then adds “Lasers”. If that is not a big ol’ heapin’ helpin’ of awesome, then we don’t know what is. The 1st version also had 4 “Colress Machine”, an extra “Switch”, a little different supporter line and no “Bicycle”. The removal of “Professor Juniper” with the addition of “Bicycle” in this already item-heavy list is what really made this list take off.
Everything in this list is crucial and cannot be thrown away with “Juniper”, especially the ACESPEC, as it is what turns 1 loaded M2 into a M2 that is unstoppable. What we found in testing was that after playing a “N” or a “Shauna”, you could usually play your hand down to almost nothing and then play “Bicycle” to draw 3 or 4 more cards. These turns would often net you more cards than “Juniper” without throwing away anything. There are many ways to recover things from the discard pile in the game, but this deck had no room for them.
The original list also played basic Psychic energy, which is a better option. However, as we started to think of how to address Pyroar decks, Latias EX jumped out as the overwhelmingly obvious answer, especially with 4 “Team Plasma Badge” already in the build. A “Badge” on Latias gave it the ability to easily 1-hit Pyroar. To make Latias fit, all we had to do was shift the energy to the Prism/Blend assortment. We knew that mixing both basic Fire and Psychic energy into the list would slow it down.
The last “tweak” came in the form of adding something for the catcher/gust effect, as the original list played nothing of the sort. It was a toss-up on whether to play “Lysandre” or add a Genesect EX. We went with the latter, as “Lysandre” sometimes got in the way of getting cards with “Bicycle”. Plus, we liked the idea, especially with the energy shift, of having Genesect EX as a back-up, last resort attacker.
The last thing we had to do was name this monstrosity. The name came from the 1st few times that Georgia was play testing it. She hesitated a little on where the best place to attach energy was as the game progressed. We wanted her to storm out of the gates with this deck, keep the pedal pinned to the floor and just run over whatever was across from her (gotta remember to lay off that mentality when she starts driving). It became a running joke, that when those moments arose, and Georgia hesitated, for Joel to run over to the computer and play, “My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark (Light Em Up)”, from Fall Out Boy. Come on, you know how it goes….. “Light Em Up, Up, Up. Light Em Up, Up, Up. Light Em Up, Up, Up. I’m on FIRE!”
That is the mantra that drives this deck. Light your opponent up and see how they respond. As we described in the last post, almost all of the 1st games of Georgia’s matches resulted in her sweeping her opponent’s field without losing a prize card. Unfortunately for Georgia, the best 2-of-3 match play gave her opponents opportunities to recover and try to counter the deck. Props to all the players she faced that were able to do so and take game 2 and game 3 from her. That’s why they were at the World Championships, because they are the best in the game.
We were obviously onto something with our build that someone in Japan saw as well. If you look at the winning Juniors list on Pokemon.com, Haruto Kobayashi, the newly crowned Juniors World Champion, played a list that was, while different in several ways, running along the same lines as “Fall Out Girl”. He blended Plasma with Latias EX, maxing out his energy options while using “Lasers” to a lesser extent, but still relying on the same ACESPEC to swing games drastically in his favor. His list gave him a few more options than the list that Georgia played, but contains several small counts of different cards, which meant that he had to be very precise in the decisions that he made. Haruto made the right calls all day and has the title to back it up. As lovers of originality and innovation, we at the Gym were thrilled to see a list like his take the top spot.
Fall Out Girl takes a hit with the rotation mainly in the energy department. It is not a huge hit, however, as that portion of the deck can be adjusted with ease. We feel that it still has lots of potential in the coming year. Where its place may fall in the format depends on how the format develops. One thing we know is that if you sit down across from Georgia or one of us and hear us humming a song that you just can’t place, you better buckle up. See you at the Gym!