I think it is safe to say by now that Hydreigon/Darkrai is not going to be disappearing from the meta game anytime soon. The deck appears to stand up to the new meta game quite well with a few adjustments to how the deck is built, and the deck has seen a great boost in consistency and speed thanks to Computer Search. In this article, I will be looking at the top tech options for Hydreigon decks and discuss their strengths and weaknesses within the deck.
The tech choices that you make with this deck are very important, as they can swing certain matchups one way or another, and can also change how you play the deck.
I am not a very big fan of this as a tech option heading into the new format, and it already was becoming an unpopular tech choice in the deck towards the end of last format. The idea behind the tech is to spread early, hopefully destroying the setup of evolution decks or softening up EX’s for your other Pokemon (most notably Hydreigon) to get the ohko on. I am not sure if this card is worth it, as the main evolution decks heading into the format will be Hydreigon, Rayquaza/Eelektrik, and Blastoise. Squirtle’s Ability prevents it from sniping Squirtle’s, decreasing its effectiveness, and I’m not sure that Eelektrik variants will still be a big player in the new format with the release of Landorus EX. This deck also already has spread capabilities with Darkrai EX’s Night Spear attack, and that attack is better for taking knockouts on your opponent’s Pokemon or doing big damage against an EX than Registeel EX’s Triple Laser attack is, while still having the same net result of setting up ohko’s for Hydreigon.
For just GGC, Virizion is able to do 100 damage with Sacred Sword, with the effect that the attack cannot be used on your next turn. As Virizion is a grass type Pokemon, this attack can be used to ohko a Blastoise or Keldeo EX. The only problem with this card as a tech against that deck is that it is very fragile. It only has 100 HP, which means that it will be knocked out by a Keldeo EX with four Water Energy or a Mewtwo EX with just two Energy. This is a big deal, as Virizion requires three Energy, so you will easily be losing three Energy, two of which will be important Blend Energy, when your opponent responds with a knockout on Virizion. With Eviolite, Virizion becomes a little more interesting of a tech option, but even then, it won’t be super difficult for your opponent to get a Tool Scrapper or another Energy on board to get the knockout.
However, the other Grass tech for the deck is still a card that I like very much in the role of a late game sweeper. Shaymin EX’s Revenge Blast can do up to 180 damage after your opponent takes five prize cards, and it does 90 damage, enough to ohko any Grass weak Pokemon after your opponent takes two prizes. Because it has such a low attack cost, you can make a Shaymin EX drop early in the game to counter a Terrakion EX or Keldeo EX as a smart sacrifice in the prize exchange, while still keeping a lot of Energy on board for your other Pokemon to play with. When paired with N, this Shaymin can be especially devastating as you put a lot of pressure on your opponent to hit the cards they need to respond with their own attack to ohko Shaymin EX.
This was the other original tech choice in the Japanese winning list, along with Shaymin EX. Sigilyph is still really strong in this deck, as it can give you a means to wall off your opponent’s EX Pokemon, while forcing them to devote resources elsewhere, away from their main strategy, in order to deal with Sigilyph. You usually won’t use Sigilyph DRX too much, but it does come in handy every now and then, and when you use it, it is always seems to be a very strong play. You can use the card to counter Mewtwo EX’s that get built up two large, and also to counter your opponent’s own Sigilyph, while not bringing your Hydreigon up to attack. Similarly, in mirror match, Sigilyph can be realyl strong in baiting your opponent to promote up their own Hydreigon to deal with it.
My friend Colin has wrote up quite a bit on Cresselia EX on his blog, so I will direct you there if you want to get an in depth look at the card in Hydreigon. The card is very strong, as it gives you an immediate ohko on Mewtwo EX with Psycho Defender, while removing Cresselia’s weakness, which will prevent any typical Mewtwo war type response against Cresselia EX. As Colin described on his blog, the card, when paired with N can be a major pain to deal with, as you’re opponent will be short resources to respond with it, and it can retreat back to the bench to heal. While this is all very good, there is quite a lot of bad that comes with the card. Cresselia EX is very vulnerable after attacking to your opponent making a double catcher play to remove the effect of its attack, re-opening up its weakness, allowing both Mewtwo EX and Sigilyph to ohko it. Additionally, it takes four Energy to attack, so it can still be very vulnerable to decks that can power up a quick Mewtwo EX to ohko, even with the weakness removed, which is a big deal since it will have four Energy sitting on it which is a big loss. Finally, it can’t even ohko a Mewtwo EX that has Eviolite attached, which can be a pain in the butt for it to exchange with, as Mewtwo EX will be slamming it for big damage. Even with all the bad, I still very much like Cresselia EX as a tech choice in this deck, but I’m just not sure if it is the best use of the very limited tech space this deck has available to it.
This is another new toy for Hydreigon decks to play with, and it has the potential to be quite strong. One of the things that plagued Darkrai decks at Regional was the Thunder Wave stall strategy used by Rayquaza/Eelektrik decks playing Victini NVI. With Keldeo EX, you can use Rush In to free your Pokemon from paralysis, ending that strategy for the most part. As you’re probably not going to find room for two Keldeo EX, your opponent could circumvent this by catchering your Keldeo EX and then using Thunder Wave on that. However, the net effect of this is forcing your opponent to burn more of their Pokemon Catcher in the early stages of the game to deal with Keldeo EX. You can also use Keldeo EX as a counter against Landorus EX decks, as for CCC, it hits Landorus EX for 100 damage, enough to 2hko it. One of the neat things about Keldeo EX is that against Landorus EX decks, you can play without a Darkrai EX on your bench while still having the ability to get Keldeo EX in the active spot to attack every turn, while still being able to move Energy around and heal damage off of Keldeo EX. Like Cresselia EX, I like the idea around the tech a lot, but I’m not sure if it is worth the use of a tech spot over other cards.
The last tech choice for this deck is Mewtwo EX, arguably the strongest Pokemon in the game. Mewtwo EX is a natural fit in this deck, as you can move all of your Energy to it for one last giant attack to seal the victory, or as a late game sweeper if you know your opponent doesn’t play Mewtwo EX, or if you can N your opponent in the late game to put the game at a state where there is a very low probability that your opponent can muster something to respond to your big Mewtwo EX. I think adding the ability to ohko any Pokemon in the game is too strong for this deck to pass up.
I am a really big fan of this card in the deck, and think it works with this deck too well not to run it. Tool Scrapper is most essential for removing Eviolite to keep your opponent’s Pokemon in 2hko range fro Darkrai EX, ohko range for Hydreigon after a Night Spear, and in ohko range for Shaymin EX at the end of the game. Being able to get rid of your opponent’s Eviolites makes this deck so much stronger.
This is a card that some players moved away from with Tool Scrapper becoming so big late last format, but it is still really strong, as it will often turn 2hko’s into 3hko’s, especially in mirror match, and it can be used in the late game to put a Darkrai EX just out of ohko range for a Rayquaza EX discarding three Energy to attack. This is the type of prize prevention that can win you games. It sucks having your Eviolites Tool Scrapped, but you also play Sableye DEX, so you have the capability to Junk Hunt them back into your deck and re-attach them to your Pokemon. Unless you’re playing another Sableye deck, your opponent will run out of Tool Scrappers, and if you’re playing another Sableye deck, you’re opponent will eventually run out of Sableye as you Night Spear them to death.
This card is absolutely needed if you intend on playing a teched out version of this deck. Cards like Mewtwo EX and Shaymin EX need to be played onto the field with proper timing to be effective techs, otherwise they are cards that you’re opponent can easily exploit for their gain. Without Super Rod, you will be either pre-maturely benching the Mewtwo EX or Shaymin EX too often, or discarding them with Professor Juniper, Ultra Ball, Computer Search, etc., making you unable to use them in a matchup. Super Rod is the card that holds the teching of a Hydreigon deck altogether!
I think that just about covers all the major techs that may be played in Darkrai/Hydreigon during City Championships this winter. As these are smaller events with more of them, I expect to see quite a bit of diversity in the techs that players end up putting in these decks. I expect Hydreigon/Darkrai decks to be some of the most played decks during City Championships, so there is a good chance you will get to see most of these techs in action sometime before City Championships end.
As of right now, I have fallen back on the three techs that were most people’s top choices during Fall Battle Roads and Regional Championships and those are – Shaymin EX, Sigilyph DRX, and Mewtwo EX along with all of the Item cards I mentioned. If I were to add a fourth tech choice to the deck, it would be Keldeo EX, as I find the ability to free yourself from a paralysis lock and also to counter a Landorus EX deck without playing Darkrai onto your field to be very intriguing. Still, I am personally not ready to cut anything else from the deck to make room for it. I guess as City Championships go on, it will be easier to get a clear idea of how much benefit there would be to playing Keldeo EX in the deck.
Are there any tech choices omitted from this article that people think may see play in the deck during City Championships?
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