Worlds Testing Results – The Badger

badgerAs we mentioned in our last article, the Fincastle Gym has been testing every imaginable deck as we prepare for our 4th trip to the Pokemon World Championships.  In testing out ideas, we see how decks rate in categories that we rate as the most important performance categories for ranking a deck.  The 1st of those categories is the one that we place above all else… consistency.  A deck that is amazing in one game and then totally flops in the next, does not carry as much favor as one that provides reliable output game after game.  Next up for us, especially in this format, is speed.  We follow that with hitting power, as we believe something that can 1-shot any/everything can often make up for deficiencies in the 1st two categories.  Beyond those 3, we like to rate a deck’s recovery, or how often it can set-up the same attacker or a counter attacker after each KO it takes.  With our sites dialed in through these lenses, we then look at what we think we will see from opponents and how a certain deck matches up against those decks.

God bless the PTGCO, as it has given the Fincastle Gym Leaders a tool that allows us to do this 10 times quicker than we ever could before, as building physical copies of everything you want to test can consume huge portions of spponactual testing time.  While the PTCGO has its quirks (like giving you an opening hand of 4 “VS Seeker” and 2 “Sycamore”), it helps us rate decks quickly within the above categories.  As Worlds draws closer and closer, we cut our list of “potentials” every few days.  Sadly, many really cool decks don’t make the team.  What stinks about the anticipated meta for San Francisco is that many of those we cut are decks that consistently beat the powerhouse, “Night March”, but crash and burn against item lock decks (Trevenant and Vileplume), which many players will surely feel compelled to play so they don’t lose to “Night March”.

The 1st deck that we cut is a favorite from Gym Leader Joel’s library.  “Badger”, as you will see, has absolutely nothing to do with badgers (although, 1 mention of this and Georgia and Logan will both chime in instantly with the punch-line).  The name came from what is surely one of the most annoying, possibly drug-induced, internet videos we’ve seen.  Rather than try to explain the badger1inexplicable, we suggest you search it on your own so that you can fully experience it.  Search “Badger, Badger, Mushroom”, select “play” and watch it long enough so that you too can discover the truth… “Snake!… Snake!… oh it’s a snake!”  We apologize in advance.

 

The Badger:

  • 4 – Serperior (FCO 7)
  • 4 – Servine (FCO 6)
  • 4 – Snivy (FCO 5)
  • 2 – Ariados (AOR 6)
  • 2 – Spinarak (AOR 5)
  • 1 – Shaymin EX (ROS 77)
  • 1 – Sceptile EX (AOR 7)

 

  • 4 – Professor Sycamore
  • 2 – Lysandre
  • 4 – VS Seeker
  • 4 – Ultra Ball
  • 4 – Trainers’ Mail
  • 3 – N
  • 4 – Revitalizer
  • 2 – Muscle Band
  • 1 – Battle Compressor
  • 1 – AZ
  • 1 – Super Rod
  • 4 – Forest of Giant Plants

 

  • 8 – Grass Energy

 

“Badger” rates high in most of our categories.  It ranks very high in consistency, something that our early attempts at the deck did not do.  What gave the list an instant boost in that category was the item card, “Revitalizer”.  As Joel messed badger2around with this deck, he added 1 copy, then a 2nd, a 3rd and finally a 4th copy.  The combo of the “Forrest of Giant Plants” stadiums and the 4 “Revitalizer” builds a seemingly endless stream of Serperior.  Forcing an opponent to KO 5 to 6 140HP snakes that only yield 1 prize card each can prove too much for most of the format.  This combo also gives the deck high marks in speed.  The stadium allows you to break the evolution rule and go all the way to Serperior on your 1st turn.  Thanks to its single energy attack cost, you can attack 1st turn (if you go 2nd ) as well.  The stage 1 Servine adds a little “stank” to that fastball with its “Serpentine Strangle” ability.  A coin flip of “heads” places the badger3special condition “paralyzed” on your opponent’s Active Pokemon, locking them from attacking unless they play a “switch” or “scoop up” type card or evolve.  These same factors (the single energy cost and the stadium/item combo) also rate this deck high in terms of its recovery.  The Grass-typing of Serperior allows it to hit several popular cards like Carbink, Zygarde and Seismitoad for weakness.  Even as we write this, we ask ourselves, “Why not play this deck at Worlds?”

badger5The Gym Leaders laid the axe to “Badger” because of its low hitting power.  “Coil” for 40 (60 w/muscle band) is excellent against “Night March”.  The added effect of “Coil”, increasing either it or “Slashing Strike” by 60 on your next turn, means that you are set up to hit for as much as 160 damage (w/muscle band), more than enough to take out a Shaymin EX, if you survive the turn.  This deck tested very well against “March”.  It played well against “Water Box” decks, especially if you could “Lysandre” opposing Articuno and take them out before they can attack.  “Badger” unilaterally thrashes Greninja.  However, it struggled against beefy decks like Darkrai/Giratina, Rayquaza and Genesect.  The low damage output also hurt against Trevenent and Vespiquen.  We included the single Sceptile EX, as it can 1-hit Trevenant and even take out the BREAK (w/muscle band and poison damage), but saw quickly that Sceptile was not a reliable answer for Trevenant.  “Badger” often misses the 1-hit against Vespiquen, as neither Serperior nor Sceptile EX get the damage boost from placing the “poison” condition on your opponent’s Active via Ariados‘s ability, dooming its chances against that deck as well.

 The addition of “Pokemon Ranger” allows an opponent to remove the effect of “Coil”, a crippling hindrance against this same group of decks.  “Badger” is item card heavy and the likelihood of facing multiple item lock decks scared us farther away from this deck.  The odd thing about “Badger” is that it has beaten every badger4deck in our testing repertoire.  Despite all else, the factor that usually sways the match-up one way or the other is the coin flip on Servine’s ability.  When we were able to inflict “paralysis” multiple times during a game, “Badger” would run away with the win.  However, we’ve played multiple games where we missed every flip.  We do not like the prospect of success at Worlds riding on coin flips (reference our 2012 Hawaii experience w/Logan, where his last turn of his last match was decided by the coin).

The Gym Leader do like this deck for Standard after Worlds.  It loses nothing outside of the “Muscle Band” tools and the lone “Battle Compressor”, which is only there to fill in a missing pokemon target for “Revitalzier” to retrieve.  The mechanic of using “Compressor” to add a Supporter to your discard pile and then retrieving it with “VS Seeker” can be easily replaced with the item card, “Random Receiver”, a staple in nearly every deck as recent as 2012.  The Ariados line and the Sceptile EX could easily be replaced by a small line of the new Yanmega and its BREAK evolution.  The “poison” effect from Ariados’s ability helps out on damage totals, but is not always necessary, as “Coil” followed by “Slashing Strike” still totals 200 damage on their own.  Yanmega‘s free retreat cost, ability to attack for free and Lightning-type weakness (as opposed to Serperior‘s weakness to Fire-types), would definitely add some versatility to the deck.

snakeIf there was still a “grinder” at Worlds, Gym Leader Joel would probably show up with a version of “Badger”.  However, under the new point system and event structure, those “grind-in” days are gone.  Just be sure to watch the video at least once, so if you play against “Badger” next year, you can do your part when he hits a 1st-turn Serperior.  Check back for a look at another “potential” and details about this weekend’s Geek Mob event.  See you at the Gym!

 

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