Taking Another Look At Stage 1’s

With week one of State Championships fast approaching, I felt it would be a good time to take another look at one of the Tier 2 deck options that players may be considering for State Championships, and that is the Stage 1’s deck.

This past weekend I got in my first tournament experience in the XY format, and I decided to play the Stage 1’s deck at the tournament, so I have some fresh insights into building the deck that I didn’t previously have. I feel you can only know so much about a deck through testing, and it isn’t until you have a tournament experience with a deck under your belt that you truly begin to understand it.

Deck List

Here is the deck list I decided to play for the tournament. It’s a bit different from the list I covered in my last article on the deck, as I made some targeted changes to the deck to deal with my specific meta game.

Pokemon – 22

4 Eevee
4 Flareon PLF
1 Leafeon PLF
2 Pikachu XY
2 Raichu XY
2 Diglett XY
2 Dugtrio XY
2 Drifloon PLB
2 Drifblim PLB
1 Mr. Mime

Trainers – 29

4 Professor Juniper
4 N
3 Colress
1 Shauna

4 Ultra Ball
2 Level Ball
2 Escape Rope
1 Super Rod

3 Silver Bangle
2 Muscle Band

1 Computer Search

2 Tropical Beach

Energy – 9

3 Fighting
2 Fire
4 Double Colorless

I expected Plasma, Darkrai, and Genesect to make up the majority of the meta game. I was mostly right, but Virizion/Genesect was absent, from players who I would expect to play it not showing up to the tournament or switching decks. Plasma and Darkrai variants were definitely the most popular though.

To counter Plasma better, I decided to put in a 2-2 Drifblim line. Derail is great for discarding Plasma’s Energy, and with Muscle Band or Silver Bangle you can OHKO Deoxys EX. It’s also nice to add another free retreat Pokemon to the deck.

I added another Silver Bangle after taking Gourgeist out of the deck, as I felt I would need another damage multiplier without the spread damage.

The biggest mistake I made in making this build was bulking up my Flareon count. Flareon had been testing as a great attacker for me, however, that was with Gourgeist in the deck, and that spread damage. Without the spread damage, Flareon doesn’t really hit damage numbers as well as you would like, and the lack of Virizion in the meta really made 4-4 Flareon unnessecary and bad.

Tournament Report

We had five rounds of play for this tournament. Here are how my matches went.

Round 1 – Yveltal EX/Darkrai EX – I knew this player played Shadow Circle in his deck, but felt comfortable combating that with my Tropical Beach. In the end, he didn’t need it. I prized a Raichu, and he hit a heads on Catcher to knockout one of my Raichu’s, and from there I was left with a bunch of Pokemon that couldn’t score a OHKO, and just went down to a series of Y-Cyclones between 3 Yveltal EX.

Round 2 – Yveltal EX/Darkrai EX – I don’t think my opponent knew what any of the new cards like Raichu or Dugtrio did, which played well for this deck. I didn’t prize any important Pokemon lines, and was able to counter all his attackers perfectly between Dugtrio and Raichu. He also played Mewtwo EX, so I setup a Drifblim with an Energy to get it ready to attack, but he never attacked with Mewtwo in the game.

Round 4 – Hydreigon – Fairly early, when I just had two Pokemon on my field (A Flareon and Dugtrio), I was N’d into a hand with Professor Juniper and my three remaining Double Colorless Energy. I tried using Tropical Beach for a few turns to hit a shuffle draw supporter, but didn’t, and just scooped. There wasn’t much I could do, either get benched fast, or play Juniper and not have the resources necessary to win. I think sometimes with a deck like this you might end up with those weird hands that just cost you a game. I don’t think they will be too common, but definitely can happen.

Round 3/5 – Plasma – These matchups played out fairly similarly. Dugtrio knocking out some Thundurus EX, Drifblim knocking out Deoxys EX, and Raichu knocking out Lugia EX. On turns when you don’t necessarily have the attacker ready you want to counter, you can use Drifblim’s Derail attack to discard an Energy and set them back as well. A similar scenario played out at the end of both games. In my third round game, my opponent promoted Snorlax to stall me. I played Escape Rope, and would be able to knock out any of his Pokemon for the game (Flareon for Genesect, Dugtrio for Thundurus, Raichu for Lugia, Drifblim for Deoxys). In my fifth round game, my opponent could have done the same thing, but chose to Raiden Knuckle and hope I couldn’t hit my last Silver Bangle, but being able to draw out my deck with Professor Juniper the next turn, I was assured being able to knock it out. Even if I didn’t have access to Silver Bangle, a Derail from Drifblim could have prevented him from attacking with Lugia EX the next turn to try to win. If he did the Snorlax play, I had Escape Rope in hand to make the same play I did in round 3.

In the end, I finished 3-2. I think this was partially a result of some card choices (that Flareon line) as well as some poor draws (the 3 DCE’s). Would have been nice to get some championship points from this event, but to no avail, ended up 5th, losing out on resistance to the Darkrai deck I played round 1 by a good amount.

The deck did prove as a good choice for the day, as the top 4 for the event was: 1. Blastoise, 2. Stage 1’s, 3. Hydreigon, 4. Darkrai. One interesting note, is that Plasma was the most well represented deck in the meta, and I think 8th was its highest placing.

Figuring Out the Correct Formula

I think to figure out the right formula for this deck for week 1 of states, we have to figure out how we expect the meta game to play out. I would expect Plasma and Darkrai/Yveltal to be the two most popular decks by a wide margin. Outside of those, Virizion/Genesect will probably be the third most popular deck, and out of the really competitive stuff, Blastoise/Emboar will see play. I think Blastoise will see more play then Emboar for week 1 of states because of a lessening in popularity of Virizion, and Blastoise being better against the other two decks.

So with that in mind, here is what I would play in my Stage 1’s deck if I was playing it week one of States.

Pokemon – 22

2 Eevee
2 Flareon PLF
1 Leafeon PLF
3 Pikachu XY
3 Raichu XY
2 Diglett XY
2 Dugtrio XY
2 Drifloon PLB
2 Drifblim PLB
1 Zorua
1 Zoroark BLW
1 Mr. Mime 

Trainers – 

4 Professor Juniper
4 N
3 Colress
1 Shauna

4 Ultra Ball
2 Level Ball
2 Escape Rope
1 Super Rod

3 Silver Bangle
2 Muscle Band

1 Computer Search

2 Tropical Beach

Energy – 9

3 Fighting
2 Fire
4 Double Colorless

So the changes I would make to the deck would be to cut down on the Flareon line, and redistributing those resources elsewhere. I thickened the Raichu line, as I think countering Yveltal EX and Lugia EX will be of utmost importance. I also put in a Zoroark, as it’s good for copying Black Ballista (and then you have Leafeon for Keldeo EX). You don’t really have a great response to Black Kyurem non-EX, but as usual, Blastoise should be less popular then the other top decks, so it’s the matchup I would be most comfortable making my shaky matchup with the deck.

Garbodor DRX is another option for that last 1-1 slot, but I don’t really like playing Garbodor in decks without Float Stone, as well as a deck with only two retreating options.

Outside of that, not much has changed from my list from Saturday, but I think these small changes will help the deck play out better than it did for me.

Conclusion

I think this should give a good framework for how to play the deck for week one of states. If the meta game stays course for what is predicted, then I think this is a Tier 2 option that could put up good results during the first week of State Championships.

 

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