Hey everyone! My name in Conner LaVelle, and I’m the other Manectric EX/Fighting player that Andrew mentioned in his article on the deck. To provide a little background, I’m a St. Louis area player that has been in the game competitively since the DP-on era. I’ve had several successful seasons, with my most recent accomplishments being 2nd at last season’s Kansas Regionals and top 32 at US Nationals. My Nationals’ list made day two in the hands of everyone who played it. Deckbuilding is one of my favorite aspects of the game and the one that consumes most of my testing time. Thankfully, Andrew has given me an opportunity to write for you, so I hope I can maintain the quality that you expect from The Charizard Lounge!
Manectric/Fighting was a deck that I hadn’t looked at much before cities began, but it quickly gained my attention with the first few top 4 placings. Very little information existed pertaining to the deck, however, so I took a very ground-up approach to building it. I had a very specific metagame in mind when building the deck, with VirGen and Yveltal being highly popular and Donphan having just a small presence. We also have many players using Drifblim and Enhanced Hammer, so I wanted to avoid special energy as much as possible.
I also had a slightly different interpretation on how the deck was to function, but I don’t think this affected me negatively. While Andrew had mostly a fighting deck with Manectric as an option or backup, I wanted to get off several Turbo Bolts as fast as possible. If I could take a knockout with Mega Manectric EX and load up two Landorus EX on the bench, I would be able to use Land’s Judgment for my final four prizes. This was the game plan at the core of the deck, and it was able to synergize well with my avoidance of special energy.
I was able to settle on a few things early: high counts of Flare Tools for VirGen and Yveltal, all basic energy to avoid Drifblim and synergize with M Manectric EX, and several utility items for different situations, as is normal with me. A heavy fighting commitment allowed Korrina to fit seamlessly into the deck, also facilitating the aforementioned utility items. By the tournament, my list had come to look like this.
Pokemon – 10
3 Manectric EX
Trainers – 39
4 Professor Juniper
3 Ultra Ball
2 Muscle Band
3 Head Ringer
3 Fighting Stadium
Energy – 11
I’ll go over a few of the card counts to explain some choices.
Pokemon: The Pokemon line was built with a few purposes. I wanted to start Manectric EX as frequently as possible, so I used a bit of a pyramid line. Landorus was the deck’s muscle, with two on the field being ideal. The Keldeo EX was to prevent a total autoloss to Donphan, giving me an easy way to knock it out without over-committing. Terrakion was the token non-EX attacker, having great synergy with Turbo Bolt and proving itself highly valuable during testing.
Supporters: The supporter line in this deck looks odd and a bit thin. I only like three N in a deck that plans to get ahead, with VS Seeker to retrieve it when in need. Korrina was a great card in here, but I wanted a Skyla for the supporter and stadium outs. Retrospectively, the third Korrina would have very likely been a better play, with Computer Search being an option to get a Supporter. I did use Skyla for Fighting Stadium on occasion, but not enough that I felt the card was on par with Korrina. Heavy Lysandre was the result of it testing very well and improving the Donphan matchup by bounds. Colress would have been extremely risky to play in here as the bench is always small. VS Seeker gives a lot of flexibility, so I prioritize it over hard supporters after I hit 11 or so. You only ever need one supporter before all of your VS Seekers are live.
Tools: I went with a very heavy Flare Tool line to combat VirGen, with Head Ringer for Virizion EX and Jamming Net for Genesect EX. While I would play a Ringer on Genesect to prevent a G Booster, I would never waste a Jamming Net on Virizion. The impact of Netting a Virizion is very small, only helping in specific circumstances. Saving a Net for Genesect can keep you in the game by dropping the damage cap, G Booster aside. On my side of the board, two Muscle Band proved to be sufficient. I would almost never attach them to anything but Landorus EX, and Korrina helped get them when needed.
Utility: Tool Retriever was to keep off Flare Tools for the most part. They can make Mega Evolving completely impractical and keep Land’s Judgment from taking a KO. In a few situations, I would remove a Spirit Link after Mega Evolving to Muscle Band M Manectric EX, allowing me to take important knockouts while preserving energy. Startling Megaphone was to remove tools on EX’s in case my opponent managed to fill their board with tools before I could. Sacrificing Flare Tools to remove things like G Booster is also a completely worthwhile play, and I did it occasionally to great benefit. Battle Compressor allowed me to remove dead cards for various matchups (Keldeo, excess stadiums) or send energy to the discard easily. Letter is always useful, especially with two different energy types. Korrina and Skyla allowed me to keep these consistently in my hand when I needed them.
Energy: Four and Seven worked well for what I wanted the deck to do. Including one or two Strong Energy is something I will definitely test again in the future, but three would be my absolute cap. The additional damage was never meaningful when they were in there, Drifblim became a huge problem, and Enhanced Hammer could ruin a setup if I failed to find basic energy early. Any less than five Basic Fighting would also make Turbo Bolt very hard to consistently use to full effect twice. I found seven to be a perfect number.
The biggest inclusion that I would want is Hawlucha FFI, a card that I completely passed over in testing. It gives the deck tremendous prize trading power, a free retreating pivot after a knockout, and a great attacker for a fast start. I’m skeptical of how useful this card would be without Strong Energy, but altering the Energy line isn’t too difficult. Later testing has shown the card to be a huge asset against Seismitoad EX, one of the biggest weaknesses to the deck previously. A Landorus EX, a couple Flare Tools, and a basic energy or two can be dropped to add two Hawlucha and two or three Strong Energy. This change makes the deck more aggressive, but can harm your ability to consistently use Turbo Bolt. If you expect more Manectric EX decks, this card can be a nightmare, as it often forces opposing Manectric into the attacking spot to trade efficiently. Once Manectric EX is active, Landorus EX can easily grab a knockout, especially with a higher Strong Energy count. Be aware that opposing Hawlucha can force you into a similarly unfavorable position, though, with Terrakion being your primary answer.
Unfortunately, while Hawlucha is very strong in its own right, I found that changing the deck to incorporate it hurt the Yveltal EX matchup noticeably. This was due to a lessening the ability to get off fast Turbo Bolts. Going up to three Hawlucha and dropping down to one Landorus EX may even allow for a positive Seismitoad EX matchup, but be cautious of the sacrifice. As is the story with this deck, knowing your metagame is very important to a strong run, and Hawlucha is no exception.
Jirachi EX is another card that I’m looking to add. I was initially hesitant, but as Andrew said in his article, the absence of healing leaves a lot of sub 100 HP EX’s on board. Jirachi wouldn’t be any more dangerous on the bench than anything else with damage. On the positive side, Jirachi could become that one supporter that you need to make all of your VS Seekers live, or draw you out of a dead hand.
All retrospective criticism aside, the deck did exactly what I wanted it to. VirGen and Yveltal ended up extremely positive matchups, and Drifblim lines were upwards of four dead cards in opposing decks. On the opposite end, Donphan was rough and Hawlucha could be lethal. Seismitoad was a huge toss up; whoever got the faster start would steamroll 90% of the time. Andrew’s version is better against Donphan and has a huge advantage in the mirror, whereas my version is stronger against VirGen. Yveltal is positive for either variant, with me having heavy Manectric and Flare Tools and him having Drifblim and Hammers.
I look forward to improving and testing this deck further. It’s a serious contender and can be built very flexibly for different metagames. The only time I wouldn’t play this deck would be if you expect a lot of Seismitoad EX/Hammers. The matchup can be extremely difficult, with Seismitoad eating Landorus and Crushing Hammer being potentially devastating early on. Hawlucha will make the matchup better, but another deck entirely would probably be the best option.
Thanks for reading my first article here, and I’ll hopefully be bringing more in the future! If you liked it or have any criticism, just leave a comment! Any and all responses would be fantastic.