Today we are going to look at the 2nd deck that the Gym used at Nationals, this one used on Saturday in the side events by Gym Leader Joel. Joel opened Saturday playing a straight Wobbuffet/Crobat deck in a tournament where the winner took home a Wii-U, but lost in the 2nd round. As described in our last article, the deck featured in this article, lovingly dubbed “The Jerk”, seemed after the fact, like the deck he should have played in the main event on Friday and the Wii-U tournament (ahhh, hindsight… thus the “20/20” portion of the nickname). However, with the diversity of decks in the field, this one may or may not have fared any better. Considering that someone played to the finals with a deck (Wailord) that basically did nothing, it’s tough to say what could’ve worked better. What we can say is that if Joel had played the same decks that he faced on Friday with “The Jerk”, it definitely would’ve been the better call.
So, why this one? Well, every deck that the gym leader faced on both days relied heavily on abilities, either to draw and get set up or to support the core of their strategies. Both Seismitoad decks and Rayquaza EX decks relied on Shaymin EX to draw. Landorus/Crobat decks needed the extra damage from their “bats”. Fairy and Steel decks need Aromatisse and Bronzong to provide the energy support for their decks. A variety of decks used “Safeguard” pokemon to stall out EX-heavy decks. “Night March” relied both on Mew EX’s ability to attack and Shaymin EX’s to draw. To all these abilities, Joel’s deck says, “Nay, Nay”, “Nada”, “Nein”, “fuhgeddaboudit” or, staying with the theme, “Die, gas-pumper”!
The “special purpose” of this deck, which worked very well in his matches, is to shut off all abilities from the start and never let them enter the game. Of course to do this, he had to rely on solid attackers that functioned well without any abilities of their own. To Joel, the best options were those who could use some of the Fighting-type support, in this case, Landorus EX and Lucario EX. Landorus can do so much damage for 1 energy, then use “Max Potion” to reset and keep attacking. Lucario EX was there for the Seismitoad match-up, as he can out-hit Toad and provide all the draw support you need with his 2nd attack, “Corkscrew Smash”. To catch someone off guard, Wobbuffet could (and often did) attack and finish off anyone with damage, thanks to the 2 psychic energies.
Let’s look at the list and then we’ll get into why this seemed to work so well and the reason for the nickname.
- 3 – Landorus EX (BCR 89/144)
- 3 – Lucario EX (FFI 54/107)
- 3 – Wobbuffet (PHF 36)
- 3 – Trubbish (PLS 65)
- 3 – Garbodor (Garbotoxin)
- 4 – N
- 3 – Shauna
- 1 – Colress
- 2 – Lysandre
- 3 – Ultra Ball
- 3 – VS Seeker
- 3 – Trainers’ Mail
- 2 – Acro Bike
- 1 – ACESPEC Computer Search
- 1 – Max Potion
- 1 – Switch
- 3 – Float Stone
- 3 – Silent Lab
- 2 – Head Ringer (TFHG)
- 3 – Muscle Band
- 4 – Strong Energy
- 4 – Fighting
- 2 – Psychic
Like we said, if you allow abilities to enter the game against this deck, you give up any advantage you have. However, a start with either an active Wobbuffet or a “Silent Lab” (more often than not, with both), locked them down until you could evolve to Garbodor, if you even needed to. The only match-up that really needed Garbodor was anything with “bats”, as “Lab” and Wobbuffet covered everything else.
What blew Gym Leader Joel’s mind, was how often opponent’s misplayed against this deck. This is where the “Jerk” portion of the nickname came from. Early in almost every game (one’s that used Shaymin EX), player after player would bench Shaymin EX and announce its ability, “Set Up”, with either “Lab” or Wobbuffet active. Once you reminded them that they could not use the ability, that painful question would always follow. “I didn’t mean to do that…, can I take that back?” Didn’t mean to do that, huh….. meaning that the card slipped out of your hand, your sneeze sounded like “Set Up” and you were drawing cards to wipe your nose with?
With a deck like this, that answer has to be, “No.”
Is that a “jerk” thing to do? Feel free to judge that one for yourself. If you’re playing a game at league and trying to help someone prepare for a competition, a situation like that is a great teaching opportunity. If you playing someone at Nationals with 4 full art Toad and 4 full art Shaymin, sorry, “but tonight, you belong to me, just a little ol’ me…” (insert trumpet solo here, just don’t get any spit on you). Just 1 bench-sitting Shaymin EX that provided no draw support was usually enough to swing games in your favor. Whether you ended up sniping it and taking 2 easy prizes or whether you opponent decided to waste a turn (sometimes giving up their item lock) and attack with “Sky Return” to get the mistake off the field, games swung on that misplay. To further the trip into “jerkdom”, the 2 “Head Ringer” (if only I could have squeezed in 4) often sealed the deal, delaying attacks from quick hitters like Rayquaza EX or the item lock from Toad.
Wins did not come terribly quick with “The Jerk”. The only fast win came over a “Night March” deck, whose owner opened with 2 Mew EX (that could never attack) and made the same Shaymin error as others. Interestingly enough, the only loss suffered with this deck came at the hands of another “Night March” deck. The player possessed a “Top 8” mat from the Senior division (presumably his) and was a very savvy opponent. He had the added insight of watching Joel dismantle a Steel-type deck in the game before their game. This opponent knew entering the game to fight with Pumpkaboo (fighting-resistant) and to never lay down an EX. Despite his insight, Joel had a win in hand until his own major brain-fart of the day. Joel, for no reason other than to get it out of hand, benched a Lucario EX (not needed in this match-up, as Landorus EX can carry the load alone). The psychic-weak Lucario provided 2 easy prizes for his opponent’s Pumpkaboo, which proved costly in a game that came down to 1 prize each. If not for that poor choice, Joel would have piloted ”The Jerk” to a perfect 15-0 record on the day. As it stood, the 14-1 mark seemed to make the deck appear like the deck he should have chosen for Day 1.
The format for side events (8 man pick-up tournaments) at Nationals was the good old single game (30 minute, plus-3 turns) format where ties did not rule/ruin the day. This deck is definitely a deck that thrives in this format. In the single-game format, your creativity in deck building matters, as a unique idea can give you a huge upper hand when you catch your opponent off guard. One can only assume that an opponent would not repeat the Shaymin mistake in a best 2 of 3 match. However, a win in the opening game could be all that is necessary, as a 2nd game may never conclude before time runs out. That all depends on what you are playing against.
Gym Leader Joel had this deck on the back burner for the World Championships as an option for either Gym Leader Georgia or Gym Leader Logan if either player was able to wrap up an invite at Nationals. The mistakes that Joel witnessed Masters division players make are usually magnified in the younger divisions. It does take some patience to play, but is strong in the right hands, especially if you take full advantage of opponent mistakes.
Check back in a day or 2, as we look at some fun decks that can definitely catch your opponent off guard. We hope you are enjoying the series. Check our “Upcoming Events” tab for details on upcoming Ancient Origins pre-releases, both this weekend and next. Until then, see you at the Gym!