I started off this past weekend with a dismal 2-3 tournament performance playing a Tornadus EX/Mewtwo EX/Landorus EX/Sigilyph/Meloetta deck. The strategy of the deck was basically to knock out their non-EX Pokemon with Tornadus EX and Landorus EX, clearing the way for a field full of Sigilyph DRX to wreak havoc down upon their defenseless EX Pokemon. Meloetta was included in the deck to quickly take down an opponent’s own Sigilyph with its Psychic attack, as often times players will try to counter your Sigilyph with their own. Mewtwo EX was included in the deck to give it a chance in the Blastoise matchup, which would otherwise have been an autoloss.
I got paired round one against a Ho-Oh deck playing quite a few non-EX attackers, at least four, and that proved to difficult for the deck to deal with. I had thought I had knocked out the last of his non-EX Pokemon, only to have a Terrakion NVI surprise dropped on me. In the second round, I played against a Garchomp/Altaria deck and started lone Sigilyph DRX, and drew nothing else for the remainder of the game, only to have my Sigilyph taken out by a Dragon Blade on turn 3. My other loss in the tournament was to a Klinklang variant using Registeel EX and Protect Charge, which was hard for Sigilyph to do damage to.
This was definitely disappointing to say the least. The top 4 cut was 2 Hydreigon decks, a Klinklang deck heavily dependent on Special Energy, and a Rayquaza/Eelektrik deck, all of which would have been strong matchups for my deck, so I don’t necessarily feel bad with choosing to play this deck for this tournament.
Heading into the second day of City Championships, I talked to my friend Colin Moll about what deck he thought would be good to attack the meta, and he said he was thinking about playing a Darkrai EX/Landorus EX deck, which I agreed to be seemed strong for countering the meta game. Colin had done good in the previous two City Championships in St. Louis, going 4-1 in both tournaments, so I knew his knowledge of the local meta would be sure to be really strong. The morning of the tournament, I worked on putting together a Darkrai EX/Landorus EX deck that I felt comfortable with, and here is the end result I came up with:
Pokemon – 9
3 Sableye DEX
Trainers – 37
4 Professor Juniper
1 Computer Search
Energy – 14
9 Darkness Energy
One thing that might seem crazy is that I didn’t play Skyla, which is one of my favorite cards in the format, and one that I feel allows for a lot of more skillful playing in the format. I didn’t neglect Skyla just for no reason, I did have a good reason for not running Skyla in here.
I had played Darkrai EX/Mewtwo EX at a previous City Championship, and the list shared many commonalities to how I decided to structure this deck. When I played the deck at that tournament, I felt like I was unable to ever get multiple Darkrai EX setup very quickly in a game, which is obviously one of the main strengths of Darkrai decks, their speed. When I had played Darkrai variants during Battle Roads using this draw engine at Battle Roads, I didn’t have that same problem of getting multiple Darkrai EX setup in a game, so I came to the conclusion that using solely draw, and no search better allowed Darkrai decks to get setup.
I think after this tournament, that this conclusion has been proved true. For the most part, I never really had any trouble getting setup in this game. I did miss having the ability to search out my Pokemon Catcher or Enhanced Hammer when need be, but I felt just consistently getting setup outweighed those factors.
Round 1 – Rayquaza/Eelektrik
I had a hunch that I was probably going to be playing against a Rayquaza/Eelektrik deck this round, as the player had done well with it at a past City Championship, winning it and knocking out my Blastoise deck from the Top 4. I believe I had Landorus EX, Darkrai EX, and Sableye all in hand to start the game, but chose to start only Landorus EX to prevent him from catchering one of the benched Pokemon, as I wanted to be able to get off Hammerhead right out of the gate.
My opponent starts a lone Tynamo to my Landorus EX, which is very good for him, as otherwise I would have turn one donked him. He uses a Level Ball for an Emolga and switches it to the active position, and Calls for Family for more Tynamo. I am unable to get a Pokemon Catcher, so I just settle for using Hammerhead and spreading to a benched Tynamo. Over the next few turns, I just work on spreading damage around his field, knocking out Tynamo and Eelektrik, as well as putting 60 damage onto his Raikou EX with Hammerhead.
I end up getting two Darkrai EX setup, and retreat to them and just start catcher ko’ing Eelektriks and setting up 2hko’s on his EX Pokemon. After I have two Darkrai EX setup (Energy Switching the Dark attached to Landorus EX to one of the Darkrai EX), I begin attaching to Landorus EX again, and snipe his freshly benched Rayquaza EX, so it will be in ohko range for my Landorus EX, giving me an out for my final prize, regardless if I hit Catcher or not.
After he attacks me, I attach another Fighting Energy to Landorus EX and use Land’s Judgment for 150 to knockout the Rayquaza EX for game. I also top decked a Pokemon Catcher, so I would have been able to just catcher KO an Eelektrik for my final prize.
Round 2 – Quad Sigilyph/Mewtwo EX
My opponent was playing the Quad Sigilyph list that won Singaporean regionals. This didn’t end up being much of a game, as my opponent played 2 Supporters early on in the game (one being an N), messing up the game state, and he quickly conceded the match thereafter. I have a lot of respect for my opponent for just conceding the match after having made that mistake.
This matchup can really go either way, and is highly dependent on my Crushing Hammer flips. The strategy against this deck would be to remove all of their Energy from the field with Crushing Hammer and Enhanced Hammer, and then roll through their Sigilyph with Land Crush to win the game.
Round 3 – Ho-Oh EX/Tornadus EX/Mewtwo EX/Bouffalant DRX/Sigilyph DRX
I was playing against Chad Boatman, the poke-dad of super senior Dema Boatman, who ended up locking up his World Championship invite this tournament by winning his fourth consecutive City Championship with a very good Blastoise list, that was superior to the rest. (The senior division in our area seemed to all switch their deck choice to Blastoise/Keldeo EX, so it made up like 70 percent of their meta game).
After playing against this deck in Top 8 with Darkrai/Mewtwo, I knew my best strategy would be to setup a bunch of Darkrai EX’s, and just Night Spear over and over again until his Pokemon are knocked out.
This is exactly what I did, and I got a little bit of help in that he was unable to get a Ho-Oh EX in the discard pile before most of his Energy Switch were in the discard pile. When this happens, the deck really loses a lot of its oomph and power. Through removing Energy with Hammers, eventually the Night Spear damage built up too much, giving me control of the game.
Round 4 – Darkrai EX/Landorus EX/Terrakion NVI
In this round I played a mirror match against Colin. While our decks are the same deck, we both built them in very different ways. You can check out Colin’s report over at his website, Celadon City Gym.
This game really didn’t go my way much at all. I started Terrakion, which is really the worst start this deck can get. I played Professor Juniper on turn one, and netted myself a hand of Item cards that I couldn’t do much with. After spreading some damage with Hammerhead with his Landorus EX start, Colin was able to Energy Switch some energy onto his Darkrai EX to knockout my Terrakion, and then on his next turn, he had the catcher to take a double ko on both of my Sableye.
Round 5 – Klinklang
My last round in this tournament was against Klinklang. Normally I would feel really confident in this matchup, but this particular Klinklang build was very threatening to my deck, as it played Terrakion NVI. With Terrakion, all it took was one Metal Energy on the field, and then the attachment of a Blend or Prism on my opponent’s turn to knockout my Darkrai EX in one hit. Additionally, he could knock out my Landorus EX with a 2hko from a Keldeo EX with just Metal attached.
I knew my best bet in this matchup was to lead early with Landorus EX, and spread damage with Hammerhead, setting it up to use Land’s Judgment to either knock out the Darkrai EX or the Klinklang, whatever posed a greater threat.
I built up a Landorus EX, and kept sniping, while keeping Energy off my opponent’s field with Hammers. After I had Landorus setup, I began setting up a Darkrai EX as well, and would ultimately setup two of them in this game.
I used my first Land’s Judgment for 150 on my opponent’s Klinklang, locking his Energy onto his Keldeo EX. I then was able to use Land’s Judgment for 150 again the next turn by attaching an Energy to Landorus EX and Energy Switching a Fighting Energy off of my Darkrai EX onto Landorus EX, and knocked out his Terrakion, as it posed a threat to my Darkrai EX.
A few turns later, I was able to use Land’s Judgment for 150 again to knock out another Klinklang, pretty much locking all his Energy on Keldeo EX for the rest of the game. I believe my opponent knocked out a Sableye and my Landorus EX with the Keldeo EX.
My opponent had benched another Klink, and I knew if I could keep my opponent from getting out a Klinklang for one more turn, I would essentially have no way of losing the game, as he would never be able to move Energy off of the Keldeo EX. I had two choices to make, go for a Junk Hunt for some Hammers to keep Energy off his field, or make an aggressive move and Night Spear the Keldeo EX with all of the Energy attached, and snipe 30 to the Klink. If he could not get out another Klinklang on his next turn, I knew he would lose the game as his Energy would be locked onto a Pokemon with 90 damage, and I would be able to snipe ko the Klink on the very next turn, ensuring Klinklang would not be coming out again this game.
I use N before using my attack to put my opponent to three cards, and Night Spear, choosing to go aggressive, instead of conservative with the hammers. The three cards my opponent gets off the N? 2 Klinklang and a Professor Juniper. Without a top deck of a Rare Candy, my opponent has no way of getting Klinklang out again this game, and Junipers away his last 2 Klinklangs and concedes the game shortly after as he has no path to victory without Klinklang on the field.
Overall, I am feeling a little uneasy heading into Top Cut. Our St. Louis tournaments have been having the worst possible turnouts, often ending up in the 27-31 player range, just short of a top cut, which makes it so multiple X-1’s are bubbling out a lot of our tournament.
My premonitions served correct, and I bubbled out of the top cut at 5th place. Nothing much to say about this, but this always sucks to do what is expected to make it into the top cut, and then not be able to play it out for the crown of champion in the end.
However, Colin ended up taking home first place for the tournament, beating Klinklang and Blastoise decks in top cut. Colin is the person I would like to see win these tournaments the most outside of myself, so I was pretty happy with that end result.
I was pretty happy how well my deck played. I was able to setup multiple Darkrai EX in my games with no problem, which I was very pleased with. I was also impressed by this deck’s ability to stream multiple Land’s Judgments for 150 throughout a single game, which seemed very strong to me.
The only thing I fear with this deck is that it’s Blastoise matchup isn’t the greatest, but a steady barrage of three Darkrai EX getting to Night Spear every turn seems like it could be very strong against Blastoise in that matchup. So if you can avoid benching Landorus EX, and just get to Night Spear all game while outspeeding them, you can win the matchup. I know Colin was able to beat multiple Blastoise decks in this tournament, and I think with my list being a little more speed focused, it would be as well positioned as any Darkrai list to take on a Blastoise deck head to head with Night Spear.
I got two more City Championships on the slate for next weekend, and have no idea what I will be playing. I’ve been pretty busy as of late, so I haven’t had too much time to get much testing in this week, so I am a little worried in that regard, but I’ve had plenty of good tournament results this year with little testing, such as my 4-1 outings with Darkrai/Chandelure, Quad Sigilyph, and Darkrai/Landorus, so if I play a deck concept I am comfortable with for next weekend, I’m not too worried about not doing well as long as I make sure my list is good.