Through Hell and High Water – Trudging on with Blastoise and Emboar
In my breakdown of City Championships at the midway point, I remarked how it’s a sign that Stage 2’s are in a dark place right now because a deck such as Blastoise, which can do 200 damage attacks for consecutive turns cannot even make a single Top 4 at City Championships. While City Championships were dark days for these decks, brighter days may be on the horizon.
The main culprit behind the death of Blastoise was Seismitoad EX. Blastoise decks simply had no hope of getting their Blastoise out against such a quick Item lock. However, the format looks as though it could be ready to shift away from Seismitoad EX decks in the Primal Clash format.
Primal Groudon EX busts onto the scene with its Barrier Ancient Trait, which blocks the use of any Items and Supporter cards from effecting a Primal Groudon EX. This means Seismitoad EX will be capped at 50 damage per a turn against a Primal Groudon EX (so a 5HKO at best), while being unable to use Hypnotoxic Laser, Crushing Hammer, Enhanced Hammer, Team Flare Grunt, Xerosic or Lysandre to hinder the setup of a Primal Groudon EX. Once one is setup, it will ruthlessly finish off Seismitoad EX decks quickly with continuous 200 damage attacks.
Additionally, Pokemon such as Primal Kyogre EX, with the Growth Ancient Trait may be able to outpace Seismitoad’s Energy disruption thanks to the trait, and nonetheless, it should be a factor in the format in some way. With Primal Groudon EX and Primal Kyogre EX both being Grass weak, there will be more incentive to play Virizion EX/Genesect EX based decks, which give Seismitoad decks issues. All of this added together should result in a decrease in play for Seismitoad EX decks, which should open opportunities for decks such as the rain dance duo to see successful play.
Both decks also gain a lot of new cards that can be used – Archie’s Ace in the Hole, Dive Ball, and Rough Seas for Blastoise; Camerupt EX, Torchic, and Scorched Earth for Emboar. While not all of these cards made it into my final lists for the decks, they are worthy of consideration.
I think both of these decks warrant a lot of testing, as unlimited Energy attachments per a turn with Deluge and Inferno Fandago and access to OHKO attacks are very powerful.
When initially building Blastoise for this format, I was more attracted to the non-conventional route of building the deck, as I had tested the deck quite a bit for City Championships, and the conventional build never tested all that great, so I think it had to take on a different form. After getting some testing in, and smoothing out my list some, I found just using Archie’s Ace in the Hole to put my Blastoise into play to be much more fluid than trying to setup through Rare Candy.
Here is my current list for Blastoise:
Pokemon – 9
3 Black Kyurem EX
Trainers – 42
4 Professor Juniper
1 Computer Search
Energy – 9
The concept behind this build of Blastoise is to dump Blastoise into the discard pile to start the game with Battle Compressor, and then use Archie’s Ace in the Hole to put Blastoise onto your bench. To aide in this process, I try to maximize the number of hand modifiers, and with such a concept, it is important to be aggressive, so the deck uses a very Item heavy draw engine.
When I first built the deck, I wasn’t playing Maintenance, and getting my hand down to one to use Archie’s was very inconsistent. However, once I added Maintenance into the deck, I started getting first or second turn Blastoise’s just about every game.
Black Kyurem EX is the primary attacker in this build, 200 damage is enough to OHKO most EX’s in the format. I am not sure how well Black Kyurem EX will do in a meta with more Mega EX’s, as it can’t OHKO them, but so far that hasn’t been an issue as the aggressiveness of this deck, and using Lysandre have been enough to get through Mega decks. However, once Mega decks get more refined, I couldsee those matchups becoming more difficult.
Keldeo EX is in here as a backup attacker, and also for its Rush In Ability to give the deck mobility. Kyurem PLF is your general counter to Safeguard Pokemon, as it’s generally best to keep Blastoise out of harms way.
One thing I haven’t tested yet, but think might be worth it is to play a single copy of Primal Kyogre EX. Later in the game, I sometimes have an opportunity to use Archie’s, but nothing to get from my discard pile to put on my bench. Primal Kyogre EX could fill this role and provide a very strong change up attacker.
I played a lower Energy count than usual to avoid hand clumping that could prevent the successful use of Archie’s, or disallow you from drawing with Bicycle. This is okay, as you can get them back with Superior Energy Retrieval, which I have max counts of in the list.
The last big card I want to highlight in this build is Lysandre’s Trump Card. This is great in both Blastoise and Emboar for letting you have unlimited access to Energy throughout the game. In the past, you could lose games because you ran out of Energy to attack. With Lysandre’s Trump Card added to the mix, that is a problem of the past.
As of now, I don’t have it built to combat Garbodor, as it isn’t much of the format currently, but if Garbodor does see a comeback, Startling Megaphone and/or Xerosic would obviously be needed.
Emboar with Camels
This is a deck that I think is poised to do very well during State Championships as long as Seismitoad EX can be kept in check. Camerupt EX is an excellent attacker with its Explosive Jet attack that costs [R][R][C][C] and does 50 damage time the number of Fire Energy you discard from your Pokemon. This allows you to OHKO Mega EX’s with ease, and since this takes all Fire Energy, insead of Lightning as Rayquaza EX did, you won’t have to worry about prizing the few Lightning Energy with the new version of Emboar.
Here is my current Emboar list:
Pokemon – 17
3 Camerupt EX
Trainers – 34
4 Professor Juniper
1 Computer Search
Energy – 9
This isn’t a very innovative list, and very much just a continuation of the Emboar decks we were using last season, updated for the current format.
Camerupt EX is our main attacker for the reasons listed above. Reshiram is your answer to Safeguard. Delphox is another option, although you generally want to keep it on your bench for most of the game.
This deck’s main struggle is going to be the setup portion of the game, as you need to get Stage 2’s in play to do anything useful. I generally target my Delphox first, and once I get a Delphox into play, then getting Emboar out usually follows shortly after. Once both Delphox and Emboar are in play, the deck rarely misses a beat, as being able to draw up to six cards with Mystical Fire is a big time consistency booster.
There are actually two extra consistency Pokemon that the deck can use now. Torchic has the Barrage Ancient Trait and an attack called Flare Bonus,which lets you draw two cards when you discard a Fire Energy from your hand, and you can use it twice for a total of 4 cards drawn through the attack, which is a great setup attack. With two Professor’s Letter, Superior Energy Retrieval, and dumb luck, you can generally get the double attack off.
If Torchic isn’t your thing, Jirachi EX is another option, and will get you out of a hand without a Supporter.
The Supporter Engine is standard for the most part. N is always good with Delphox, as you can N both you and your opponent down to low hands and then draw out of it yourself. Lysandre also works well with Mystical Fire, letting you use Lysandre for its effect while still being able to draw cards for your turn.
I have Xerosic in the list for now. I’m not sure if this will stay, but I think it is solid for now. It give you an option to discard Seismitoad EX’s Double Colorless Energy, as well as remove Tools from a Garbodor. Additionally, there could be a lot of instances where you don’t really need to play any other Supporter, so disrupting your opponent with Xerosic could be good in those situations too.
Lastly, Lysandre’s Trump Card is excellent in this deck for the same reasons it’s great in Blastoise. Being able to consistently draw out of it with Mystical Fire is fantastic.
I originally had Scorched Earth in this deck, but the extra draw from the Stadium card wasn’t generally needed or wanted, so I cut if for other cards which could be more useful.
Out of the two decks, I think Emboar is the one I am most excited about. I think having an unlimited damage cap, unlike Blastoise, will help Emboar be better positioned to do well as the format expectantly moves to a bigger presence of Mega Pokemon.
Both decks however, will be handcuffed to Seismitoad EX decks in terms of their playability. Whenever Seismitoad EX is seeing a lot of play, these decks become unplayable. When Seismitoad decks see a decrease in play, these decks become playable again.
While I think the format should move away from Seismitoad decks some, the format doesn’t always move how we expect it to, so we will just have to wait and see how playable these decks become for State Championships.