One of the unique things about Night March is that a lot of support has been released for the archetype, giving you multiple pathways into building the deck. While the different decks that can be built using the Night March concept vary drastically, the core of each deck is the same, and that is to knock stuff out with Night March.
What is Night March?
Night March is an attack that was printed on three different Pokemon – Joltik, Pumpkaboo, and Lampent – in Phantom Forces. The attack does 20 damage times the number of Pokemon with the Night March attack that are in your discard pile.
The concept breaks down simply as, get Night March Pokemon into the discard pile and then swing for big damage. With just 7 Night March Pokemon in the discard pile, you can swing for 140 damage, which is good to knockout most non-EX’s, and which can knockout a 170 HP EX with a Silver Bangle. With 8 in the discard pile, you can knockout 180 HP EX’s with a Muscle Band.
To get these Pokemon in the discard pile, we have received Battle Compressor, an Item card that lets you search your deck for 3 cards and put them in your discard pile. This is a fast and effective means to getting lots of Night March Pokemon into your discard pile.
The core of the deck is always going to be the same, you will always max out Joltik, Pumpkaboo, and Lampent at 4-ofs. This is the only method in which to get enough Night Marchers into the discard pile for OHKO’s. Joltik and Pumpkaboo are your attackers, while Lampent is the first discard target you will normally go for, as it is a Stage 1 and in most variants it cannot be setup to attack with.
The other methods of playing the deck involve using Celebi EX’s Time Rewind Ability to play evolutions of Pumpkaboo and Lampent to add some unique twists to the deck.
Gourgeist, the evolution of Pumpkaboo, has an Ability, Gourgantic, which gives it 200 HP when it has a Grass Energy attached to it. While this is attractive in creating a hard to knock out Pokemon, having to attach a Grass Energy means you are going to be taking two turns of attachment to make use of the Ability.
Chandelure, the evolution of Lampent (which evolves from Litwick first) has Fainting Spell, which has you flip a coin when Chandelure is knocked out from an attack and if heads, the opponent’s attacking Pokemon is knocked out. This Ability is terrifying, but having to manually evolve all the way to a Stage 2 would make any such deck very slow in getting setup.
These two concepts share a pair of problems. First, both have Dark Weaknesses, which make them very easy to KO by the ever popular Yveltal EX. Secondly, both rely on Celebi EX, who with its 110 HP is very easy to knockout and can fall prey to an opponent’s constant use of Lysandre, which will be easy to pull off on consecutive turns thanks to VS Seeker. Once Celebi EX is gone from the field, these Pokemon also lose the Ability to use Night March.
While both of these Pokemon have some really cool Abilities, a deck utilizing them and Night March doesn’t seem like the best way to make use of the Night March archetype as they will be slow and not very consistent.
The Best Way to Night March
The best way to play Night March is to focus on consistency. You want to build your deck to get Night March Pokemon into the discard pile as quickly as possible. You should be able to Night March for a KO every turn from turn 1 (or 2 if you go second on), and if you’re not doing that, I think you’re playing the deck wrong.
Here is my current list for Night March:
Pokemon – 18
4 Pumpkaboo PHF
Trainers – 34
4 Professor Juniper
4 Ultra Ball
3 Muscle Band
4 Dimension Valley
Energy – 8
The main attacker that I use in this deck is Mew EX, which I use to copy the Night March attack, and then I mix up attacking with Mew EX with Joltik and Pumpkaboo every now and then depending on my hand and the game state. Mew EX really increases the consistency of the deck, as you are less reliant on hitting a Double Colorless Energy every turn to be able to use Night March. If you have Joltik on your bench, and Dimension Valley in play, you can use Night March with Mew EX for just one Energy.
Tornadus EX is my backup attacker in case of a Lysandre’s Trump Card in which I can’t get my Night March Pokemon back into the discard pile right away. Mew works very nicely with the card, as you can use Blow Through for a single Energy for 60 damage, or Power Blast for a DCE for 100. This seems like solid damage to get you through any turns that you aren’t using Night March because of a LTC. Tornadus’ attacks are also very good to copy with Mew EX for some potential donk situations, although most of the time you should be able to just use Night March for the same effect.
While Mew EX is a generally low HP EX, it can be very difficult for your opponent to actually knockout in one hit. The reason is because you’re knocking out all their Pokemon in one hit, and when you’re knocking off all of your opponent’s Energy from their field every turn, their Pokemon are limited in the damage that their attacks can do.
As you want to be copying Joltik’s attack to allow you to Night March for the smallest Energy investment possible, Mr. Mime is a necessity to protect a benched Joltik. At only 30 HP, Joltik could easily fall victim to a snipe attack, so protecting him with Bench Barrier is necessary. I like to include some Psychic Energy to copy Psy Bolt, which can be game saving in some situations.
Everything else in this list is just built for aggressiveness and consistency. I play 7 draw items to give me big first turns in an attempt to get a powerful Night March going right away. I max out Battle Compressor and Dimensional Valley to maximize my probabilities of getting Night March off for the proper damage when I need it.
As for the flex Energy, you can do a few different things with these. Mystery Energy is an option to give some mobility, but just discarding Energy to retreat is usually fine, and I’d rather just play more Basic Energy as it can be gotten back with Energy Retrieval, and helps against random stuff like Aegislash EX. With these, you just have to understand your local meta game, and pick Energy that would allow Mew EX to copy certain extra attacks. For example, if Yveltal decks are big, some Dark Energy to copy Evil Ball might be solid, or Fighting Energy where Donphan is popular. This doesn’t have too much impact on how the deck plays out, as you want to be using Night March most turns, but it’s best to pick the best Energy just in case a situation occurs where it could be useful.
I wavered back and forth between playing Jirachi EX or just another N, and settled on playing Jirachi as you will have plenty of low HP Ex’s for your opponent to knockout on your field already in Mew EX, and it gives you 4 extra outs to a Supporter on turn 1, increasing the deck’s consistency. With 13 other Basic Pokemon in the deck, you should also seldom start with a lone Jirachi EX.
Something to play around with is the 4th Dimension Valley slot, which could be used for another card that you might feel is needed for your meta game. This is a meta blind build for the deck, and I like having 4 Dimension Valley for consistency of getting it out early and bouncing my opponent’s Stadiums later, but it’s not absolutely necessary to play 4. For example, Max Revive is very strong in this spot for getting back a Night March Pokemon to attack with, but I don’t think it’s necessary and is more of a bandaid for poor play.
Dowsing Machine is also a valid play for the Ace Spec slot, and can give you extra Pokemon Catcher, or fish out a Dimension Valley, or get your Energy Retrieval back for you in a pinch. I just have Computer Search in the deck to maximize early game consistency, but I could see Dowsing Machine working as well.
What About Flareon? I Heard People Were Playing That In This.
I am not really certain how this became a thing, but it doesn’t seem like that great of a concept except for both archetypes wanting Pokemon in the discard pile. The only thing Flareon really does for you is give you a good Pyroar matchup, while making most of your other matchups worse, as you’re killing the consistency of the deck.
In this version, a standard attacking lineup looks something like a 3-3 or 4-4 Flareon line, along with the 12 Night March Pokemon, and then it still runs similar Energy, as in 4 DCE and 4 Basic Energy (usually Fire because of Flareon). When you play a Pokemon line such as this, the two archetypes mashed together are competing for the same resources…the Double Colorless Energy. You only have 4, and for any other attack you want to do you have to rely on a double Energy attachment, an issue the Mew version doesn’t have as you can attack with a single Energy.
If you try to fit in Mew EX and Dimensional Valley in addition to Flareon, you’re entering the territory of too much junk in the trunk, and you will get slowed down with a slow and clunky deck that doesn’t function properly half the time as you made it inconsistent.
Oddly, by adding a Fire Pokemon, you actually negatively impact the deck’s Bronzong matchup, as the Flareon version of the deck doesn’t deal well with Aegislash EX, the Pokemon that prevents damage from Pokemon with Special Energy attached. Because you rely on double attachments, the Bronzong player can target down your Pokemon with Basic Energy with Lysandre, leaving your Pokemon with Special Energy attached helpless against the mighty Aegislash EX.
Flareon really doesn’t add a great new dimension to the deck. Pyroar is a deck that struggles with the two top decks in the format (Seismitoad/Garbodor and Donphan), so it isn’t a deck that you should prioritize worrying about too much. When playing a fast and consistent Mew EX version, you already have good matchups against stuff like Virizion EX/Genesect EX, Manectric decks, Yveltal EX and Bronzong, so adding Flareon isn’t putting you in a stronger position in regards to those decks either.
Night March is a fast and powerful deck that will surely see some success during City Championships. However, I would be very weary to bring the deck into most normal meta games. The deck, no matter what you try to do, will probably do poorly against Donphan, and Seismitoad/Garbodor will be very hard to take down if they play Lysandre’s Trump Card.
Overall, I’ve found Night March to struggle against decks that play Lysandre’s Trump Card that are also being piloted by a good player. Skilled players should be able to play around a linear concept if they have the right cards in their deck.
With poor matchups against the top two decks, I would be scared to bring Night March with me to a City Championship, however, it is important to remember that City metagames will vary drastically based upon areas, and Night March does have some good matchups against the rest of the field, so if you are playing in a meta absent of heavy Donphan and Seismitoad play, Night March is probably a strong play.