Coming up next weekend is one of the most exciting tournaments that has existed since I have started playing the game. Next weekend in Orlando, Florida, the Primal Clash set will become legal for tournament play and start out its existence with its first tournament being a Regional Championship.
In past seasons, Regional Championships have always been at the end of the format, but this year, Regional Championships have been scheduled in such a way that a new set has become legal in between weekends of tournaments. This means Florida Regional will be a major tournament with a completely blind meta game, which is very exciting.
The tournament should be a pretty big one, as it is the only tournament that weekend, so players will travel from across the country to compete for the crown of Regional Champion. The tournament is likely to end up with at least 350 players, and 400 players would not be unexpected. We’ll just have to wait and see, but perhaps this could even become our first ever 500 player Regional Championship. As a result, top level play will be needed to do well, with 20 points being the safe mark, and 19 points being the bubble.
While it’s a bit of a mystery as to what players will actually show up to the tournament with, in this article I want to cover at the very least what types of strategies that you might see at the tournament so that you’re not caught off guard.
- Yveltal EX/Seismitoad EX
- Seismitoad EX Disruption
- Landorus EX/Crobat PHF
- Virizion EX/Genesect EX
- Aromatisse XY with M Gardevoir EX
- Night March
- Bronzong PHF with M Aggron EX
- Primal Kyogre EX
- Primal Groudon EX
- Emboar BLW/Camerupt EX
- Medicham PCL
- Speed Lugia EX
Primal Clash Prices
First, I want to look at the prices of the new cards from the Primal Clash set. There is information in these prices that can give us information on what cards from the new set players are buying the most of, which would then be cards that are more likely to end up in players’ decks than those that they aren’t buying in large numbers. All prices used in this section are taken from Troll and Toad.
Gardevoir EX – $10.99, FA – $23.99
Kyogre EX – $8.49, $16.49
Aggron EX – $7.49, FA $13.49
Groudon EX – $6.49, FA $15.49
Camerupt EX – $4.99, FA $9.99
Wailord EX – $3.99, FA $9.99
Sharpedo EX – $3.49, FA $8.99
Trevenant EX – $3.49, FA $7.99
M Gardevoir EX – $14.99, FA $25.99
Primal Kyogre EX – $12.99, FA $23.99
M Aggron EX – $11.99, FA $19.99
Primal Groudon Ex – $11.49, FA $19.99
The first thing that pops out is that Gardevoir EX and M Gardevoir EX are trending quite a bit ahead of the other EX’s. With that, M Gardevoir EX based Fairy decks appear as though they most be the most popular deck based on stuff out of the new set.
Aggron EX, Primal Groudon EX, and Primal Kyogre EX are all around the same level, so they will most likely see play in numbers pretty similar to each other.
Camerupt EX is an obviously playable card that most players seem to not be very hot on, despite its fire typing. The price levels of the final three cards are at levels that you probably won’t see very many of them in competitive decks this weekend.
The Old Guard – Holdovers from Week 1
In this section, I will take a look at the top six decks that saw play during the first weekend of Regional Championships. These are the decks that were the dominant forces at the end of the Boundaries Crossed to Phantom Forces format, so they will mark our starting point for the new format.
For each deck, I will look at ways the decks can be changed with new cards from Primal Clash, look at new opportunities and threats in the meta game, and for some of the decks that I’ve had experience with, provide some lists that might be worth taking to the tournament, or at the very least testing against.
Yveltal EX/Seismitoad EX
Yveltal EX decks finished City Championships as far and away the best archetype of the tournament series, and managed to maintain its place as the top deck of the format during Regional Championships.
While Yveltal EX decks with Hard Charm and Jamming Net contributed a lot to the success of the archetype during City Championships, for Regional Championships the Yveltal EX/Seismitoad EX variants that used Hypnotoxic Laser and Virbank City Gym to increase damage output was the more successful variant.
Ninetales from the new set is the main card that I would look to fit into Yveltal EX decks. Its Barrier Shrine Ability prevents either player from playing Stadium Cards. This can lock your Virbank City Gym into place, as well as lock out Primal Groudon EX decks from playing down Stadium Cards to boost their damage up to 200, and when Primal Groudon EX is limited to 100 damage a turn, it’s a lot less scary.
If you want to get really spooky, you could play Ninetales DRX in the deck as well, along with 1 Fire Energy (probably a 2-1/1 line of Ninetales), and get an extra gust effect with Bright Look, as well as the potential for 170 damage with Muscle Band and Laser at some point in the game.
Here is what my current list for Yveltal EX/Seismitoad EX looks like:
Pokemon – 13
3 Yveltal EX
Trainers – 36
4 Professor Juniper
1 Computer Search
3 Ultra Ball
2 Virbank City Gym
Energy – 11
I made sure to include Keldeo EX, just so you have an out for good mobility against Seismitoad EX/Slurpuff PHF. As Landorus EX has seen a pick up in play, I think it’s time for Mr. Mime to find its way back into the deck. I’ve included the Ninetales in here as well, to try to lock our Virbank City Gym into place. Lysandre’s Trump Card is in the deck to recover Double Colorless Energy and get extra Hypnotoxic Laser.
Seismitoad EX with Disruption
As I have covered in the past, in particular in this article, I strongly believe that Seismitoad EX with Garbodor DRX is the superior deck to Seismitoad EX/Slurpuff PHF against the majority of the field. However, the Seismitoad EX/Slurpuff PHF deck was a much easier deck for newer players to understand, so its popularity soared, which also made it hard to play any other Seismitoad EX variant, as the Slurpuff version was the superior deck in the mirror match.
There isn’t too much in the new sets that is a sure fire inclusion into either Seismitoad EX/Garbodor or Seismitoad EX/Slurpuff. You don’t want to play Dive Ball, as both variants play non-Water Pokemon that are important to get out. Silent Lab could be an interesting play in the Slurpuff version of the deck, probably just as a 1-of, to gain Ability lock against Basic Pokemon, somewhat similar to the Garbodor version of the deck. However, you would be trading in an extra 20 damage for Poison whenever it’s in play.
Weakness Policy is an interesting idea to help the deck with its Grass weakness. It probably isn’t good enough in the Slurpuff version of the deck, as your damage output would still be very low (10 damage per a turn against a Virizion EX for example), but it could work in the Garbodor version of the deck.
I think I’d still rather play Charizard EX in the Garbodor version, as it’s a more pro-active solution for dealing with Virgen decks than Weakness Policy, which you might just not draw into when you need them.
Seismitoad EX decks as a whole will be in a weaker position in this format than they were in BCR-PHF. The new Ancient Traits look like they could give Seismitoad decks quite a bit of trouble. Barrier prevents the effects of all Trainer cards (except Pokemon Tools) on Pokemon with the Barrier trait. So a Primal Groudon EX, for example, cannot be effected by Hypnotoxic Laser, Crushing Hammer, Enhanced Hammer, Lysandre, Team Flare Grunt, or Xerosic, so you will be unable to slow your opponent down in getting one setup (beyond Head Ringer), and once setup, it will likely finish off the game itself.
A little less troublesome, but still troublesome nonetheless is the Growth Ancient Trait, which lets you attach two Energy cards instead of one, when you attach an Energy card to a Pokemon with the trait. Primal Kyogre EX has this, and against decks with it, they may be able to out attach your Energy disruption cards thanks to the extra attachments.
For a list for the Garbodor version of the deck, the lists in this article are what I’d still play in the new format.
Here is a look at the Seismitoad EX/Slurpuff PHF decks that you would see at the tournament. All of the successful ones I saw at St. Louis Regional Championships played Victini EX, so I’ve included that in this list.
Pokemon – 13
4 Seismitoad EX
Trainers – 41
4 Professor Juniper
1 Computer Search
3 Ultra Ball
2 Virbank City Gym
Energy – 6
4 Double Colorless
As far as I saw, most players still opted for Computer Search in the deck as their Ace Spec, which I think is a good decision for maintaining consistency across matchups. Victory Piece would be neat to take KO’s against Virizion EX/Genesect EX and Bronzong decks on turn 1, but it ultimately probably isn’t needed.
Against Virgen, you don’t necessarily need it on turn 1, and you really can afford to take the two turns of attachment to set it up a few turns into the game. The idea is that you can disrupt Virgen enough with all of your disruption cards, that Victini EX still does enough damage in the matchup to still be effective, while not compromising the consistency of your deck by not playing Computer Search.
One last note, is that I saw players playing the wrong Swirlix in this deck at Regional Championships. You should be playing the Phantom Forces Swirlix in this deck. The other Swirlix does 10 damage for [C], and this one does 20 damage for [C][C]. It’s a small difference, but ultimately one that can make a difference. With Muscle Band, Virbank City Gym, and Hypnotoxic Laser, you could potentially donk anything with 70 HP (Hawlucha, Tepig, etc.), which the other one cannot. While it’s not a big difference, and likely won’t play a role in most players tournament performance with the deck, it is the type of thing that does come up every now and then, so you should be playing the right cards to best put yourself in a position to win all of your matches, and not leave missed opportunities for yourself by playing the wrong cards.
Landorus EX/Crobat PHF
This was by far the biggest surprise of the first weekend of Regional Championships, not only coming in just behind Yveltal EX and Seismitoad EX decks in the standard format, but also becoming the most successful deck in Expanded, taking home first place in St. Louis at the hands of Andrew Mahone, along with a 4th place finish for Jordan Nelle and a 7th place finish for Brad Curcio, and a 2nd place finish for reigning US National Champion Brandon Salazar in Virginia. Out of 6 players that played the deck during Day 2 Expanded Swiss, four of them made Top 8.
With that type of success as a surprise deck, it would be foolish to assume that this won’t be one of the most heavily played decks in Florida.
This deck uses the Fighting support of Fighting Stadium and Strong Energy, along with Muscle Band to pump out strong attacks with one Energy attackers such as Landorus EX, Lucario EX, and Hawlucha FFI. It then augments the damage output further by playing a thick Crobat PHF line to make use of Golbat’s Sneaky Bite to place two damage counters on one of your opponent’s Pokemon when you evolve to Golbat, and Crobat’s Surprise Bite to place three damage counters when you evolve into Crobat.
There isn’t much to change around with the deck with Primal Clash cards. Primal Groudon EX could be played as a tech option as a late game sweeper, but its four Energy investment may be more than this deck wants to commit.
Repeat Ball is the main card that players would look to put into the deck, but I’d stick with Ultra Ball as my main search card, as it’s more consistent than using Repeat Ball to get out your Crobat line. For example, if you have a Golbat out, but not a Zubat, you could grab the Zubat with Ultra Ball but not Repeat Ball. I would only put Repeat Ball into the deck if you want to go very heavy on your Pokemon Search, and not as a replacement for any of your Ultra Ball.
Here is a list for the deck based on Jordan Nelle’s 4th place St. Louis Expanded list, updated for Standard format and the release of Primal Clash:
Pokemon – 19
2 Landorus EX
Trainers – 32
4 Professor Juniper
4 Ultra Ball
3 Fighting Stadium
Energy – 9
This should be a good approximation of what you are likely to see in Florida with the deck. It’s worth noting that Andrew Mahone’s list did not play Korrina, and opted to play higher counts of N and Colress, so playing a list with that engine is also viable as well. Obviously, both versions of the deck, Korrina and Korrina-less are both good, and both did very well for many players week 1.
Virizion EX/Genesect EX
This deck was highly hyped for week 1 of Regional Championships after winning the European Challenge Cup. I don’t remember seeing very much of the deck in St. Louis, but the meta game was very Seismitoad EX heavy, which I think allowed some of the good players that did play it to make it into Top 32, as the deck certainly was well represented in the final standings for Standard decks.
Primal Clash has some big implications for this deck, both in new cards that come into the format, as well as it’s place relative to new decks that could pop up.
A potential new partner in the deck is Trevenant EX. Its Dark Forest attack would give the deck a one Energy attacker, which the deck has been missing, and works well with Red Signal to trap something without Energy in the Active spot, as your opponent can’t retreat that Pokemon after you use Dark Forest. There are a lot of spots where Trevenant EX can be a better attacker than Genesect EX in the deck, which is mostly in situations where you aren’t using G-Booster. If you fulfill the attack cost for Wood Blast, you’re doing 110 base damage, which can become 130 damage with a Muscle Band, one of the games magic numbers. It also has 180 HP, which could make a difference with some knockout math in some situations.
If I were to play it though, I would only include one at most. Genesect EX can replicate its damage output with a Deoxys EX in play, and you can make the third attachment with a Genesect EX with a Plasma Energy and not adversely impact damage output, as well as potentially gust up a more favorable target.
A major issue for the deck will be Silent Lab, a new Stadium which shuts off Abilities on Basic Pokemon. When this is in play, you cannot use Red Signal and your Verdant Wind gets shutoff, and those are two things that are important for the deck’s success. You could theoretically play it in the deck as well to shutoff Spiritomb’s Ability, to allow you to play G-Booster when Spiritomb is in play, but that probably isn’t worth it.
It cannot be stressed enough how damaging this card is against this deck. For example, against a Donphan deck, if one of these were to stick, you would basically auto lose, as you wouldn’t be able to Red Signal around the Robo Substitutes.
Because this card is so damaging to the deck, you will want to play a counter Stadium to get it out of play. Plasma Frigate, which removes Weakness from Pokemon with a Plasma Energy attached would be the logical choice. Going back to a LaserBank version of Virgen is another option for players.
Mr. Mime would also be very wise to play in this deck, otherwise you have little hope of beating any Fighting deck, and could find yourself in tough positions with Overrun setting up KO’s. I’m not sure it is able to beat Fighting consistently, even with Mr. Mime, but Mr. Mime would at least give you a shot at it.
Virgen’s place in the meta game is a bit of a mystery. It can OHKO Primal Kyogre EX and Primal Groudon EX with a Muscle Band and Megalo Cannon, and with Deoxys EX in play it can OHKO the new M Gardevoir EX, but it also won’t have the damage output to OHKO M Aggron EX. Additionally, Camerupt EX could bring Fire back, and Virgen has never dealt well with Emboar decks.
As we saw earlier, M Gardevoir EX and Gardevoir EX are currently the most expensive Pokemon from the new set, so it’s a safe bet that an Aromatisse incorporating them will be the most played deck using a strategy based on stuff primarily from the new set. I have seen a good number of players playing it online as well, and just generally seen it hyped, so it will probably be a very popular deck at the tournament.
Aromatisse decks have long provided a home for Mega Pokemon to see play, giving outlets for M Kangaskhan EX, M Heracross EX (and M Manectric EX more recently) to express themselves in meta games that weren’t very kind to Mega Pokemon without Spirit Links. Now, Fairy decks get their own Mega, and it’s a strong one.
M Gardevoir EX does 30 damage times the number of Fairy Energy in play, so with 6 Energy in play, you would do 180 damage, good to knockout most EX Pokemon, and with two more, you can do 240, good to OHKO most Mega Pokemon. At 210 HP, it will be difficult for most Pokemon to knockout, so it fits well with Aromatisse which is able to Max Potion.
I think a lot of players are going to choose to go very M Gardevoir EX heavy in their lists, which I think is a mistake, as it makes the deck overtly linear. I think Florges EX and Xerneas EX are both good attackers in the deck. Florges EX gives you good early game aggression while smoothing out your setup with Lead, and Xerneas EX gives you a snipe attack to finish off stuff that you may have fallen short of knocking out.
Here is how I would play the deck:
Pokemon – 16
2 Florges EX
Trainers – 32
4 Professor Juniper
1 Computer Search
4 Fairy Garden
Energy – 12
This is a very straight forward list for the deck aimed at being purely consistent. The Energy count has been upped some to allow you to get more Energy onto the field to power up Brilliant Arrow. As this version of the deck is less reliant on filling your bench to maximize damage output for Florges EX, I have also included a Malamar EX to put Pokemon to sleep when you attach an Energy. This can be very strong in the early game as you work on getting your field setup for M Gardevoir EX, and can be used to gain turns of playing Items against Seismitoad EX lock.
This deck’s Achilles heel will be Bronzong decks, that rip through the deck because of weakness. Gardevoir EX’s Shining Wind removes its weakness, but you still most likely lose as Palkia EX and M Aggron EX can both OHKO it, even when ignoring weakness.
Besides Landorus EX/Crobat PHF, this was the other big surprise in the Standard format for week 1. A deck long considered to just be a gimmick deck with a bad Seismitoad EX matchup became a serious meta contender, coming in as the sixth most successful deck in the Standard format during week 1.
I wrote up a report of my Regional tournament and Night March deck last week, so check that out here for a primer on the deck. The deck is very powerful as it has OHKO power, and can prize trade nicely with an ensemble of non-EX attackers.
The deck will have some complications with more Mega Pokemon, with higher HP coming into the format. At only 210 HP, M Gardevoir EX doesn’t pose much of a threat, but at 240 HP, Primal Kyogre EX, Primal Groudon EX, and M Aggron EX (especially with its Psychic resistance), provide much bigger problems from the deck than previously played Mega Pokemon did.
It’s hard to say whether any of the Mega Pokemon will be fast enough to deal with Night March. Using Lysandre to take early prizes, and then dumping all of your Night March Pokemon except one into the discard pile might be a viable enough strategy against such decks.
Here is my current list for Night March using cards from Primal Clash:
Pokemon – 18
3 Mew EX
Trainers – 34
4 Professor Juniper
1 Computer Search
3 Ultra Ball
2 Muscle Band
4 Dimensional Valley
Energy – 8
I have adjusted the Supporter lineup some. Professor Birch’s Observation has replaced one of the Shauna, as on average it will net you 5.5 cards, which is greater than the 5 by Shauna, so on average, it will be a better card for you than Shauna. I’ve also included Teammates into the deck, which is strong in here, as you have low HP attackers, so they will most likely be knocked out by an attack, and not something like Poison damage which would prevent you from using Teammates. When you use Teammates, you can search your deck for the Energy Card you need to attack, as well as something like a Dimensional Valley to remove a counter Stadium, a Muscle Band to score the damage needed for a knockout, or a Supporter for your next turn.
Lastly, I switched out my tech attacker from Manectric EX to the Bouffalant from Primal Clash, which I think can work well in this deck. It has Derail for [C][C][C], which does 80 damage, and removes a Special Energy attached to the Defending Pokemon. This could be copied with Mew EX for a DCE, and could be used against Seismitoad EX decks to remove their DCE, and get you back your Item cards.
As I no longer have a colored tech attacker, I changed up the Basic Energy line to Water, so you can copy Seismitoad EX’s Grenade Hammer with Mew EX for two Water Energy. I also put in a single Psychic Energy so that you can copy Mr. Mime’s Psy Bolt attack with Mew.
It’s a really tough call though, both Manectric EX and Bouffalant are strong tech attackers in the deck, so I think you could do well with either of them in it.
Additionally, if M Aggron EX looks like it might be a big threat in the tournament, it may be worthwhile to re-work some of the more techier spots in the deck for a Flareon line so you can OHKO that.
New Challengers Approaching – New Stuff to Watch Out For
As with any new set, there will be new cards that breathe new life into under performing old decks, as well as ones that spring their own archetypes into existence. Primal Clash is full of both types of cards, and will greatly change the meta with all types of new stuff. Even in our Top 6 decks from week 1, one deck, Aromatisse, gets some big improvements from Primal Clash.
Bronzong with M Aggron EX
I think Bronzong, having a similar Ability to that of Eelektrik NVI, was a deck that a lot of people were excited for when Phantom Force scans leaked, but the deck didn’t perform very great at either City Championships or week 1 of Regional Championships. Our final power rankings for City Championships had Bronzong as the 6th ranked deck, and it was the 8th most successful deck during week 1 of Regional Championships in the Standard Format. While that is enough to make it relevant, that’s a far cry from the Tier 1 contender many expected the deck to be.
M Aggron EX is here to give the deck a power boost, and it might be just what it takes to push Bronzong up to Tier 1 status. This is a card that a lot of players are probably sleeping on, but it has an average damage output of 180 damage, doing 240 damage half the time. 240 damage is huge, as that’s enough to OHKO everything except Wailord EX. You can even include Victini LTR to reflip the coin flip for Megaton Slam, boosting the average damage output to 210, doing 240 damage 75% of the time.
I would expect most players to probably play a 2-2 line of M Aggron EX in their Bronzong decks. As its attack conveniently costs [M][M][C][C], it can be powered up with two Metal Links and a Double Colorless attachment. As you are playing it with Energy Acceleration, you can use Max Potion to tank M Aggron with its 240 HP, which should prevent most Pokemon from scoring OHKO’s on it.
Shrine of Memories will be a common tech in these decks. It’s a Stadium Card that lets Pokemon use the attacks of their pre-evolutions that are under them, so it would allow M Aggron EX to use Aggron EX’s Raging Hammer attack, which does 60 damage plus 10 more damage for each damage counter on the Pokemon. This would allow M Aggron EX to absorb lots of damage, and then pay it back on the opponent for a guaranteed damage output.
Steel Shelter, however, will still be the primary Stadium played in the deck, as it shuts off Status Conditions on your Metal Pokemon, whic his useful against both Seismitoad EX and Yveltal EX for limiting their damage output, and not losing turns to Sleep.
Mono Water with Primal Kyogre EX
The next new deck that we can expect to see is a mono water deck that uses Primal Kyogre EX. Primal Kyogre EX can be setup as early as turn 3 thanks to its Growth Ancient Trait, and then once you get a few Primal Kyogre EX in play, as long as you hit your Energy attachments, you will never miss a turn of attacking.
The deck also plays Suicune PLB to wall with Safeguard, Kyurem PLF and Kyurem NVI are common non-EX attackers, and Keldeo EX is played in the deck to use its Rush In Ability in combination with Float Stone. Seismitoad EX is also commonly seen in the deck.
The deck’s biggest selling point is its tanking ability. The way the deck works is that Primal Kyogre EX moves two Energy to a benched Pokemon. With Rush In, you can seamlessly move between different attackers as the game goes on.
This is important as the deck also plays Rough Seas, which lets you heal 30 damage from all of your Water and Lightning Pokemon every turn. So you can move to a new attacker with the Energy you moved with Primal Kyogre EX, sending something to the bench which you will be healing off over a number of turns. If people don’t play a proper number of counter Stadium Cards and Rough Seas is able to stick for most of the game, it can become very difficult to take KO’s against this deck.
I have seen some players also play M Manectric EX in this deck, which makes some sense, as Lightning Pokemon can also be healed off with Rough Seas, however, I think just using Growth and the Energy cyclone effect of Primal Kyogre’s attacks is more than enough to get Energy into play and use it. Growth provides similar acceleration over the given time frame of attachments as attaching to M Manectric EX and then using Turbo Bolt does, and additionally, playing two Mega Pokemon with two separate Spirit Links seems inconsistent to me.
Primal Groudon EX: What to do with you?
The strongest card in terms of raw power in Primal Clash is undoubtedly Primal Groudon EX. Its attack, Gaia Volcano costs [F][F][F][C] and does 100 damage, plus 100 more damage if there is a Stadium in play, and you discard that Stadium after you attack. With damage modifiers for Fighting Pokemon such as Fighting Stadium and Strong Energy, it is very easy to OHKO anything in the format with Primal Groudon.
Additionally, Primal Groudon has the Barrier trait, which prevents the effects of all Trainer cards (except Pokemon Tools) that your opponent would play against Primal Groudon EX. That means they can’t use Crushing Hammer or Enhanced Hammer on it, allowing you to get the Energy attachments in that you need to attack. They also won’t be able to Lysandre it, so it won’t go Active before it’s ready to attack.
As it has a massive 240 HP, only a few Pokemon (Camerupt EX, M Aggron EX if they flip heads, Grass Pokemon because of weakness, and a very large Yveltal EX) can OHKO it. This means that in most cases, Primal Groudon EX should be good for two knockouts. As you want to make use of its high HP, it may be wise to play Mr. Mime so that it isn’t soaking up damage while it’s on the bench.
The most obvious pairing players will go for is a Fighting deck, with both Scorched Earth and Fighting Stadium, using Scorched Earth to discard Fighting Energy early, powering up Primal Groudon EX with Landorus FFI. Once Primal Groudon EX is ready to attack, it goes up to attack, and another Primal Groudon EX is setup behind it. The deck plays Scramble Switch to switch to the second Primal Groudon EX when the first absorbs too much damage.
The second deck you may see with it is a version that uses Victini EX and its Turbo Energize attack to power up Primal Groudon EX. The only issue with Victini EX is that it is low HP, and can easily be knocked out by common Pokemon like Hawlucha FFI before it can do much acceleration, although Victini EX in theory does take care of the cards issues with Virizion EX/Genesect EX.
Perhaps the most effective means of playing the card will to be play it in an Aromatisse deck, similar to how M Heracross EX was played with Aromatisse. The deck would likely play 4 Rainbow, 4 Fairy, and 4 Strong Energy, with a goal of getting at least two Rainbow on the field, so that Primal Groudon EX could be healed with Max Potion. There is an Eelektrike in Primal Clash that also has the Barrier Ability, and which could be played onto your bench to stockpile Energy early, before you have a Primal Groudon EX, with its barrier in play.
Lastly, the card may see some play in current Fighting decks as a 1-1 tech, with 1 Spirit Link. As Fighting decks are able to use Korrina, getting out a think tech line fits seamlessly into decks playing the card.
Emboar BLW/Camerupt EX
Emboar was one of the top contenders during the State Championship format last year when paired with Rayquaza EX, and as we approach that time frame again, Emboar looks like it could make a comeback with Camerupt EX, an attacker that similarly does more damage for each Energy discarded, making Emboar very powerful as it doesn’t have a damage cap, which is very strong in a meta game with Mega Pokemon seeing play.
The deck is basically the same as it was last year. Delphox XY is included in the deck to give it insane amounts of draw power, and Reshiram BLW still gives the deck a strong non-EX attacker. The deck is able to utilize Lysandre’s Trump Card very well thanks to Delphox’s Mystical Fire Ability. The deck is a bit less consistent with the loss of Tropical Beach, but still fairly consistent thanks to Delphox’s Mystical Fire Ability. I did a write up of the deck recently, so you can check that article out here to learn more about the deck.
If you look at the meta game, there are a lot of decks that would hate to see this deck comeback, most notably Virizion EX/Genesect EX, Bronzong PHF, Primal Groudon EX and Aromatisse decks. As it is able to stream together OHKO’s, it is a threat against most decks. However, the deck does have a crippling problem with Seismitoad EX decks. The deck is very reliant on Rare Candy and Superior Energy Retrieval, so being unable to play Items is game breaking for you.
This is a high risk, high reward play for Florida. If Seismitoad EX sees a dip in play, Emboar could emerge as a top deck. If Seismitoad keeps seeing lots of play, this deck quickly becomes unplayable.
The deck uses Medicham for its Yoga Kick attack, which costs [F][F] and does 30 damage and ignores Weakness and Resistance. Wait…30 damage? What is this deck again?
Well here is the gimmick, it has the Barrage Ancient Trait, and is also Fighting type, so it’s able to take advantage of the Fighting support. With a Strong Energy, Fighting Stadium, and Muscle Band, it is doing 90 damage against EX’s, and since it can attack twice, that becomes 180 damage, good enough for KO’s. The deck also plays Celebi EX to copy Meditite’s Smack attack, which does 20 damage, for times when you can’t get the second attachment. With Silver Bangle, Strong Energy, and Fighting Stadium, it can do 90 damage, good for KO’s when Barrage is used.
The issue with this deck is that it’s entirely combo dependent. These OHKO’s are all dependent on having Muscle Band, Strong Energy, and Fighting Stadium in play. As soon as you whiff any of those, you don’t get your KO for the turn, and no longer are trading prizes advantageously.
I haven’t had too much difficulty beating the deck in the games that I have played against the deck. The deck usually starts off the game with great gusto, but then starts whiffing cards as the game goes on and you N them, and then just starts to fall behind.
Acro Lugia EX
With the release of Acro Bike in Primal Clash, Lugia EX decks get another form of non-Supporter based draw, which helps them speed up and hit the ideal turn 1 more often. What people are playing is more or less the same thing I wrote about in November about Lugia EX, just with Acro Bike to give it more speed.
The deck is very fearsome, as it sets up as early as turn 1 for OHKO attacks, and with Overflow, games can end very quickly if Lugia EX is able to string together a few knockouts to start the game. The game can end as early as Game 2 if Lugia EX takes knockouts on two EX’s for six prizes. With Acro Bike, it has only become more explosive out of the gate, and more of a threat than ever.
Here is what the updated list looks like:
Pokemon – 8
3 Lugia EX
Trainers – 44
4 Professor Juniper
2 Ultra Ball
3 Muscle Band
Energy – 8
4 Double Colorless
On the surface, the deck has some issues against Mega Pokemon, but it is actually better against them than you would think. The Startling Megaphone and Head Ringers are effective in getting rid of Spirit Links to slow down evolution, as well as to up the amount of Energy needed to attack. If push comes to shove, and there is a Mega up and attacking, Snorlax PLS can OHKO a Mega Pokemon for you, being able to do 240 damage with a full bench with 4 Deoxys EX, and a Muscle Band attached to Snorlax.
The deck uses Lysandre’s Trump Card to restore its supply of Plasma Energy and Colress Machine, and then rips through the deck again with all its draw Items to power up more attacks.
The deck is very aggressive, and can put lots of decks that will see play under immediate pressure of losing the game. It is balanced by Night March, who can use Joltik for easy OHKO’s on Lugia EX, and Seismitoad EX, which shuts down the deck’s Item draw engine and prevents it from using Colress Machine, as well as often is run with Hammers, which can completely shutdown the deck.
Florida Favorite: Flareon
The last deck to worry about is Flareon, which has been a local favorite of the Florida meta game. Check out this article on The Meta Deck, to see what a list for this deck looks like.
The deck plays Flareon of course, and powers up Vengeance with Battle Compressor, as well as Deoxys EX to make use of the Power Connect Ability, as it is a Plasma Pokemon. It plays a thick Leafeon line (both the Energy Crush and Soothing Scent versions) as a means to deal with Seismitoad EX, the former can be powered with Power Connect as well. The deck plays Lysandre’s Trump Card to recycle Double Colorless Energy, and has Slurpuff and Acro Bike to start drawing through the deck again after Trump Card has been played.
I actually tested this deck for about a week during City Championships after having it hyped up, and I found it to not be very good. I found it to use a similar strategy to Night March, but be completely inferior in speed and damage output, as well as versatility to deal with other threats. Additionally, I never had too much of an issue beating the deck with most of my decks in testing.
As this Regional will likely be huge, the local meta will probably be mostly washed out, and that’s assuming that Florida players even want to stick with Flareon in the new format. I would say that you’re more likely to not play against the deck than you are to play against it.
- M Manectric EX and Manectric EX should probably be out of style for this tournament. The decks were already Tier 2 for most of City Championships, and with Landorus EX/Crobat PHF emerging as a top contender in the meta game, life will be hard for M Manectric players unless they pair it with Water Pokemon, which as covered early, can do just fine without the Manectric line clunking up the deck.
- Is Donphan a deck you even have to worry about? Week 1 of Regional Championships, when playing Night March, we hedged that we wouldn’t see a lot of Donphan decks, and that turned out to be the case. It’s share of the meta dropped 72% from the end of City Championships to week 1 of Regional Championships, with only 3 players making Top 32/Top 16 with the deck. Was week 1 just a bad week for the Tier 1 stalwart of City Championships, or is it truly done as a top deck?
- Pyroar FLF is officially dead as a meta game threat. Life was already hard on Pyroar thanks to M Manectric EX and Seismitoad EX paired with Hypnotoxic Laser, seeing its success dwindle as City Championships went on, and falling further at week 1, with only one player making Day 2 with a Pyroar deck. With an influx of new Mega Pokemon into the meta game, that should push in the final nail in Pyroar’s coffin.
- Silent Lab is one of the most interesting cards in terms of a meta game counter, and probably a card that has yet to be explored properly. It can act as your response to Sigilyph DRX’s and Suicune PLB’s Safeguard for EX heavy decks, and can be used in Bronzong PHF and Emboar BLW decks to get around something like Wobuffet’s Ability lock.
This should give you a good overview of what types of decks players are likely to bring to Florida Regional Championship. As this is a completely blind meta, there most likely will also be 1 or 2 other decks that take the tournament by storm that no one saw coming and take players into Top 32.
As the week goes on, I’ll try to get out at least one more article focusing on a new deck of the Primal Clash format, and then of course will continue with more as we head towards State Championships.