Fincastle Gym Deck Spotlight #1: Manny’s Buffet

As we’ve described before, Fincastle Gym Leader Joel loves the mechanic of the PTCGO (online game), as it allows for a quick creation of a deck idea as soon as we think of them.  Back in the day, we had to scratch ideas down on paper, grumpthrowing them together and then eventually cutting the idea down to 60 cards.  From there, we had to discuss the idea and see if it sounded like it was worth making into a real deck (and we liked it…).  Because of limited card supplies, many (most) ideas never made it to actual card form.  However, with the PTCGO, there is no limit to how many virtual decks you can make and try out (at least we hope there isn’t).  Gym Leader Joel’s account has swelled to over 200 decks, as he tries out anything that seems like a good idea.  Within these 200+ decks are decks that are terrible, decks that a fun to play and decks that have won multiple Battle Roads, City, State and Regional Championships, as well as decks that have competed with the best at 3 different World Championships.

The Fincastle Gym will be presenting a handful of these decks to you over the next week or so.  We’ll begin with 2 of our decks that we played at the 2015 National Championships, 1 in the main event and 1 in side events.  From there, we’ll look at a few that are hopefully some ideas that you haven’t seen before and seem to be pretty competitive, as we win many games and tournaments online with them.  The good thing about all of these decks is that they will still be able to see play next season in the Expanded Format events, which include all of the Regional Championship events (and surely some League Challenges).  The Expanded Format, in case you missed the Play!Pokemon announcement last week, will be Black & White-On for the 2015-16 season and will play a much more significant role than it did last year.

The first deck that we’ll look at is the deck that both Gym Leaders Joel and Logan played in their respective divisions (masters and seniors) at the National Championships in Indy.  This deck was a fusion of 2 different decks that Gym Leader Joel enjoyed playing recently (which were hard to come by, as the current Toad format is the least favorite that we experienced since we began mrfusplaying the TCG).  Gym Leader Joel thoroughly enjoyed his Manectric EX/Crobat/Head Ringer deck, as it is fast, consistent and good against everything except the 2 main Fighting-type decks in the format at the moment (Donphan and Landorus EX/Crobat).  While not so sure about Donphan, we knew that there would be a lot of L/Bat at Nats.  The other deck that Joel liked was very similar.  His Wobbuffet/Crobat/Sigilyph seemed to have good match up with everything.  However, games against some of the popular “Mega’s”, especially Rayquaza EX, could get away from you if you had a slow start.

The period that we had to test prior to Nats was pretty brief.  However, during that time, Joel began to consider merging the 2 decks, but wasn’t sure what part should be the focus.  Manectric‘s speed or Wobbuffet‘s ability lock.  As he tinkered with the idea, the ability lock seemed more important, as shutting off Shaymin EX’s “Set Up” ability is crippling to several major decks.  Wherever this manniibuild may have fallen short, one glaring mistake showed itself in almost every 1 of Gym Leader Joel’s matches (we’ll get to that).  Also, just as a note, every deck we have in the PTCGO with Manectric EX is named “Manny _____” (filled in with the other half of the combo).  Joel is saving you all references to Manny Fernandez and late 70’s/early 80’s wrestling, as he’d feel lucky if 2 or 3 of you had any idea what he was talking about.  Bonus points to anyone familiar with “The Flying Burrito” (and no, that’s not something served at Taco Bell, or in an airport…, maybe something you get after eating at either…..).  Signature wrestling moves aside, let’s take a look at the deck.


Manny’s Buffet:

  • 3 – Crobat (PHF 33)
  • 4 – Golbat (PHF 32)
  • 4 – Zubat (PLS 53)
  • 4 – Wobbuffet (PHF 36)
  • 2 – Manectric EX (PHF 23/113)


  • 3 – N
  • 3 – Shauna
  • 2 – Pokemon Fan Club
  • 1 – Colress
  • 2 – Lysandre
  • 1 – AZ
  • 2 – Acro Bike
  • 3 – Trainer’s Mail
  • 3 – VS Seeker
  • 2 – Ultra Ball
  • 2 – Super Scoop Up
  • 1 – ASCEPEC Scoop Up Cyclone
  • 3 – Muscle Band
  • 3 – Head Ringer (TFHG)
  • 4 – Dimension Valley


  • 4 – Lightning Energy
  • 4 – Psychic Energy


manniWe won’t spend much time on the strategy of the deck, as it should be fairly obvious.  Use the “bats” to either pile up damage (10 less than half the maximum HP of the defending pokemon) to set up KO’s for Wobbuffet, or spread damage around to set them up for Manectric EX.  Most opponents would oblige Manectric EX by attaching a tool card for him (activating the extra damage from “Assault Laser”).  However, the 3 “Head Ringer” cards were always there to do the same if necessary.  Thanks to “Dimension Valley”, Crobat (and on one occasion, Golbat) could attack for free and wrap up any KO’s we were barely missing.

neverThere were 2 reasons that Gym Leader Joel did not win more with this deck (of which only 1 was related to the build).  The 1st was that Joel was too hard-headed in playing out games with this deck in situations where he should have scooped a game to move the match along.  Games seemed to go 1 of 2 ways.  Joel would either set up fast and destroy whatever he was playing (everything from Toad to Fairies to Night March to Rayquaza EX, as well as a Mega Gallade and a Latios EX deck), or stumble out of the gates, often going 5 or 6 turns before ever really getting anything going.  Even in the slow start games, kennyJoel would play his way back to near victory, only to lose by a prize card.  These matches netted 5 ties that could/should have been wins.  Joel would’ve scooped any of these bad games if he did not see a way to win, but the opportunity to squeak out a win always seemed to be there.  Gym Leader Logan opened with 2 ties but never saw one after that.  Logan seemed to play the deck better than Joel, but he experienced the same build problem that Joel did.

wobaaThat problem with this build is the energy count.  Both Gym Leader seemed to lean more on Wobbuffet to carry their games (except against Rayquaza EX).  The Manectric EX/”Head Ringer” combo made the Ray match-up almost laughable.  The unfortunate part of that was that Joel only played it once, while Logan thrashed it twice.  However, in several of Joel’s ties and his only 2 losses, Joel had the game in hand, with damage on a defending EX, Wobbuffet in the active position and nothing but Lightning energy in his hand.  The 4-4 energy split should have been either 5-3 or 6-2 in favor of Psychic energy.  Yes, the Lightning energy was necessary at times, but never as often as the Psychic energy.  Manectric EX could still carry his weight with a single Psychic energy and a “Muscle Band” attached, spreading damage and setting up KO’s for Wobbuffet.  Watching wins fade into ties while be stared at by those shiny little Lightning Energy was like being slapped in the face, match after match.

5_9_3_3This flaw would’ve likely been identified and fixed with a little more testing.  That’s been a problem for the Gym Leaders all year, though.  We haven’t had the time to make playing the TCG a priority, thus our testing has been limited mostly to Gym Leader Joel working out ideas in the PTCGO.  Most of our favorite decks from earlier in the season were killed by Toad.  We like how “Manny’s Buffet” played and like its match-ups across the board.  We only wish we had picked up on the flaw in time.

The next deck we will look at is the deck that Gym Leader Joel wished he had played in the main event at Nats.  He played it in side events throughout the day on Saturday at Nats, winning 4 events and finishing 2nd in a 5th event with it (going 14-1 with it all-in-all).  Hindsight, like they say, is 20/20.  Check back soon and read all about it.  Until then, see you at the Gym!


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