Cities Wrap Up: The Peril of Stage 2 Decks

I wrapped up City Championships this weekend, and unfortunately I wasn’t able to wrap up my last Top 4 finish. I came very close to making it into a Top 4 this weekend, but just came up a bit short.

Here’s a recap of the three City Championships that I played in.

Tournament 1 – Plasma/Lugia

For this tournament, I decided to play Plasma Lugia. I felt it was a pretty straight forward deck that hasn’t seen a lot of play in our area, so I thought it was a safe choice to try to wrap up my last Top 4 with.

Here is the list I played with:

Pokemon – 12

3 Thundurus EX
3 Deoxys EX
2 Lugia EX
2 Snorlax PLS
1 Articuno EX
1 Genesect EX

Trainers – 34

4 Professor Juniper
4 N
3 Colress
2 Skyla
2 Shadow Triad
1 Iris

2 Ultra Ball
2 Team Plasma Ball
2 Switch
2 Escape Rope
3 Colress Machine
2 Tool Scrapper
2 Max Potion
1 Scramble Switch

2 Frozen City

Energy – 14

3 Lightning
4 Prism
4 Plasma
3 Double Colorless

This is for the most part the core of the deck, but I did throw in some techs. Big Basics has been pretty popular, so I put in Articuno EX so I could OHKO a Landorus EX with it, and from there, Deoxys EX takes care of Mewtwo EX, and Lugia EX takes care of Bouffalant/Victini EX in that matchup.

I also chose to play Iris, which some players have seen success with. I found Iris to help with taking that last EX prize with Lugia EX as you no longer need to hit it with a Raiden Knuckle first.

Here is how my tournament played out:

Virizion/Genesect – Win
Beachless Emboar – Loss
Darkrai/Garbodor/Hammers – Loss
Virizion/Genesect – Win
Donphan/Suicune/Silver Mirror – Tie

There isn’t much too much to say about this tournament. The deck won it’s matchups against Virizion/Genesect, which I think it has a good chance of doing most of the time.

I lost to Beachless Emboar because I never could get Frozen City into play, and had to use my Skyla’s for other Supporters to stay in the game. At the end of the game, I had Lugia EX setup. I was hoping to top deck my Iris to OHKO his Rayquaza EX with no damage on it. I don’t get the Iris, so I play Professor Juniper hoping to hit a Frozen City as I can Plasma Gale for 150, and prevent him from attaching otherwise his Rayquaza EX would be knocked out and he had a small hand so he may not be able to get another in play. I whiff Frozen City, and he has Superior Energy Retrieval to seal the victory.

I then got downpaired to Darkrai/Garbodor, which is pretty much an autoloss. My only hope was for him to misplay badly, which never happened.

The last round I played a Donphan/Suicune/Silver Mirror deck which was frustrating to play against with this deck, needless to say. I had to setup two Snorlax to OHKO his Suicune’s, and use my Tool Scrappers to do so. Towards the end of the game, I had an out to win, after I was going to get down towards two prizes. I just needed to setup a Lugia EX, and then Red Signal to win. I Colress for 10, but don’t get Lugia EX, and have to top deck it the next turn which I do not. So from there, my only out is to use Shadow Triad to get a Plasma Ball to get back Lugia EX. I take a knockout on a Keldeo EX via Red Signal but don’t draw my last Plasma Energy to get off one more Red Signal for game, and just play for a tie after time is called.

Snorlax/Lugia ended up winning the tournament, so it was probably the right call for the day.

Tournament 2 – Blastoise

Surely this deck would get me my last Top 4 finish. Once the deck sets up, it can beat any deck, and even against Virizion/Genesect, Black Kyurem EX can get the job done for you in conjunction with N.

Here is the list I played for the tournament.

Pokemon – 12

3 Squirtle BCR
1 Wartortle BCR
3 Blastoise BCR
3 Black Kyurem EX
2 Keldeo EX

Trainers – 36

4 Professor Juniper
4 N
4 Skyla
1 Colress

4 Ultra Ball
4 Rare Candy
4 Superior Energy Retrieval
3 Tool Scrapper
1 Energy Search
1 Max Potion
1 Super Rod
1 Computer Search

4 Tropical Beach

Energy – 12

10 Water
2 Lightning

I felt fairly good about this list. With 13 Supporters, Computer Search, and 4 Tropical Beach, what could go wrong in getting setup fast? 3 Tool Scrapper should make winning the Garbodor matchup fairly straight forward as well.

Here’s how the tournament played out:

Hydreigon – Tie
Big Basics – Win
Virizion/Genesect – Win
Snorlax/Lugia – Loss
Big Basics/Garbodor – Loss

The Hydreigon matchup in round 1 was frustrating, because it’s not as good of a matchup as you might think and the player piloting it (Colin Moll) is very good. He plays multiple Sigilyph, and really controls what you can do with that. The matchup came down to me setting up 3 Blastoise, and attacking with just those and Keldeo EX, while he mostly walled with Sigilyph and attacked primarily with Hydreigon, and occasionally Sableye to Junk Hunt back in Dark Patch. As a result, this game took forever, and we ended in a tie.

The Virizion/Genesect matchup was interesting in that we both got off to really clunky starts. I got Blastoise out fast, but took a few turns before I could find Energy to attack with Black Kyurem EX. Ultimately I won the game.

The Snorlax/Lugia matchup came down to me prizing my last Tropical Beach and having to discard too many Superior Energy Retrieval. I worked out that I had just enough Energy in my deck for one more Black Ballista, so I chose to Black Ballista his Snorlax, and needed to draw my last Tropical Beach off my prizes as I went down to one card. I didn’t and was unable to attach more Energy without knocking out my Black Kyurem EX, so I used Rush In retreat, used Withdraw with Wartortle, and hit heads, but he had the Shadow Triad to Red Signal for the win.

The last round against Big Basics/Garbodor, we both started with no Supporter. The difference for our two decks was that he could power up his attacker in two turns, and was able to continously do Blow Through, as I shuffled between different Pokemon to absorb the damage. This game came down to 2 prizes apiece each for us once we finally drew out of it, but after he had a big Colress and then took a KO, he had pretty much everything he needed to win. If I had an N, I probably win, but I don’t, so I just have to take a knockout with Black Kyurem EX and hope for the best. He has the last Energy, Laser, and Virbank to hit for 180 with his Landorus EX for the win.

The Big Basics/Garbodor ended up winning the tournament. I would have made cut if I won, as a result of having good resistance from playing 3/4 of the top cut players and the 5th place bubble player, but I just couldn’t get that last win to get into cut.

Tournament 3 – Gothitelle/Gardevoir

With Big Basics and Plasma being the dominant forces the previous day (and Darkrai/Garbodor winning the League Challenge, more on that later), I felt this would be a good choice for the tournament. Against Plasma, all you have to do is bench nothing but Gothitelle line pieces, evolve them into Gothitelle so no matter what you have the Item lock, then attach Silver Mirror and you win.

For some reason there was a big meta shift towards Virizion/Genesect, even though it did mostly poor the previous day.

Here is the list I played:

Pokemon – 17

4 Gothita EPO
2 Gothorita DRX
4 Gothitelle EPO
2 Ralts NXD
1 Kirlia NXD
2 Gardevoir NXD
1 Mewtwo EX
1 Mr. Mime

Trainers – 33

4 Professor Juniper
4 N
4 Skyla

4 Ultra Ball
1 Level Ball
4 Rare Candy
3 Exp Share
1 Silver Mirror
1 Escape Rope
1 Dowsing Machine
1 Super Rod
1 Tool Scrapper

4 Tropical Beach

Energy – 10

10 Psychic

Here is how this tournament played out:

Virizion/Genesect – Win
Virizion/Genesect – Loss
Darkrai/Garbodor – Win
Big Basics/Garbodor – Loss
Big Basics/Victini EX/Garbodor – Win

In the first round against Virizion, I got a fast setup, and he didn’t get Virizion out fast, so there wasn’t much he could do in the matchup and I run pretty straight forward. In the second game against it, I started a hand with 2 Gothitelle and 2 Rare Candy, with Professor Juniper as my only Supporter, which wasn’t going to work. So I just use Ultra Ball, discarding 1 each of those, and Beach. My opponent gets turn 2 Emerald Slash, and always has the Lasers to take the KO’s on the little guys I send up. I am left with an out though, as my opponent is out of Grass Energy in their deck, has setup two Lugia EX (neither of which has a Plasma attached), and no Genesect benched, so they wouldn’t be able to Red Signal. I have to attach Exp. Share to make sure my next Gothitelle can attack next turn, but if I can get Tool Scrapper and Silver Mirror, I can win. I play N, I believe putting my opponent to 1-2 cards, and draw the Silver Mirror, but not the Tool Scrapper, but I have Skyla to grab it next turn, so if I can survive the next turn I can make that play, and just hope he doesn’t get into Genesect after I free a bench space for him. He gets Shadow Triad off the N and is able to Plasma Gale for the win.

Against the Darkrai/Garbodor and Big Basics/Garbodor I beat, I got setup with multiple Gothitelle, and there was nothing my opponents could do. Once you have your Exp. Shares setup, you do a consistent 110 minimum with Gothitelle, and build it up to 190 with 4 Energy, which is obviously super strong.

Against the Big Basics/Garbodor I lost to, I started without a Supporter and was just forced to sit there letting my Pokemon get ko’d. My opponent discarded Energy to use Land’s Judgment to KO my Mewtwo EX, and he played an N before doing so, giving me a chance to start getting setup, but I was probably too far behind. From there, he starts attacking with Mewtwo EX, and builds his bench up big. If I can knockout this Mewtwo EX, I have a chance if he can’t get another one out with two Energy to attack. Unfortuantely, I can’t get 2 Energy on Gothitelle to attack that turn, so I just have to setup Gardevoir only, Ultra Ball for my Gothorita, and use Hypnotic Gaze to put his Mewtwo to sleep. He flips tails, but has the Scramble Switch off the N to win.

I ended this tournament 3-2, well out of range of cut for the day.

The Peril of Stage 2’s

Overall, I am not really a fan of Stage 2’s in this format with so many of the top decks being easy to setup Big Basics decks like Darkrai/Garbodor, Virizion/Genesect, and Plasma. Even though you may have an advantage when you setup, that advantage seems to be pretty small, and it you are at a disadvantage seemingly against them because they have a low maintenance setup, while you don’t, so even if they don’t start a Supporter, they’re punished far less.

I played a high Supporter and Beach count, and still lost games due to not drawing a Supporter.

If there were any adjustments I would make to these lists, it would be to play a single copy of Jirachi EX in them to aide those situations where you have a Search card, but not a Supporter to give you a chance to setup. I don’t think I’d play Stage 2’s in this format without it anymore, they really need it.


Outside of those tournaments, I played in a League Challenge this weekend and did very well with Darkrai/Garbodor, I’ll be writing up a report for that in the coming days. I have a League Challenge tomorrow night, and then Regionals this weekend. Pretty sure I know what decks I’ll be playing for those, and feel pretty good about them. One thing is for sure though, my Regional’s deck won’t have Rare Candy in it!

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