Still Junk Hunting: 4th Place League Challenge Report
Just wanted to take the time to catch up on a League Challenge I played in last weekend that I haven’t had the time yet to do a write up on. The tournament preceded our State Championship last Wednesday, and it was a five round Swiss League Challenge, in the single game, 30 minute format.
For the tournament, since Plasma decks were so big at the past League Challenge, I decided that my trusted Sableye/Garbodor deck would be a good play for the tournament. It’s not all Sableye as it was at Nationals, I still run other attackers just as I did during the League Challenge I played it at in January, but Sableye is definitely the focus of the deck, and since I run no more than 1 of any of the other attackers in the deck, I think Sableye/Garbodor is a better name for the deck then Darkrai/Garbodor or something of that nature.
The list I played for the deck hasn’t really changed very much since January, just had to make some logical changes to account for some changes to the meta game as well as incorporate new cards that work well with the deck.
Pokemon – 11
4 Sableye DEX
Trainers – 41
4 Professor Juniper
3 Random Receiver
3 Ultra Ball
4 Float Stone
1 Dowsing Machine
2 Virbank City Gym
Energy – 8
I’ll briefly cover the changes I made to the deck here.
I took out one of the Darkrai EX, for a Yveltal EX. Because of the nature of the deck being focused around discarding your opponent’s Energy and locking them, they will usually only be able to really get one attacking threat going. Yveltal EX is great for knocking out that one threat for you. I generally like attacking with Darkrai EX when I am in the sweep phase of the game, because the spread damage from Night Spear helps speed up the process of taking prizes, but realistically, any of your attackers will get the job done when your opponent is out of Energy to attack.
I changed the tool count to 4 Float Stone and 2 Silver Mirror. I think having 4 Float Stone available is too important to the deck to cut lower on as being able to access the attacker you want for that turn is too important. Additionally, with an increase of Pokemon Catcher, you don’t want a Garbodor with something like a Silver Mirror Active, as that can cause you to lose from decking out.
Silver Mirror is super strong right now as Plasma has increased in popularity recently, not only as its own archetype, but also being incorporated with the new Fairy Pokemon. Between Silver Mirror denying their attacks damage, and discarding their Energy, Plasma doesn’t stand much of a chance in most normal matches.
Once again, I’ll be brief with my match recaps as the matches largely come down to whether you lock your opponent or not, and it’s just a never ending series of Junk Hunt, mostly for your hammers to discard your opponent’s Energy. Instead, I’ll just go over key highlights of each match.
Round 1 – Emboar – W
Round 2 – Flareon/Drifblim – W
Round 3 – Emboar – W
Round 4 – Blastoise – Tie
Round 5 – Plasma/Kyurem – L
The two matchups against Emboar were relatively easy. I believe both of them played 2 Tool Scrapper, as well as Dowsing Machine. While Tool Scrapper is impactful, it’s less impactful in this matchup then against Blastoise, as Emboar decks almost rely exclusively on attacks that discard Energy, so it’s rare that they will be able to attack again back to back, so you just have to re-establish the lock. Additionally, Emboar decks are tighter for space than Blastoise, so they are less likely to play Pokemon Catcher.
The first round match against Emboar, I ended up winning by deck out. These decks have to keep drawing through their decks to find their Tool Scrappers/Energy in order to do anything, so it’s very easy to deck them out. The third round matchup against Emboar, my opponent didn’t get a quick setup, I established a lock, and was able to leave him to taking only one prize I believe, and took most of my knockouts with Hypnotoxic Laser, but also had Yveltal EX and Darkrai EX setup on my bench to attack if needed. I think I used Darkrai to finish up the game after there was little threat of losing.
My second round matchup against Flareon was fairly easy. They play mostly DCE, so you’re able to easily OHKO, they’re short on switching cards, so Hypnotoxic Laser is great for taking KO’s, and Silver Mirror can go a long way to letting you destroy them with Sableye, as Flareon (and Leafeon) are both Plasma Pokemon. I took almost all of my knockouts in this matchup with Hypntoxic Laser. I think I didn’t start a Supporter, and but started Virbank City Gym and Hypnotoxic Laser, and just used that to take prizes in order to find a Supporter, and then just kept doing that until I won the game.
My round 4 matchup against Blastoise, I play an N on turn one, and then don’t see another Supporter for a long time. This allowed my opponent to jump to a quick 5-0 prize lead, but I was able to establish the lock thanks to my opponent leaving his only Tool Scrapper to his last prize card, and hitting some Crushing Hammer heads during the critical life and death moments. From there, I just had to commit to the hammers strategy to prevent him from getting the Energy on an attacker to take the final knockout on my Sableye for game. While I am pretty confident that I had my opponent locked for game, because of my slow setup, and the threat of Sableye easily being knocked out, I could never transition to one of my backup attackers, and just had to keep Hammering, which didn’t leave enough time to take the final prizes. The best I could do was to get down to one prize to even the prize count, but there just wasn’t enough time to take another knockout unless my opponent misplayed by sending up an EX after I knocked out his Keldeo EX.
My round 5 match against Plasma was very anti-climactic. I start without a Supporter, and Thundurus EX with Muscle Band easily knocks out your Pokemon when your’e not hammering away their Energy and locking them with Garbodor. I do draw a Supporter eventually, and get a Silver Mirror on my Sableye when my opponent is down to one prize card, but he has the Tool Scrapper and a Switch option, and is able to knockout the last Sableye for game.
All in all, I ended up 3-1-1, and finished in 4th place for the tournament, adding 10 more championship points to my season total.
As I’ve written about this deck a couple times before, I didn’t want to fill this article with strategy details again. Below are links to my previous writings on the deck which can give you more insight into the strategy and thinking behind the deck, as well as just more elaborations and details into the deck.
Junk Hunt, Junk Hunt, Junk Hunt…A Nationals Report – My U.S. Nationals Report for the deck from last summer.
Junk Hunt, Junk Hunt, Junk Hunt – The Sequel – My 1st Place League Challenge Report from January.
I think this deck can be a great play for upcoming State Championships and Regional Championships. Special Energy is seemingly being played in every deck, making Enhanced Hammer great, and Plasma is seeing a lot of play, giving Silver Mirror good use for the deck.
I think the deck generally will beat Blastoise and Emboar still, although the inclusion of Pokemon Catcher in Blastoise lists in this format does give that deck a better chance then it did in the past.
My main concern if I were to play this deck for a State Championship would be Darkrai EX/Yveltal EX. Those decks are difficult to beat compared to other decks because they can get their Energy back by using Junk Hunt for Dark Patch, and can simultaneously work on knocking out your Sableye’s with Hypnotoxic Laser.
The best way to combat this deck is to use Dowsing Machine to Ghetsis away their Items that they Junk Hunt for, use Hypnotoxic Laser to passively knock out their Sableye, and just hammer away at them. Once they’re out of Sableye to use Junk Hunt with, their resource recovery is over for the game, and you can comfortably hammer off the rest of their Energy and then just attack with Darkrai EX for the rest of your prizes.
I may play this deck for a State Championship or Regional Championship coming up, I really don’t know. A large part of what would dictate me playing the deck is the amount of Plasma versus Darkrai decks in the meta game. The more Plasma, and less Darkrai there is, the more likely I would be to play the deck. I think the deck may be a better play for a bigger tournament, with more Swiss rounds like Regionals, as your matchup variance should be less then something like a State Championship, giving you more room to succeed with the deck.
Either way, I have the deck built, and will probably keep it built and in my bag throughout this format. It’s always a strong consideration to be played, so I like to have it on hand at all times. We only have some scans from Flash Fire right now, but so far, the set looks to be mostly rubbish (some cards have some potential for after rotation), so it’s possible we see little change in the format from now until Nationals. If that happens, I might just play the same deck for Nationals back to back years. I’m really liking the deck, and I think it’s a great fit for the 50 minute best of 3 format as you can turn matches into one long drawn out game, and stall well enough to prevent game 2’s from concluding.