2017 Spotlight On Mega Love #3 – Turtle and Teeth

Today  we are going to double down on Mega Love and look at 2 lists.  These lists carry 2 distinct strategies that do differ from each other quite a bit.  However, as the builds are similar in card counts, Gym Leader Joel feels like he can handle this degree of multitasking.  Oh yes, that is right, he is quite the experienced stoy1multi-tasker.  His years of intense divided focus has spanned such impressive areas as watching TV and eating, playing his 3DS and watching TV, eating and playing his 3DS while watching TV, reading or playing his 3DS while sitting on the… well, scratch that one… probably too much info.  Either way, this ain’t his 1st rodeo,  so sit back and enjoy this double-barrel of Mega Love with 2 “Water-type” giants…. (hold on…. I had to turn the TV off, I couldn’t remember what I was trying to say), Blastoise EX and Glalie EX.

Water-types” was placed in quotations for a reason, as only Blastoise is a true Water-type.  Glalie is an Ice-type, meaning that it is weak to Steel, Fighting, Rock and Fire.  However, Pokemon’s over-simplification of typing in the TCG has it only weak to Steel and hitting Fire-types for weakness, an upgrade that stoy13makes it a very useful engine at the moment.  On the other hand, Blastoise, who for our 1st few years of playing the TCG, sported a Lightning-type weakness, has shifted to a Grass-type weakness, as have most of the Water-types released in recent card sets.  The Grass-type weakness has been a handicap as of late, as a lot of players have taken to Vespiquen and Sceptile decks in efforts to counter the powerful Greninja decks out there.  The boost given to Grass-types in the new Sun & Moon set does not improve the future for Blastoise, or does it?  The anticipated rise in Grass decks may provoke a response from the Fire-type contingent, which of course makes either of these decks at least worth a look.

stoy2We’ll start things off with Blastoise, or more specifically, Mega Blastoise EX.  Mega Blastoise was 1 of 2 mega pokemon that players were thrilled to see when XY was released (the other being Mega Venusaur).  Excitement turned to disappointment rather quickly as players saw how difficult the new mega pokemon were to use without a “Spirit Link” card.  While several more batches of un-played megas were churned out before Pokemon fixed the issue, fan favorites Blastoise/Venusaur/Charizard received no help until November 2016 when the 1st “Spirit Link” cards were printed for each of the 3.  Maybe there was a reason for this, but we suspect it is more likely to fall into that “random things that Pokemon does” category that have no explanation.  We think that Mega Blastoise missed a big chance to counter the “Night March” heavy format, as we believe it could have been better than the Mega Audino deck that won Worlds last year.  Mega Blastoise could take out 3 “Marchers” at a time, or even better, a Shaymin EX and 2 “Marchers” at once.

At any rate, today’s format is a little more mixed, as we have not seen a deck yet that does not have an “auto-loss” to at least 1 other deck.  While Mega Blastoise goes down in ugly fashion to Vespiquen, it does equally ugly things to the popular and widely played Volcanion deck.  If you can set up your 1st mega quickly (which is the goal of this build), then we believe that this super turtle has even match-ups with almost anything.  Joel played against a version of this at the Lynchburg Cup that appeared to struggle with consistency, but the deck showed enough potential to spark his interest.  Here is the list that we have at the moment, which is a list that has been the subject of multiple “tweeks” that have all been made with improved consistency in mind.

 

Mega Blastoise:

  • 4 – Blastoise EX (XY 29/EVO21)
  • 3 – M Blastoise EX (XY 30/EVO 22)
  • 2 – Manaphy (PRC 56)
  • 1 – Manaphy EX (BKP 32)
  • 2 – Shaymin EX (ROS 77)
  • 1 – Hoopa EX (AOR 36)
  • 4 – Blastoise Spirit Link
  • 2 – Acro Bike
  • 1 – Escape Rope
  • 3 – Mega Turbo
  • 4 – Max Elixir
  • 4 – Ultra Ball
  • 3 – Trainers’ Mail
  • 3 – VS Seeker
  • 3 – Professor Sycamore
  • 2 – N
  • 2 – Lysandre
  • 1 – Pokemon Ranger
  • 1 – Karen
  • 3 – Rough Seas
  • 1 – Parallel City
  • 11 – Water Energy

 

“2nd-turn Mega Blastoise” is the name of this game.  “Hyrdo Bombard”, Mega B’s only attack, deals 120 damage to the Active and 30 damage to 2 of your opponent’s Benched pokemon.  The 180 hits points of damage is pretty nice for 3 energy.  How you spread the damage around really depends on what you are playing.  If you are up against a deck with small targets on the Bench, you may be able to take a few easy prizes while wearing down the Active.  If you are facing an EX-heavy (or Mega) deck, we’ve found it best to use the bench damage on those EX’s that you know are future attackers.  Placing 60-90 damage on an EX before it is promoted to the Active spot can be huge.  You can also opt to target multiple benched Shaymin EX.  It takes 4 attacks to take out a Shaymin EX, which wouldstoy5 likely be late in any game.  However, the late game come-from-behind win is always an exciting way to close a game out.  The key to making the most our of Mega Blastoise EX‘s attack is recognizing what you are playing against early and deciding what you are going to target.  Whatever you choose (whether it was the correct choice or not), you need to stick to your guns.  If you change targets halfway through a game, you will likely come up short of the damage necessary to get those last KO’s.

stoy4As you can see, we went really heavy on set-up/consistency cards.  Do you need 4 “Max Elixir” and 3 “Mega Turbo” in this deck?  No, probably not, if you are playing a leisurely game at home with your friends or kids.  If you want that 2nd-turn “Stoise”, we think you need them both.  In play testing this deck, we have found that in about ½ of the games you get to the 2nd-turn “Stoise” with “Max Elixir” and you get it the rest of the time with “Mega Turbo”.  We have learned to take whatever presents itself and run with it.  If you can hit energy early with “Elixir”, that is the preferable method, as it is nice to have “Mega Turbo” available later in a game to get that 2nd and 3rd Mega Blastoise charged quickly.

The most recent change to this deck is the addition of the 2 Manaphy (PRC 56).  While Gym Leader Joel can’t swear to it at this point, he is pretty sure that the Manaphy were added at the expense of 2 “Acro Bike”.  The “baby” Manaphy is a lot like the Elixir/Turbo cards in that there are games where you will never use stoy6it.  However, its “Deep Sea Swirl” attack (shuffle your hand into your deck and then draw 6 new cards) has both bailed us out of bad starts and given us that big 2nd turn hand after playing a lot of cards on the opening turn.  It’s bigger brother, Manaphy EX gives it (and everything else with a water energy attached) “Free Retreat” w/its ability.  The only other notable card in the list is “Karen”.  We chose it over “Super Rod” and “Brock’s Grit” as we rarely need to dig energy out of the Discard Pile and “Karen” does, at least, slow down Vespiquen decks which rely on the number of pokemon they have in the discard pile.  Emphasis on “slow down”, as a good Vespiquen player will likely get a lot of pokemon back into the discard pile quickly and still beat the shell off of Blastoise.  We suppose that some chance is better than no chance.

We threw this 2nd list into this article because Gym Leader Joel used the above Mega Blastoise list as the starting point for this Mega Glalie list.  What he found quickly in this one is that it does not need the energy acceleration that “Stoise” stoy12requires.  While Blastoise is about setting up quickly and applying constant pressure, Glalie is all about instilling fear out of the gates and then keeping your opponent off-balance for the rest of the game.  Plus, we’ve liked Mega Glalie since we 1st saw it because of its resemblance to a favorite Muppet (and yes, we know that we are reaching a point where some people playing this game do not remember or are too young to know the Muppets).

 

Dr Teeth:

  • 3 – Glalie EX (BKT 34)
  • 3 – M Glalie EX (BKT 35)
  • 2 – Regice (AOR 24)
  • 1 – Manaphy EX (BKP 32)
  • 2 – Shaymin EX (ROS 77)
  • 1 – Hoopa EX (AOR 36)
  • 3 – Glalie Spirit Link
  • 2 – Dive Ball
  • 2 – Judge
  • 2 – Lysandre
  • 2 – Mega Turbo
  • 2 – Max Elixir
  • 3 – N
  • 4 – Ultra Ball
  • 4 – Trainers’ Mail
  • 4 – VS Seeker
  • 3 – Professor Sycamore
  • 1 – Ninja Boy
  • 1 – Super Rod
  • 3 – Shrine of Memories
  • 8 – Water Energy
  • 4 – Double Colorless

 

stoy7If you break Mega Glalie out at your league or at a tournament, we can almost promise that the 1st thing that will happen when you play down your 1st mega is this… your opponent will ask to see the card, read its attack and then react with surprise.  While we would enjoy it much more if they threw their hands up, screamed and ran out of the room, we doubt that you can expect that level of response.  However, Mega Glalie’s attack, “Cryo Mouth” is pretty scary.  It does a base 100 damage with the condition that if Mega Glalie EX has 10 damage counters (100 damage) on it, the attack does an additional 150 damage (a total of 250).  The fear of retaliation is a powerful thing in all of its forms.  In this case, your opponent has to seriously consider how and when to attack you, which is a real “catch-22” for a whole myriad of decks.  Thanks to the “over-powered” state of the TCG, there are many decks that do not hit for less than 100 damage, meaning that they have to either activate the 250 damage attack or try to play around the Mega and attack other targets.

stoy9If your opponent figures out a strategy for not ticking off the Mega Glalie, all is not lost.  Glalie EX sports a strong attack dubbed “Instant Freeze” which does a base 50 damage.  However, if you and your opponent have the same number of cards in hand, “Instant Freeze” does an additional 100 damage (total of 150).  We included 3 “Shrine of Memories” stadium cards in this list.  When in play, “Shrine” allows you to use the attacks of previous evolutions.  In this case, it allows Mega Glalie to access “Instant Freeze” as an attack option.  Of course, you have to maintain the same size hand as your opponent, which is surprisingly not as hard to do as you think if you are careful stoy8as you play out your hand.  On turns where you want to do this but can’t or on turns we you want to disrupt your opponent’s hand, we included 2 copies of the supporter card “Judge”.  “Judge” requires both players to shuffle their hands into the deck and then draw 4 cards, instantly evening hand sizes.  The 4 “VS Seeker” give you the option to do this multiple times.  We’ve always felt that “Judge” is a very underrated card, as having your hand shuffled away in exchange for 4 cards can really mess up your plans, often causing you to lose a card you were counting on using during your next turn.

The only other cards of note in this list are the 2 copies of Regice (AOR 24) and the “Ninja Boy”.  The inclusion of Regice seemed like a no-brainer, as the list already includes water and Double Colorless energy.  Regice makes for a strong back up attacker in any deck that it can fit in.  We originally had it in this list because we only had a 3-3 line of Mega Glalie EX in the PTCGO.  You could easily add the 4th Glalie EX and focus this deck on the mega, just like in the Blastoise deck.  That is one of those “player preference” choices.  We included the copy of “Ninja Boy” in this list as a substitute for “Parallel City”.  Both cards serve the same purpose in these 2 lists… we wanted to show 2 different ways to do the same thing.

citystadIf you have read through the other Mega Love articles you likely have noticed how we like to use “Parallel City” to clean up our own bench.  The combination of Hoopa EX (search your deck for 3 EX pokemon) and Shaymin EX (draw until you have 6 cards in your hand) has proved to be the best set-up combo that the TCG has seen in our time playing the game.  The negative side-effect of the combo is that, once used, you have multiple 2 prize card targets sitting on the bench that serve no further purpose, often blocking you from playing down other needed pokemon.  With “Parallel City”, played at the proper time, we cut our own bench down to 3 pokemon (allowing ourselves to discard the Hoopa EX and Shaymin EX).  Then, depending on the deck, we usually play down a different stadium card, returning our bench to normal.

stoy10As we messed around with the Mega Glalie deck, we began to see the strength of the “Shrine of Memories” stadium.  Not wanting to miss turns where we could use its “Instant Freeze”, we decided to try “Ninja Boy” instead.  A bit to our surprise, we were pleased with how the card worked.  “Ninja Boy” allows you to search your deck for a Basic pokemon and switch it any Basic you have in play.  The supporter card works well as a means to get a Hoopa or Shaymin off of the Bench.  It also comes in handy in those frustrating games where you are forced to play a Hoopa or Shaymin down as your starting Active pokemon.  Both “Ninja Boy” and “Parallel City” have their strengths.  Once again, the choice between comes down to player preference.

Mega Glalie EX also sports that 1 nasty auto-loss that every other deck seems  to carry (which is a good thing for the format… a bad thing if you play the wrong deck on the wrong day).  Mega Scizor decks (with or without Garbodor) completely maul this deck… and there is not much you can do to avoid such.  It’s pretty interesting against pretty much everything else.  Like Blastoise, Glalie holds a huge advantage over Volcanion decks.  Mega Mewtwo EX, Mega Rayquaza EX and some Mega Gardevoir decks can 1 hit Mega Glalie, but not without having to work at it.  Of those 3, all have a hard time dealing with Regice, so those games are very winnable.

This double shot of decks wraps up our look at Mega Love.  We recognize that if either of these decks were poised to take over the format, they would have worked their way into a top cut at a Regional somewhere by now (how many have there been now….8???).  Regardless, we enjoy playing both and do feel confident enough to say that either could do well in League Challenges or Cups stoy11for that matter.  This season’s poor planning early on and increased totals for each age group has laid such a point burden on anyone trying to qualify for Worlds that most players are not willing to branch out and try something that is not a “tested” deck.  All the more reason that we suggest looking outside of the mainstream for decks to play.  If you have no chance or interest in trying to chase down 500 Championship points, then why build and play the exact same list that everyone else copies following the release of results from the most recent event?

Take a chance and play something that you want to play, not what a site says is the best play.  If you have the resources on the PTCGO to build a variety of decks, try some of these Mega Love decks out.  You may see something that we did not and find a way to make these lists better.  We know from experience that, the more decks you build and mess with on your own, the better you become a building decks from scratch.  It’s hard to come up with something truly original in the sea of decks sites and YouTube channels that are everywhere you look.  We at the Gym still think it is fun to try.  As our PTCGO account reaches nearly 500 deck lists, we surely have as many failed attempts as successes.  That search for something new and something fun is what has kept us in the game as long as it has.  Join us in our search, you never know, you just might enjoy yourself.

Check back soon, as we plan to follow our Mega Love series with a look at some new ideas and some budget decks that are hopefully still competitive.  See you at the Gym!

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