Lightning Up Fighting: M Manectric EX and Fighting
Fighting is one of those archetypes where there are so many good things going for it, but while the deck was pretty solid last format it never seemed to come together to become a high level deck in many players minds. Part of this was just the meta it came into, Seismitoad EX was solid against the Landorus parts of the deck, Mewtwo EX was a very popular inclusion in decks and that easily OHKO’d Lucario EX, and Yveltal XY and Yveltal EX made life the most difficult for it with their resistance, while also being combined with the other two aforementioned cards that were good against the other stuff in Fighting. Mr. Mime also saw a very high amount of play which made Landorus EX much less effective than it was at a tournament like US Nationals where it won it.
However, with Manectric EX and M Manectric EX, Fighting probably has a stronger place in this format than it has showed thus far in its results. During the first two weeks of City Championships, M Manectric EX with Fighting has four Top 4 finishes, with a 1st, two 2nd’s, and a 3rd. This solidly positions it in the top 10 archetypes of a deep format, but one that has been towards the bottom of it. While it’s towards the bottom of the Top 10 at the moment, it’s a deck I feel can creep up a few spots as City Championships continue.
At the last City Championship I attended, myself and another player both went 3-0-2 and made it to Top 8. I lost in Top 8 1-2 against the Donphan deck that would go onto win it, and he lost to another Big Basics deck (which also included Landorus EX and Manectric EX, but also had Victini EX, Seismitoad EX, Mewtwo EX, and Garbodor). In fact, the other M Manectric EX/Fighting deck was vastly different than mine. The other M Manectric EX/Fighting deck was vastly different from mine, so there is a lot more variation to the deck beyond the version I will describe for the bulk of this article.
How does Manectric work with Fighting?
There are two main reasons why Fighting makes a good pairing with the Manectric cards in the format, and both of them have to do how the cards interact with Landorus EX.
Let’s start with just Landorus EX and the regular Manectric EX. When playing Fighting decks, Hammerhead with Landorus EX is always a strong first turn attack, and as long as Mr. Mime isn’t in play, it will be doing a minimum of 30+30, with the damage to the Active Pokemon increasing depending on what damage modifiers are in play. This damage from Hammerhead combos very well with Manectric EX’s Assault Laser attack. If they have a Tool attached (which you can put on EX’s yourself with the Flare Tools) then Manectric EX does 120 or 140 with a Muscle Band, which is very strong to clean up on the Hammerhead damage for KO’s.
M Manectric EX’s Turbo Bolt attack accelerates two Basic Energy from your discard pile, and by adding such powerful Energy acceleration you will naturally want strong attackers to take use of that, and Landorus EX fits into that role nicely with its Lands Judgment attack, which does a base of 150 if you discard all Fighting attached to it. With damage modifiers, that attack will OHKO should OHKO all of the EX’s that are being played at the moment (some of the non-played Megas could be tough to get to). And then after you use a Lands Judgment, you can switch back into M Manectric EX and do 110-130 damage, and then re-setup Landorus EX for another Lands Judgment for a OHKO.
Additionally, Fighting had a poor Dark matchup in the previous format, but now with Manectric EX and M Manectric EX, it has about as hard of a type counter as you could ask for against those decks, so when paired with Manectric EX, Fighting has flipped the Yveltal matchup from negative to positive.
In short, Landorus EX pairs well with both Manectric cards, and Manectric provides Fighting with the type counter it desperately needed for the Yveltal matchup. This is the core logic behind why you would want to pair Manectric with Fighting, and from there you fill out the deck with other stuff to make the deck more well rounded.
The basis of my deck build is from what I saw people playing at the City Championship I attended last weekend in Wisconsin. I played against the deck three times between Swiss and Top Cut, and saw two different variations, and took ideas from both of the ones I played against it building my own.
The way I built the deck is mainly as a Fighting deck, that also is able to take use of Manectric EX. There are matchups (basically Donphan and Fighting) where you don’t want to play down any Manectric EX as they will easily get OHKO’d, and in those matchups it almost seemed like I wasn’t even playing a Manectric deck and rather a weird Fighting deck with Lightning Energy and random Manectric Spirit Links that I would toss on Jirachi EX or Pokemon that were about to get knocked out.
Here is my list for the deck as of now:
Pokemon – 14
2 Landorus EX
Trainers – 36
4 Professor Juniper
3 Ultra Ball
3 Muscle Band
2 Fighting Stadium
Energy – 10
4 Strong Energy
This was one of the grossest deck lists I think I’ve made lately on paper. Looking at it, it just seemed silly to play almost all my Pokemon in 2-of’s, but it never made much sense to me to play anything in higher counts than that, and after a significant games of testing over the past week, only playing 2-of each Pokemon never seemed to really get in the way of the deck performing, as it was almost impossible for everything useful for a matchup to be prized.
The other weird thing is all of the 1-of’s, but I think this worked really well in this deck because of Korrina. With Korrina, you can get away with playing some low counts of cards that might seem important, or make big use of cards that would otherwise be non-impactful as just a 1-of because of their inconsistency.
The big two examples I can think of are the Spirit Link and Head Ringer. With Korrina, you can easily search out Spirit Link to start the process of Mega Evolving without ending your turn. Conversely, with Head Ringer as a 1-of, it wouldn’t be very effective otherwise as you wouldn’t draw into it early enough very often. But with Korrina, you can grab it turn 1 to instantly slow your opponent down, or grab it out of the deck late game when you know your opponent doesn’t have a Supporter or the resources in hand to get the desired attack off if you put the Head Ringer on them.
The main support Pokemon are of the Fighting variety. Hawlucha is good for cleaning stuff up, as both Landorus EX and Manectric EX have snipe attacks and can start putting on damage. Otherwise it is good for just swinging into EX’s for 2HKO’s on the first few turns of the game as they’re still getting setup, and I think it helps the Toad matchup quite a bit.
Terrakion was a last minute add, as I was having difficult against Donphan decks with just Drifblim, as some people happen to play a very high Fighting count in it over stuff like DCE and Strong Energy. It’s in no way the optimal play, but it is something that I’ve seen so it was enough to make me add it in, and I’m glad I did. Your EX’s almost never get OHKO’d, so you will have the turns available to get the extra attachment onto Terrakion. It trades very well with EX’s, and it’s very strong against Donphan as they can’t OHKO it without using wreck. It’s damage output is very good as well, I was easily swinging for 130 with it against Donphan.
With just a Strong and Muscle Band it is already doing 130 damage. Add a 2nd Strong Energy, and it does 150, and Fighting Stadium can bring that up to 170, allowing it to OHKO EX’s with that much HP, which is pretty slick. With the damage that Hammerhead and Overrun can setup for it as well, just hitting for 130-150 and not having all components there is often good enough as well, and all you need for that is Muscle Band, one Strong, and a Fighting Stadium.
If I were to play the deck again, I would definitely work on fitting in a second Terrakion. Not sure what I would cut yet, but it’s definitely worth the spot.
The Drifblim line is primarily to strengthen your Donphan matchup, as it will generally take two knockouts against the deck before anything knocks it out in the deck. You of course play 2 Enhanced Hammer to help in getting Special Energy in the discard to boost the damage output of Shadow Steal. While not a primarily part of the strategy against other matchups, it still can come in handy against stuff like Yveltal, Night March, and Virizion EX/Genesect EX which also play Special Energy in 4-counts.
I’m not a player that plays Jirachi EX in everything, but I thought it was an okay play in this deck, as since I don’t play healing, I would have EX’s on my bench with damage being threatened to be KO’d if my opponent has Lysandre, so it didn’t make much of a difference to me whether that was Jirachi or just that other EX.
I played 2 Bicycle, which I think is something you should be playing in any deck that is playing Korrina, as it gives you the option to turn Korrina into what is essentially a draw Supporter when you grab a Bicycle with it.
Tool Retriever gave me a way to get rid of my opponent’s Flare Tools, pick up the Spirit Link from M Manectric EX to allow me to put a Muscle Band on it to do 130 damage, as well as pick up the Spirit Link to put on a second Manectric EX, or put the Spirit Link on a random Pokemon like Hawlucha and then pick it up later to put on a Manectric EX when I otherwise would have had to just discard it with Juniper. You can also pick up Muscle Band from Pokemon that have exhausted its use and are about to get knocked out, and then put them on Pokemon that you will be using later in the match. This is definitely worth its spot in the deck.
Lastly, I chose to play Dowsing Machine in my deck, as I liked being able to have a 3rd Enhanced Hammer and 3rd Fighting Stadium, another out for Spirit Link after it’s been discarded, and I just like the versatility of having extra copies of stuff. Some people like Computer Search with Korrina, as it lets you grab a Supporter, but I had the Ultra Ball for Jirachi EX play if I ever got really desperate for a Supporter off of Korrina and didn’t have something else I could get back with VS Seeker, and I also played Bicycle for draw off of Korrina, making the need for Computer Search low, as I don’t feel getting Strong is stronger for the deck than getting extra copies of its Trainers.
Additionally, I think a fact of Pokemon I have become to accept is that some tournaments I will just dead draw, others I won’t. While Computer Search does increase consistency, just changing the Ace Spec to Computer Search doesn’t drastically change a deck’s consistency. The one City Championship I played Computer Search this year I dead drew and did poorly as a result. The two I played other Ace Specs, I didn’t dead draw I did good.
Everything else in the deck is probably pretty self explanatory. The one thing missing from this deck is some type of recovery. I don’t think it’s absolutely needed, but it’s nice to have that safety net sometimes. Super Rod would be a natural inclusion, but that’s rotated, and Sacred Ash only gets back Pokemon. Lysandre’s Trump Card is an option, but I’m always hesitant to play that card in decks without significant non-Supporter based draw, and it does conflict with your Drifblim. I will probably just leave recovery out, as running out of stuff never became too much of an issue, I just had to think more critically about Energy management in some games, and a mis-attachment in some of my games could have led to a loss just because of how tight you are on resources.
While this deck has yet to see a significant amount of success as of now, I would expect to see things pick up for the deck as City Championships go on, as the general strength of the deck and matchups for the deck are there. The deck has pretty favorable matchups against Yveltal, Virgen, and Pyroar, and has matchups hovering around 50/50 against Donphan, Bronzong, Aromatisse, and other Manectric based decks. Seismitoad decks can be rough, but they’re definitely beatable with this deck.
My build for this deck is also just one way to play the deck. The other one that made Top 4 at the City Championship I was just at was much different from mine, and I believe focused more on setting up Lands Judgment with M Manectric EX, while mine was more of a Fighting deck with Manectric options. I’ve also seen the deck played with lots of Flare Tools and LaserBank, which also seems viable, but I think that one is a bit worse than the Mega variants for the deck.
This is definitely one of my favorite decks for this format. There’s a lot of depth and different avenues of strategy that you can take with this deck with all the different Pokemon attack options which can make for a lot of fun, well thought out, competitive games with this deck.