Today the Fincastle Gym will present its last deck in our spotlight series leading up to Worlds. In these series, we normally try to look at decks that are kind of off the wall or sometimes just hard counters to what is popular. However, as all of the Gym Leaders missed invites to Worlds this year (which seems odd in retrospect as this year’s entry requirements are as light as we have ever seen them), we are posting some decks that we would be looking at this time of the year as potential plays. Approaching Worlds, we look back at what was popular at our Nationals, what was played overseas at various foreign Nationals and what has been strong all year. Based off what we have seen, we know exactly what we’d be working on if we were attending (which we will talk about at the end of this article). However, since that idea is “un-built” and un-tested (and we don’t have the time to test for an event we ain’t going to), we will showcase Gym Leader Joel’s favorite “toolbox” deck, which is another of his online favorites that never hit the table at an actual event (but probably should have), dubbed “Vizzini”.
Back in June of 2013, we showcased a fun deck named “Nepeta (aka Catnip)”, which was a fairly simple Mewtwo EX/Leafeon build, aimed at punishing opponent’s energy attachments, as the more they attached, the more powerful the deck became. This was a great counter strategy at the time, as Blastoise/Keldeo was very popular and the 1-2 punch from the 2 cats would slaughter that deck. If we recall correctly in that article, Gym Leader Joel related battling Leafeon to one of our family’s favorite movie quotes from The Princess Bride, in which the character, Vizzini, pines about “land wars in Asia” and battling a Sicilian when death is on the line (right up until he dies from drinking his own poison). Vizzini may not be the brightest arch-enemy to ever hit the big screen, but he is a classic, nonetheless.
What has changed regarding Leafeon since then? Not a dag-gone thing, other than now, many players have come to recognize Leafeon as a solid counter to multiple decks. However, with relatively low energy hitters like Manectric EX and Mega Rayquaza EX, Leafeon can’t carry the load by itself. Inconceivable, you may say, but not when you add the rest of the cast. “Vizzini” was crafted to combine the strength of Leafeon with a trio of partners that make any game a net-decker’s nightmare. With “Vizzini”, if you recognize what you are playing against quickly, you can shift to the counter of your choice and ruin your opponent’s day. If you are really racking your brain about what to play, please consider this as an alternative to suicide. Let’s look at the list first.
- 3 – Suicune (PLB 20)
- 3 – Pikachu (XY 42)
- 3 – Raichu (XY 43)
- 3 – Eevee (FFI 80)
- 3 – Leafeon (PLF 11)
- 2 – Terrakion (NVI 73, BCR151, LTR84)
- 4 – Professor Juniper
- 4 – N
- 2 – Colress
- 2 – Bianca
- 2 – Lysandre
- 2 – Ultra Ball
- 1 – Sacred Ash
- 2 – EXP Share
- 3 – Muscle Band
- 2 – Enhanced Hammer
- 3 – Head Ringer (TFHG)
- 1 – ACESPEC Dowsing Machine
- 3 – Switch
- 4 – Double Colorless Energy
- 5 – Water Energy
- 3 – Fighting Energy
If Leafeon plays the role of “Vizzini” in this deck, then Raichu would claim the title of “Inigo Montoya” (you kill his father, prepare to die), Terrakion the title of “Fezzik” (he is the brute squad) and Suicune the beloved “Westley” (as you wish). The combination of these 4 powerful, non-EX attackers provides the versatility of most “Fairy Box” decks without the convoluted, slow set up that accompanies those decks. The lower tier HP counts in “Vizzini” means you don’t have to clog your deck with various healing cards, as you likely will not have a chance to use them. Instead, you just keep coming with single prize card attackers and make your opponent take 6 KO’s to defeat you… no tricks, no weapons, skill against skill alone.
Someone at our league remarked once, after seeing Gym Leader Joel playing the deck, with 4 different types in play on his bench, that the deck looked like something they put together when they 1st started playing (inferring that it looked “thrown together”). Yes, there are 4 types, and at a glance it may seem like an odd “mawage”. However, that mawage is wot bwings us togeveh tuuday. The 4 different attackers only require 2 energy types to attack (Water/Fighting). Sporting an online record of 57-7, with 10 tournament wins, we’d say that it looks like a gweat mawage. The deck does not overwhelm you by any means, but if you stick to your guns and are smart about where you attach energy, it is very tough to beat. Games may seem close, but sometimes we just want you to feel you’re doing well (say it like Andre). We hate for people to lose embarrassed… we like to for people to knock each other out like civilized people (say it like Cary would). Anyway, almost all of the 7 losses have come from 1st/2nd turn “donk” losses resulting from starting a lone Eevee/Pikachu, which is unavoidable when playing decks with low HP basics.
The build list above has been relatively unchanged in the PTCGO for quite a while (thus the presence if “Bianca”). As we continue to play it, “Bianca” seems to keep working as a good draw supporter after playing an “Ultra Ball” or “Dowsing Machine”, or even late in a game after your opponent uses “N”. “Bianca” is one of several cards that can be swapped from this list. The beauty of this deck is that you can take the core of this build and tailor it to fit any need to address the format. Altering the Supporter line, dropping cards like “Ringer” or “Enhanced Hammer” are easy changes that one could vary to fit their play-style.
The current build is very heavy on Supporter draw cards and utilizes “Head Ringers” and “Enhanced Hammers”, as these cards help in both Seismitoad and Rayquaza match-ups. Against Toad, if you can attach a “Ringer” (or 2) before your opponent can “Quaking Punch”, then you can control the game. Stalling the item lock can allow you to either use your “Hammers” as you pound away with Raichu or you can leave the energy alone, forcing them to attach more, thereby powering up your Leafeon. Similarly, against Rayquaza, the ringer/hammer combo can slow down any offense from your opponent for several turns. If you wear down or one-hit Rayquza early with Raichu, your opponent is forced to deal with that threat. Allowing you to sit back with Suicune and wait. Both decks have limited ways to deal with Suicune. Amazingly, some decks still have no answer to Suicune, but at an event like Worlds, that would seem inconceivable (and yes, we keep using that word, but in this instance, we do think it means what we think it means).
We had a Mr. Mime in the list at one point, but absolutely hated starting with it in the active position. Also, the bench space seemed more important for the other pokemon in the deck. Against Landorus/Crobat, the biggest bench hitter in the format at the moment, you can basically abandon everything else in the list and play the 3 Suicune and win. With no other attacker than Hawlucha, they would have to rely on both Crobat’s ability and attack to finish off a 2nd and then a 3rd Suicune , while you can 1-hit Landorus EX with a Suicune and a “Muscle Band”.
To the Gym Leaders, Terrakion seems to be one of the most over-looked pokemon in the game at the moment, much less this list. In this list, it just works for Vizzini to pay the bills (there’s not a lot of money in revenge). Manectric EX seems to be very popular heading into Worlds, either as the feature attacker in a Garbodor list or as the alternate attacker in Toad lists. Terrakion, with a “Muscle Band” can one-hit Mega Manectric EX both with its “Retaliate” attack or with “Land Crush” if you use it as your feature attacker. “EXP Share” tool cards attached to the bench sitter of your choice should alleviate the concern that comes with attaching 3 energy cards to a 130 HP pokemon.
The biggest 50/50 match-up with this deck seems to be that pesky old “Night March” deck. We’ve played games against “March” where we dominated our opponent from start to finish. However, we’ve also been toasted by the same deck. You have to maximize the use of your “hammers” (meaning that you have to use “Dowsing Machine” to get one for a 3rd time) and try to control the game’s speed. If your opponent pays down a 2nd Mew EX in the match, you can usually win, as the 2-for-1 prize trade will usually work out for you, though often in the form of a come-from-behind win.
Now, on to what we would likely do if we were preparing for World’s. Our focus would be around 1 card and 1 card alone…. Genesect EX. Genesect EX kills Seismitoad with ease and is the only card that can (without some ridiculous set of circumstances) 1-hit Wailord EX. In a Shaymin EX-rich environment, the “Red Signal” ability on Genesect seems too good to not use. There are 2 versions that Gym Leader Joel had in mind to work on. The 1st is a Mega-Manectric/Genesect list that he toyed with early this season (and abandoned as, at the time, the entire state of North Carolina was obsessed with Donphan).
The other version is a fairly traditional Virizion/Genesect build with Terrakion teched in. Any list we would consider for Worlds would contain Terrakion, as far as that goes, as we have a feeling that there will be plenty of Manectric EX present there as well. The version of choice would have likely come down to how each build tested. We know that a lot of players will play some version of Seismitoad EX. The Manectric version seems like it would cover a wider variety of match-ups (especially Rayquaza), but we can’t speak to what we have not tested and have no plans to test. We’ve got my country’s 500th anniversary to plan (2oth wedding anniversary, actually), our wedding to arrange (already married, see 1st half of sentence), my wife to murder (wouldn’t think of it… she’d kill me, anyway) and Guilder to frame for it (where the hell is Guilder, anyway); We’re swamped (really, we are…school’s already back in here in Botetourt).
Only time will tell what “the play” for Worlds will be. We’ve competed there 3 times and know the time investment necessary to properly prepare for the event. We do not envy you the headache you will have when you awake (but for now, rest well and dream of large women). Whether or not anything in this series sparked any creative deck building or ideas, we are glad to have shared some of our ideas with you. We hope that some of our posts remind you that the format is what you make it, not what an 18-year-old, premium membership, deck site writer, tells you it is. As always, we suggest that you look at the concepts behind our decks, not just the lists, card for card. Our builds work for us, but may not for you. Whatever you decide on, play something that you play well, not what the finalist of the last big event played well. Enjoy your time at Worlds. Until next time, see you at the Gym!