Regional Report: Night Marching Through St. Louis

I_e0f1c6_1834277This past weekend at St. Louis Regional Championships a friend of mine, JW Kriewall, and I both did well with a deck most people didn’t expect to do well and who a lot of the player base thought was a bad deck that was mostly played by noobs on PTCGO.  Based on that description, the deck we were playing was Night March of course.

I think I knew that I was going to play Night March towards the end of City Championships, and was happy that I was able to recruit a few others to consider it and help flesh out the best lists possible for the deck for Regional Championships.

In this article, I want to explain the process that led to coming up with this list, and why we ended up including certain cards, and what we thought about various matchups while playing the deck.

Before City Championships

joltik-phantom-forces-phf-26-312x441After the scans for Phantom Forces leaked, so probably before Fall Regional Championships even, the Night March Pokemon were some of the Pokemon I highlighted in the set as having potential to be good. It was a fairly obvious archetype that the makers put into the set, giving us three Night March Pokemon, along with Battle Compressor in the set.

I quickly made a proxy list for the deck, and did some solitaire games against some lists for things like Yveltal EX, Fighting, and Virizion EX/Genesect EX with their fall format lists. The version I zoned in on was an aggressive version with Mew EX to copy the Night March attack, along with Roller Skates and Bicycles to go through the deck very fast.

This list I was testing was a slightly worse list of the one I put up in this article. The games I did in solitaire proved to me that the deck was legitimate in the sense that the deck worked in getting out OHKO attacks very fast, and that that was effective against a lot of the top decks from the Fall format.

I abandoned the deck as we got towards City Championships, as I didn’t like how the deck matched up with Seismitoad EX decks, which I expected to see a decent amount of play in St. Louis, which it did during City Championships.

Picking Up Ideas From City Championships

manectric-ex-phantom-forces-phf-23-312x441When I was at the Chicago marathon, Bryan Hunter showed me his Night March list, and it had a Manectric EX in there. The next day at a tournament in St. Louis, Jackson Akyol showed me his list for the deck, and it had Manectric EX in it as well. I had Tornadus EX in my original list, and while Power Blast and Blow Through are strong, Assault Laser does the same thing or better in certain situations, but Overrun also added a snipe attack to the deck, which could be big as you would whiff the OHKO in the early game, and being able to use Overrun with Manectric EX or to copy it for no Energy with Dimension Valley in play with Mew EX seemed very strong.

seismitoad-ex-furious-fists-frf-20-ptcgo-1-312x441At a City Championship in Illinois, I played against Charles Randall Larenas-Leach, who was playing Night March, while I was playing a Seismitoad EX/Malamar EX/Aromatisse XY deck. He wrote about his version of the deck here. I was completely blown out in this match, as he was able to copy my Seismitoad EX’s Quaking Punch before I could even use it myself, and once he did that most of my deck was unplayable and I was left for dead.

At a later City Championship, I played against Carrington Huffman, and was forced to go for a 12HKO on a Mew EX that had a Hard Charm on it, so it was clear that Hard Charm was also fairly disruptive to Seismitoad EX. I know Charles also ran a single Hard Charm in his list.

After having played Charles at that City Championship, I realized how good copying Quaking Punch was against Seismitoad EX decks. They are generally very Item heavy, so if you use Quaking Punch on them, a lot of their deck is shutdown. With some backup support, I believed they could be dealt with, and with the Seismitoad matchup something that I now feared less, and Donphan beginning to see a decline in play, I felt that Night March was worth reconsidering for City Championships.

St. Charles, Mo. City Championship

For the third last City Championship of my season, I decided to play Night March. It ended up being a great meta call, as there was only one Donphan in the field, and very few Seismitoad EX decks.

Here is the list I ran for this event:

Pokemon – 22

3 Mew EX
4 Pumpkaboo PHF
4 Lampent PHF
4 Joltik PHF
1 Manectric EX
1 Jirachi EX
1 Mr. Mime
2 Eevee FFI
1 Flareon PLF
1 Leafeon PLF

Trainers – 31

4 Professor Juniper
1 N
2 Lysandre

1 Computer Search
4 VS Seeker
4 Bicycle

3 Ultra Ball
4 Battle Compressor
1 Escape Rope

2 Muscle Band
1 Silver Bangle

4 Dimension Valley


Energy – 7

4 Double Colorless
3 Lightning

Here are how my matchups turned out:

Round 1 – Donphan – W
Round 2 – M Manectric EX/Yveltal EX – W
Round 3- Florges EX/Aromatisse XY – W
Round 4 – TDK – ID
Round 5 – Yveltal EX/Seismitoad EX – W
Top 8 – Donphan – WLL

donphan-plasma-storm-pls-72-ptcgo-1-312x441I ended up getting paired against Donphan for Top 8, and ended up losing after three close games. The rest of the Top 8 was just EX decks, so I had good matchups against the rest of the Top 8 if I had managed to sneak past Donphan.

I think a big reason I lost was because I played Flareon and Leafeon in the deck, and they really didn’t add anything to the deck. Flareon is awful, and adds nothing to the deck, I don’t think there is any normal situation where Vengeance does more damage than just using Night March, and you already beat Bronzong and Virizion EX/Genesect EX decks fairly easily, so you don’t need a type counter. I just included it because I was already playing Leafeon, so I felt like why not put Flareon in there too.

Leafeon does help the Toad matchup a little bit, but not by much, and is largely useless in all of your other matchups.

I think any set of potential replacement cards for those Pokemon would have given me the push I needed to get past Donphan, and if I did that, I would have been the heavy favorite to win the tournament. It was a mistake in building the deck that I was happy to get out of the system before Regionals.

Leading Up to Regionals

The weekend before, we were testing an Exeggcutor/Slurpuff deck to see if it could be a potential play for the tournament. I thought the deck was very strong, but felt it was questionable against Seismitoad decks, even with backup Grass attackers, and I feared that with such a deck, I would win a 40 minute game one, lose game 2 to a donk and end up with a bunch of ties. I don’t think this got tested any further past Sunday.

shaymin-ex-full-art-next-destinies-nde-94At some point headed up to Regionals, we decided that Shaymin EX could potentially be a stronger play in the deck than Manectric EX. In theory, against Seismitoad EX, after they take two prizes, you can just use Revenge Blast on their Seismitoad EX for a OHKO, and then once that happens, Shaymin EX is probably going to take at least four prizes. Additionally, even if you got off to a poor start if you could bait them down to one prize left, and then drop down Shaymin EX, N them, you could then Revenge Blast them with Mew EX for a single Grass Energy.

In theory, Shaymin EX was great, but in practice, it never quite worked. I think a large part of it not working well was because you couldn’t search it out when you were under Item lock, so it just became inconsistent. Another issue with it, is that it had very little impact on any matchups except for the Seismitoad matchup, while Manectric EX did a lot for you in a lot of matchups.

431px-PokémonCatcherDarkExplorers111Additionally, the night before Regionals, we talked about just playing a very aggressive version with 3 Pokemon Catcher. I tested it out for us, and it didn’t seem that great. I tested like five games against Andrew Krekeler and his Seismitoad EX/Manectric EX deck that night, and the Shaymin EX wasn’t putting in much work at all, and the Pokemon Catcher were obviously dead cards under the Item lock.

After testing until like 1 AM, I messaged JW that I wasn’t feeling the Shaymin EX, and that I didn’t think the heavy Pokemon Catcher would be very good. He agreed that it was great in theory, but Manectric EX was better in practice, and we decided to go back to Manectric EX, and then play Hard Charm as well instead of the extra Pokemon Catcher.

We also agreed Seismitoad EX would be fairly popular, and the deck could have issues with how we previously had it built, so we decided to cut all of the Bicycles for Supporters to make the deck more consistent against Item lock.

Why Play Night March?

There were a few reasons that I wanted to play Night March, and a big factor that played into my decision making is that the deck is built really well to work in a 50 minute, best of 3 tournament. I absolutely loathe getting ties, and Night March is so fast, that it will rarely end with a natural tie.

When going over matchups, a common theme among players was frustration over everything having a few tough matchups. Night March just seemed to have the best spread of matchups as we went over the decks that we thought would show up. When going over decks, here was my quick summary of how I felt about Night March based on my 300+ games of testing with the deck:

Very Favorable: Yveltal EX, Virizion EX/Genesect EX, Aromatisse XY, Bronzong PHF, M Manectric EX/Fighting, M Manectric EX/Water, M Manectric EX/Yveltal EX, M Manectric EX/Zapdos LTR.

Slightly Favorable: Landorus EX/Crobat, Crobat/Psychic, Donphan and Dragons.

Even, but don’t want to really play against: Seismitoad EX/Slurpuff, Seismitoad EX/Garbodor, Seismitoad EX/Manectric EX, Flareon.

Unfavorable: Good Donphan decks.

Nearly unwinnable: Pyroar FLF/Sesimitoad EX

With that spread of matchups, it was hard to justify not playing Night March. Honestly, I thought we would play against more Yveltal, Aromatisse, and Virgen decks than we did, but even though we didn’t hit our preferred matchups, the deck was still able to do fine.

Deck List:

At like 3 AM, after taking in all information, and processing out my thoughts on the deck, here is the list I sleeved together:

Pokemon – 18

3 Mew EX
4 Pumpkaboo PHF
4 Lampent PHF
4 Joltik PHF
1 Manectric EX
1 Jirachi EX
1 Mr. Mime PLF

Trainers – 34

4 Professor Juniper
2 N
2 Shauna
1 Colress
2 Lysandre

1 Compute Search
4 VS Seeker

3 Ultra Ball
4 Battle Compressor
1 Escape Rope
1 Pokemon Catcher

2 Muscle Band
2 Hard Charm
1 Silver Bangle

4 Dimension Valley

Energy – 8

4 Lightning
4 Double Colorless

JW ended up playing a list that was three cards off from mine. He ended up playing a third Lysandre, while I played a Pokemon Catcher, and he didn’t play any Shauna, going for a third N, and a Switch in place of those.

Here is a breakdown of the cards we included in the list and each of their purpose:

mew-ex-dragons-exalted-drx-1203 Mew EX – This is the card that brings the entire concept of the deck together. Because you are only allowed to play 4 Double Colorless Energy in a deck, it is unrealistic that you would be able to attack every turn if you didn’t run it, as you would sometimes whiff your Double Colorless Energy, and it is difficult to consistently gain an extra turn of attachment as all of your Night March Pokemon are so easily knocked out with their low HP. Mew EX fixes this problem by allowing you to Night March for one Energy by copying Joltik’s Night March attack. This is especially important against anything playing Aegislash EX, as two turns of attachment is difficult, and you need to attack it with something with only a Basic Energy attached to damage it.

I think being able to effectively utilize Mew EX’s Versatile Ability to copy various attacks is what separates the players who are able to do well with the deck at a tournament consistently, and the players who just get lucky by hitting a string of easy matchups. Over the course of the tournament, I copied Seismitoad EX’s Quaking Punch, Manectric EX’s Overrun and Assault Laser, M Manectric EX’s Turbo Bolt, Zapdos LTR’s Spark and Thundering Hurricane, Swirlix’s Tackle, Mewtwo EX’s X-Ball, and of course Night March from Joltik and Pumpkaboo. In total I copied 10 different attacks from 8 different Pokemon.

At 120 HP, Mew EX isn’t knocked out quite as easily as your Night Marchers, so it works really well as a 7th prize attacker.

pumpkaboo-phantom-forces-phf-44-312x4414 Pumpkaboo PHF – This is one of the Night March Pokemon, so it’s an automatic inclusion as a 4-of. Pumpkaboo gives you a type counter against Psychic weak Pokemon, allowing you to trade excellently with Mewtwo EX and Lucario EX. It does cost [C][C][C] to use Night March with it, but you can fulfill that with just a DCE when Dimension Valley is in play.

Additionally, Pumpkaboo has Fighting resistance, which comes into play against any matchup that involves Fighting attackers. The Fighting resistance, especially when combined with Hard Charm, makes it a 2HKO against most Fighting Pokemon’s attacks. Against Landorus EX/Crobat PHF and Donphan PLS, Pumpkaboo is my main attacker.

4 Joltik PHF – This is another Night March Pokemon, so again, an automatic inclusion as a 4-of. The largest benefit Joltik provides you as an attacker is its Lightning type, which lets you OHKO Yveltal EX with very few Night March Pokemon in the discard pile.

lampent-phantom-forces-phf-42-312x4414 Lampent PHF – This is the last Night March Pokemon, so we play 4 of them. By playing all 12 possible Night March Pokemon, we maximize the damage output we can do with the Night March attack. It’s a Stage 1, and we don’t play its pre-evolution, Litwick, so it automatically hits the discard pile first.

Side Note: Here is the order in which I would discard my Night March Pokemon based on the matchup:

Fighting/Crobat and Donphan: Lampent —> Joltik —> Pumpkaboo, sometimes keeping 1 Joltik to copy with Mew EX.

Most Other Decks: Lampent —> Pumpkaboo —> Joltik

Decks With Psychic Weak Pokemon: Lampent —> A mix of Pumpkaboo and Joltik, but more Pumpkaboo than Joltik.

1 Manectric EX – This was great as previously stated for copying Overrun with Mew EX for zero Energy, as well as using Assault Laser for a single Lightning Energy. A snipe attack was important, as you would sometimes come up just short of getting a OHKO with Night March, and then the opponent would retreat back to the bench. Assault Laser gave you a solid backup attack in case you got Trump Carded, and couldn’t get your Night March Pokemon into the discard pile. It was also nice to have a bulkier Pokemon with 170 HP, which could survive attacks to prevent KO’s that Mew EX or the Night Marchers couldn’t that would lead to a loss if they occurred.

1 Jirachi EX – As Mew EX is a low HP EX Pokemon already, there wasn’t much risk to playing Jirachi EX in this deck. If they could knockout Jirachi EX, there was probably already a Mew EX on the field that they could knock out as well. As I played 13 other Basic Pokemon, my probability of starting Jirachi EX was also very low.

mr.-mime-plasma-freeze-plf-471 Mr. Mime PLF – This deck is reliant on having a 30 HP Pokemon on its bench, so it would be insane not to play Mr. Mime and allow your opponent to knockout that Pokemon with snipe attacks, such as Overrun and Hammerhead. This is essential, and should not be played without.

4 Professor Juniper – This is the best Supporter in the game, so pretty much every deck should be playing 4 of these already, but it’s important in this deck, as you want to draw through your deck very quickly, and it also helps discard Night March Pokemon.

2 N – This is absolutely needed in this deck, as you won’t just out speed every deck you play against and just dominate them start to finish. This card is actually very good in this deck, as you thin your deck with Battle Compressor making it unlikely you draw poorly out of it, and you also accelerate the prize trade to a very early point in the game because of the deck’s aggressiveness, so your opponent likely hasn’t thinned their deck as well as you have, so they’re less likely to draw well out of an N compared to yourself.

1 Colress – This is a bad early game Supporter, so we only included one, but it was good for getting turns of giant draw (as you usually fill your bench up), and when you are drawing 9-10 cards with your Supporter, you likely will hit everything you need with this deck.

shauna-xy-127-ptcgo-1-312x4412 Shauna – This was just a filler Supporter as we cut the Bicycles to improve the Seismitoad matchup. As it is in everything, Shauna is neither good or bad, she is just there, doing her job adequately.

One benefit from moving from 4 Bicycle in my list at the City Championship I played the deck at, to plus four shuffle and draw Supporters is that I was able to better conserve things such as Dimension Valley and Energy, which I would otherwise have to discard with my old Supporter engine. It did slow down the deck some, but I think the trade off was well worth it.

2 Lysandre – This card is primarily in the deck for the Donphan matchup, as you need a consistent gust effect to get to Donphan’s on the bench. It’s also good against anything else for controlling what you KO to hurt your opponent the most.

4 VS Seeker – This card should be in just about every deck, and is good in here for general consistency as well as re-using Lysandre, and important lower count Supporters, such as N. It also lets you use Professor Juniper on the majority of your turns, which is the Supporter you will want to use the most. I had none in my original list, but it needed to be put into consistently re-use Lysandre’s to make the Donphan matchup winnable.

If you start Battle Compressor with VS Seeker, it also gives you another out to a Supporter to start the game.

computer-search-boundaries-crossed-1371 Computer Search – This deck wants to be as aggressive as possible, so Computer Search is the best Ace Spec to play as it allows you to get out to consistent starts better than any of the other Ace Specs. Dowsing Machine is the only other Ace Spec that makes sense, but Computer Search is better for early game consistency. Leading up to the City Championship I played the deck at, I was actually playing the deck with no Ace Spec in my list, and when sleeving up the deck I realized that, and cut an Ultra Ball for Computer Search. The deck tested fine without an Ace Spec, and I knew it was only going to get better with one.

3 Ultra Ball – We just play 3 Ultra Ball, and that seems about right. As all of your Pokemon are Basic, you can just draw into them most of the time. You still need some search though, and it also gives you another option for getting Night March Pokemon into the discard pile.

battle-compressor-phantom-forces-phf-92-312x441 (1)4 Battle Compressor – This is your main means of getting your Night March Pokemon into the discard pile. I would generally use them early game to get Night March Pokemon in the discard pile, followed by any lower count Supporters I might want easy access to with VS Seeker, and then would go after Pokemon that wouldn’t be needed for the matchup or the rest of the game, and Items like Ultra Ball that I didn’t need later in the game.

1 Escape Rope – This is my sole switching effect, as generally you won’t need to Switch around too much in a game. A Switch would have been nice in here as well, and JW did play that in addition to the Escape Rope, but I felt an extra Supporter would be worth the spot there. I went with Escape Rope as the default as it gave another option of forcing up a game winning/changing knockout, and would also be good against Donphan for forcing something that wasn’t a Robo Substitute into the Active spot.

1 Pokemon Catcher – I played the single Pokemon Catcher, over a 3rd Lysandre, as sometimes you need to play a different Supporter, such as Professor Juniper to get an Energy or Dimension Valley or an N to disrupt your opponent, but you still want to use a gust effect in that turn, and Pokemon Catcher allows you to do that. Some clutch heads on Pokemon Catcher definitely won me a few games at Regionals.

2 Muscle Band – This is just a damage modifier to lessen the amount of Night March Pokemon in the discard pile by one, and it can be used with Mew EX as well.

1 Silver Bangle – This is another damage modifier, increasing attacks by 30 damage, but only being usable with your non-EX attackers. It let you do some neat damage things, such as knockout Psychic and Lightning weak Pokemon EX with just 3 Night March Pokemon in the discard pile, knockout 170 HP EX’s with 7 Night March Pokemon in the discard pile, and knockout M Manectric EX with 9 Night March Pokemon in the discard pile.

hard-charm-xy-119-ptcgo-1-312x4412 Hard Charm – These are probably the strangest inclusion in the deck, but they were one of the most important inclusions that we made. They made a difference in a lot of different scenarios that it paid off big time that we went with these over the Pokemon Catcher. Here were some of the ways in which Hard Charm was useful:

Hard Charm works very well in saving Mew EX from OHKO’s. A common scenario, for example, is denying Hawlucha the Strong Energy, Muscle Band, Fighting Stadium OHKO. Another example, against Manectric EX with a Spirit Link on it, I could play Mew EX with a Hard Charm, knowing that their Assault Laser would max out at 120 damage.

It also works wonders with Pumpkaboo against Fighting based stuff when combined for its resistance. Pumpkaboo against Fighting with a Hard Charm will almost always guarantee that they need a 2HKO, and sometimes will need to 3HKO it or more if they can’t draw into their damage modifiers. It also saves Pumpkaboo from the Lucario EX, Strong Energy, Muscle Band KO (as Lucario EX’s first attack ignores resistance). Against Fighting, it also lets you save Manectric EX from OHKO’s from Hammerhead or Missile Jab if you happen to start with it, or need to play it down for any reason.

There are also situations where you prize Mr. Mime, or need to use Ultra Ball for something else like a Night March Pokemon, or Jirachi EX. In these situations, you can play Joltik to your bench, attach a Hard Charm, and protect it from snipe KO’s.

And my favorite use for it was against Seismitoad EX. Seismitoad decks are a bit inconsistent by nature, so they don’t always get things like Muscle Band on turn one. If you can get Hard Charm down on turn 1 against a Seismitoad deck, and they fail to get a Muscle Band into play, then you can KO their Seismitoad EX’s with Quaking Punch for a 6HKO, while they are forced to 12HKO your Mew EX, meaning Mew EX will trade with Seismitoad EX at least 4 prizes to 2 in such situations.

When paired with Lysandre, you can actually turn a Mew EX into a 6-0 prize trade with Seismitoad decks if you get the Hard Charm down and they don’t get Muscle Band. You can do this by taking the 60 damage from one Seismitoad EX, and then use Lysandre to draw up Garbodor and/or Trubbish. When you bring up a Garbodor, your opponent can’t Switch it out, you actually gain back a turn of using Items, so you can actually use VS Seeker to get another Lysandre to bring up the Trubbish if they have another benched. As you will gain turns of Items when you have Pokemon like Trubbish (or Swirlix) up, you can also play Battle Compressor again, to setup a strong Night March. They can then bring up Seismitoad EX, and put your Mew EX up to 70 damage, and then you just Night March that second Seismitoad EX for a KO.

dimension-valley-phantom-forces-phf-93-312x4414 Dimension Valley – You rarely can afford turns to gain an extra attachment, so it’s super important to have Dimension Valley in play. By playing 4, we make it easier to draw into as well, and you almost always win the Stadium war.

4 Double Colorless – This is the primary Energy that you use with attacking in the deck. It can be used to fulfill the attack requirement for Night March using either Joltik or Pumpkaboo, or copying either with Mew EX. It’s an obvious 4-of in this deck.

4 Lightning Energy – We decided to not get fancy with our Basic Energy, and just stuck with consistency route, playing all of the Energy that could be used to copy Manectric EX’s attacks with Versatile.

Tournament Result

Here are the matchups I ended up playing against, and the results I had in those matchups at the St. Louis Regional Championship. The player had 361 players I believe, so we had 9 rounds, and 19 points would be necessary to make the Day 2 – Top 32, and then 5 more Swiss rounds would be played in Expanded to determine the Top 8.

Round 1 – Seismitoad EX/Slurpuff PHF – LWW, 1-0
Round 2 – M Manectric EX/Zapdos LTR/Mewtwo EX – LWL, 1-1
Round 3 – Landorus EX/Crobat PHF – WW, 2-1
Round 4 – Bronzong PHF/Aegislash EX/Mewtwo EX/Seismitoaad EX – WW, 3-1
Round 5 – Yveltal EX – WW, 4-1
Round 6 – Seismitoad EX/Garbodor DRX – WL, 4-1-1
Round 7 – M Manectric EX/Black Kyurem EX/Kyurem PLF/Mewtwo EX – WLW, 5-1-1
Round 8 – Landorus EX/Crobat PHF – LWW, 6-1-1
Round 9 – Donphan – ID, 6-1-2

I ended up finishing 6-1-2 in matches, and 14-6 in actual games played with the deck. I entered Day 2 with 20 points, at the 12th seed, while JW also finished 6-1-2, with 20 points, and entered Day 2 as the 10th seed.

Here are some of the highlights and somewhat major moments from the tournament that stood out to me:

m-manectric-ex-phantom-forces-phf-24-312x441I was quite a bit worried after losing my second round matchup against M Manectric EX/Zapdos LTR, a deck I had never lost to in testing, and which is obviously a matchup heavily in Night March’s favor, especially when its Basic Energy that it is playing is Lightning. It was a pretty ridiculous series among the three games on both sides. In game 1, I never drew into a single Battle Compressor, so I was forced to just use Manectric EX and M Manectric EX’s attacks, and 170 and 210 HP beat 120 HP. In game 2, my opponent started without a Supporter, and I did as well, but I had Mew EX, Dimension Valley, and Energy, and was able to copy Thundering Hurricane for 100 damage on turn 2, followed by Spark to bench him by knocking out his Zapdos LTR. Then in game 3, I played a Professor Juniper on turn 1, and never saw another Supporter and quickly got routed.

shakeitofftaylor1At a big tournament like this, where the margin for success and failure is so small, it’s very frustrating to lose one of your better matchups that you’re going to see on the day, knowing that more difficult matchups are to come. After having played as long as I have been now, and taking in so many tournaments, I know how sometimes match outcomes just fall out of your control, so I’m pretty much desensitized to them at this point, so I was able to just shake it off. When in doubt after a bad loss, always remember to shake it off.

crobat-phantom-forces-phf-33-312x441In my round 3 matchup, against Landorus EX/Crobat, in the first game I got to a tough spot after my opponent played Lysandre’s Trump Card for a game. I ended up promoting my Manectric EX into the Active spot, knowing if I had to retreat into a non-EX to sacrifice a prize, it would be better to lose the Energy off Manectric EX than Mew EX. I play a Colress, and miss the Battle Compressor/Muscle Band combinations to get a OHKO with Night March. I have a feeling my opponent has win in hand the next game, and I drew Computer Search, so I decide to just go for the win there, and get my Pokemon Catcher, flip heads, bring up a Zubat, and knock it out with Overrun.

Before the tournament, a lot of people had told me a reason not to play the deck was because it had a terrible LandBats matchup, but this wasn’t the case at all. Luckily, the first player documented to have played Landorus EX/Crobat is in my testing circle, so I’ve had over 2 months to conceptualize how that deck plays, how different decks matchup against it, and had plenty of time to get in plenty of test games against it. What I noticed in my testing was that even though the matchup is close in terms of prizes taken, LandBats would almost always come out the loser. The games it did win were usually the result of me drawing extremely poorly, them running extremely hot, or me making some boneheaded misplay.

I think what happens is that LandBats is naturally a little inconsistent, and Night March accelerates the game to too fast of a game. Games against Night March can often last only 4-6 turns, and that doesn’t give them a lot of time to evolve into many Golbat or Crobat, especially when they need to devote more resources just to getting attackers out, where in other matchups, an attacker like Landorus EX can usually last at least two attacks from an opponents Pokemon.

I ended up going 2-0 (4-1 in individual games) against LandBats, and JW also went 2-0 (4-1) against the deck. We actually both played against the deck in a play in game for Top 32 in Round 8, and both managed to come away with victories sitting two tables down from each other.

landorus-ex-full-art-boundaries-crossed-bcr-144For Day 2 Expanded, I ended up playing Landorus EX/Ether. I ended up going 2-3, so fell 4 points short of making it into the Top 8.

Not sure what to think about the deck, my wins were against the Landorus EX/Crobat PHF that lost to Andrew Mahone in Top 4 (Alex Olijar’s endless hyping of the deck surely played into me being able to play well against it), and then beat a deck that played a 4-2 M Manectric EX line, and then a 2-2 Drifblim, which is of course about as a good of a matchup as you can get for a Landorus EX deck.

I lost a string of two matches against Seismitoad EX decks in which I played a total of either 2 or 3 Supporters combined in 4 games. It doesn’t get more frustrating than that. And then I lost a very close and fun series against Yveltal EX/Seismitoad EX, in which I whiffed an Ether game one that would have given me the win, and then just ending up a turn behind in game 2, and couldn’t N my opponent out of an out for the game winning Lysandre.

I think Fighting was a pretty solid meta play for the meta that showed up, but I would have been better served to cut my Electrode line, Lunatone, Pokedex and Ether cards for more Supporters, Flare Tools, another Max Potion and Enhanced Hammers. I think a consistent, Straight Fighting deck could have worked really well in that meta.

Otherwise, just riding Night March out the second day of the tournament could have paid dividends as well, although I’m not sure how much Level Ball changes the LandBats matchup, if it does at all, but I do know from testing that Yveltal EX is a bit worse of a matchup because Dark Patch prevents them from missing turns of attacking.


This tournament was a lot of fun, or at least the Night March part of it was. I’m not sure if there was a better deck that we could have chosen for the meta that showed up, even though I missed out on a lot of Night March’s favorite matchups. It’s always great to do well in a tournament with an unexpected deck, but it’s even better when you can share that experience with a friend playing the same deck.

After this tournament, I am now at 241 Championship Points, and am just 59 points away from the invite. With 3 weekends of State Championships, 2 more Regional Championships, and US Nationals, and two unfilled League Challenge finished, I am in a great position to finish things off. I know though that it won’t just come easy, so I’ll have to continue testing hard. My goal is going to be to finish off the invite during State Championships, which I think is definitely doable. I’ve done well this season up until this point, so hopefully BCR-PCL treats me as well as BCR-PHF did.


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