Primal Clash as a whole is a very interesting set, as it completely changes the game by releasing four different Mega Pokemon which will change the game as we know it. We already got a taste of this during City Championships with M Manectric EX becoming a prevalent meta game force, but M Manectric was just a sliver of the meta game, the new Mega Pokemon will be more widespread finding themselves forming new archetypes and bolstering old ones.
Primal Kyogre EX has 240 HP, is Water type of course, has a whopping four retreat cost, and its attack Tidal Storm costs [W][W][W][C] and does 150 damage, plus 30 damage to any EX Pokemon on your opponent’s bench. The extra spread damage to EX’s is great, as it sets up your opponent’s EX’s (usually at 170 or 180 HP) up for KO’s with Tidal Storm the next turn, although it has less impact on setting up KO’s on other Mega Pokemon.
One interesting thing that this spread does in the meta game is make players have to be very careful about playing Jirachi EX down in the matchup, or building decks that play Jirachi EX without Mr. Mime, healing, or scoop up effects. If players play Jirachi as they have in the past, where it just sits on their bench all game, it can become a free two prizes after just three Tidal Storm attacks.
Now, a four Energy attack would usually be too difficult to get setup, but Primal Kyogre EX has the Growth Ancient Trait, so you can attach two Energy cards to it when you attach Energy from your hand from the turn, so it has some built in Energy acceleration. Additionally, Tidal Storm moves two Energy off Primal Kyogre EX to one of your benched Pokemon, so you can setup other attackers with it, and then use Growth again the next turn to get Primal Kyogre powered for another Tidal Storm.
The tempo you want to get going with the deck is to be attacking with Tidal Storm by turn 3. That is as simple as making attachments to a Kyogre EX on turns 1 and 2, followed by evolving to Primal Kyogre EX on turn 2 or 3, and then using Growth to get the third and fourth Energy attachments. If you whiff an Energy attachment turn 1, that is okay too as long as you can evolve into Primal Kyogre EX on turn 2 with a Spirit Link, and then use Growth to make two Energy attachments turn 2.
What our Primal Kyogre EX deck boils down to strategy wise is to get Primal Kyogre EX using Tidal Storm by turn 3, and then to start setting up other attackers with the Energy movement.
So taking the strategy of trying to get Primal Kyogre EX setup on turn 3, and then start setting up other attackers, here is the list I have come up with for the deck.
Pokemon – 11
3 Kyogre EX
Trainers – 37
4 Professor Juniper
1 Computer Search
4 Dive Ball
3 Rough Seas
Energy – 12
3-3 Primal Kyogre EX with 3 Spirit Link – This is the main attacker in the deck, so naturally we want a thick line of it. We want to be able to get at least one out on turn 1, so we can setup the process of having it using Tidal Storm by turn 3. When I first started building the deck, I had wanted a 4-4 or 4-3 line of the cards, but it became clear very quickly that space was an issue, so the deck itself forced me to settle on just a 3-3 line. The three Spirit Link count has worked well enough in testing, I’ve been able to draw into them fairly easily to get things going.
Kyogre EX is worth mentioning for its second attack, Giant Whirl Pool, which does 140 damage, and sends two Water Energy back to your hand. This can be setup with a Tidal Storm to a Kyogre EX, along with a Double Colorless attachment. Being able to pick up two Water Energy is nice in some situations where you’re running low on Energy in your deck, or don’t have a draw card to get into more Energy.
For example, take a field of Primal Kyogre EX with the regular Kyogre EX, with Double Colorless Energy being the only Energy you have in hand, with no draw Supporter, and being reliant on a top deck for any additional draw or Energy. You won’t be able to power up Tidal Storm again the next turn, but you can power up Giant Whirl Pool by moving the two Water Energy to it and attaching the DCE. Then you switch into Kyogre EX, use Giant Whirl Pool, pick up two Water Energy attached to it. Then your next turn, you have two Water Energy in hand which can be attached to Primal Kyogre EX, and you can use Tidal Storm again.
2 Keldeo EX and 3 Float Stone – Keldeo works really well in this deck for giving you lots of mobility. As Tidal Storm moves Energy around, you can setup new attackers and switch between different attackers every single turn of the game by using Rush In Retreat. As Keldeo EX is powered by Water Energy, in this deck it can serve as more than just a mobility option, and can do solid damage with Secret Sword when it’s powered by Water Energy.
1 Seismitoad EX – You don’t really use this too much, but it plays a nice small role in this deck. As Tidal Storm only does 150 damage, against EX’s, if you haven’t previously spread to them, you may need 30 damage to finish them off. Quaking Punch works great in this role, while also limiting what your opponent can do the next turn by denying them Items. You can also move into Seismitoad EX just to slow down your opponent to give you some time to heal off Primal Kyogre EX’s in situations where the Item lock is particularly damaging to your opponent.
1 Kyurem PLF – This is just a non-EX attacker to take care of Safe Guard for you, as well as mix it up in the prize trade to get your opponent on an odd prize count. As you play Keldeo EX and Float Stone in the deck, you can use Blizzard Burn on consecutive turns with the same Kyurem very easily when your opponent doesn’t knock it out. Frost Spear is also solid at some points for sniping something for a knockout, or to setup a knockout for later. Again, Tidal Storm does 150 damage, so if something is left with 30 HP in the active spot, you can bring up Kyrem, use Frost Spear, and get something else setup for a KO from Tidal Storm the next turn.
1 Suicune PLB – This is just primarily a wall in this deck to buy you time to get setup, or to hide behind later in the game to give you time to heal off your Pokemon against EX heavy decks. With Keldeo EX and Float Stone in the deck, it’s fairly easy to get into Suicune early in the game to slow your opponent down some.
Suicune also has a niche role when combined with Tidal Storm. As Suicune prevents all effects of EX’s attacks, if you target Suicune for the Energy movement, the Energy will go into the discard pile. This is useful in situations where you have an Energy Retrieval and no Energy in the discard, but also wouldn’t be able to power up a new Primal Kyogre EX, so you need to find a way to re-power this one. By sending the Energy to the discard pile, you can then use that Energy Retrieval in hand to get back those two Energy, and re-attach them to the current Primal Kyogre EX. You can also do this with a Keldeo EX that doesn’t have Float Stone on it, by using Rush In Retreat, but most of the game your Keldeo EX’s will have Float Stones on them, so that option comes up less often than the Suicune one.
The Supporter lineup in this deck is fairly standard, maxing out 4 Professor Juniper and 4 N, so we can have maximum early game consistency, and also have maximum access to the two best Supporters in the game. This deck fills up its bench fairly well, so Colress is a great supplementary Supporter. There isn’t really an obvious fourth Supporter for the deck, so I have two Bicycle to round out my draw. They have worked well so far, but Professor Birch’s Observation might be worthwhile to try as a fourth Supporter in the deck.
As you don’t OHKO EX’s, I have two Lysandre in the deck so that you can have access to it often enough to drag stuff up for KO’s that you have previously damaged. As the game goes on, and you get the 30 spread on other EX’s, you can then use Lysandre to drag those up to KO them. If your opponent doesn’t have Mime to stop the spread from happening, or some form of healing, Primal Kyogre EX can end the game very quickly just by constantly using Lysandre on previously damaged EX’s. You can even take a double KO for four prizes on the fourth turn of the game with this deck against EX heavy decks, which is obviously a great position to be in on turn 4 of a game.
Lastly, I have Lysandre’s Trump Card to get back Energy for the late game, as well as to put Primal Kyogre EX and Spirit Links back in the deck in case you have to discard them. Generally you will get out two Primal Kyogre EX without issue, but Trump Card is essential for getting out a third Primal Kyogre into play as you either have to discard a piece of a line early, or prize a piece which can prevent the third from getting setup.
The deck then plays 3 VS Seeker to get Supporters back from your discard pile.
Computer Search is the Ace Spec in the deck to maximize early game consistency. Dowsing Machine would be nice, but I think Computer Search is better at getting you off to good starts, and even without Dowsing Machine, you still have Trump Card as a recovery option in the deck.
Dive Ball is the Pokemon Search that we use in the deck. The card lets you search your deck for a Water Pokemon, which obviously works great in a deck where you only play Water Pokemon. Dive Ball works very nicely, as you don’t have to worry about discarding precious resources as you would with Ultra Ball.
The next two Items that are in the deck are in the deck to put you in the best situation possible to get off successful Growth attachments in the game. Growth is only useful when you have two Energy in hand, so you want to avoid situations where you only have one Energy and don’t get to use the acceleration of Growth. To try to avoid these situations, the deck plays 2 Professor Letter, which lets you search your deck for two Basic Energy and 2 Energy Retrieval, which lets you get back two Basic Energy from your discard pile. Both cards work well numbers wise by getting you the two Energy needed for a successful Growth.
I like Energy Retrieval in this deck, as you rarely have more than two Energy in your discard pile if you’re moving your Energy around properly with Tidal Storm, and the card works nicely in conserving your resources. Superior Energy Retrieval does warrant some more testing, as situations probably will arise when you can get four Energy back with it, but Energy Retrieval is also more consistent in that you can use it without destroying your hand, or needing a hand for that matter.
For example, after a late game N to one, you would be able to use the Energy Retrieval, but not the Superior Energy Retrieval. Other situations could arise where you need the Energy, but you also need other resources in your hand (such as a Supporter, or Float Stone), so having to discard those cards would negatively impact you, while Energy Retrieval wouldn’t. While Superior Energy Retrieval has more upside than Energy Retrieval, I think the cons outweigh the pros for it in this deck.
The last feature that this deck has going for it is healing. It is able to primarily heal using Rough Seas, which there are three of in this deck. Rough Seas lets you heal 30 damage from all of your Water and Lightning Pokemon in play. This works really well in this deck, as you move Energy around with Tidal Storm, so you can move to different attackers each turn, while healing off your previously damaged Pokemon on the bench. I also included 1 Max Potion, just for situations where you really need to deny a knockout. Losing a couple of Energy from Max Potion isn’t too bad in this deck, as you can then just move two Energy to it with Tidal Storm, and then use Growth to get a Primal Kyogre EX up and attacking again.
The Deck’s Place in the Meta Game
This deck is a bit of a mixed bag as far as matchups go. It is able to put a lot of good pressure on some popular stuff that will surely see play, while having difficult matchups against other stuff that will see play.
The biggest point in favor of this deck is that it will have a strong matchup against Landorus EX/Crobat PHF, a deck that emerged as Tier 1 during week one of Regional Championships, as it provides a type counter to Landorus EX, while also being able to negate the added damage from Crobat and Golbat by using Rough Seas to heal.
The deck will also do well against any deck that is EX heavy, and doesn’t have solid OHKO options. That means decks like Yveltal EX, M Manectric EX/Fighting, and Bronzong can struggle against it.
The Seismitoad EX matchup isn’t too bad if you’re going against the Slurpuff version. You have Keldeo EX’s to get around their Poison, and Rough Seas to heal off the measly damage that they are doing. If you can get a Float Stone or two to stick on Keldeo EX’s to start the game, you will be in an especially strong position, as you can promote Suicune PLB, Rush In and Retreat out when it gets poisoned, while working on getting some Primal Kyogre EX setup. Once you get those setup, the Seismitoad player will be in very poor shape for winning. I do think the Garbodor version of Seismitoad would be able to beat this deck fairly easily, however.
Night March can be difficult as they can put on a lot of early aggression, and then Lysandre around Primal Kyogre EX’s for more knockouts. However, you can still beat it with Primal Kyogre’s high HP and by using Trump Card to limit their damage, while healing off any lesser damage they may do with Rough Seas.
Aromatisse is very tough to beat. If they can get 8 Fairy Energy on their field, and hit their Max Potions when they need them, there isn’t much you can do. M Gardevoir EX will be able to rip through your field very quickly.Your outs to win are for them to prize Energy, or have to discard them early to get setup, so they can’t get OHKO’s with M Gardevoir, and for them to whiff Max Potions at key turns in the game.
Lastly, Virizion EX/Genesect EX is a very poor matchup for the deck. You don’t just scoop to the deck, they do need Muscle Bands on Genesect EX’s to OHKO your Primal Kyogre EX, and you do conserve your Energy, so you could theoretically stream enough attacks together to survive, but this is just describing a situation where everything goes your way. Sometimes this will happen and you will win, or things won’t go their way, and they whiff Emeral Slash early game, and you win because of that. However, most games won’t be like this, so you can expect to lose to Virgen most of the time with this deck.
This deck is very powerful, but also has noticeable matchup problems at the same time. I would expect this deck to end up a solid Tier 2 deck in the current format. It has enough bad matchups to keep it out of Tier 1 for now, but as the States meta game develops, it is a deck to keep in mind just in case the meta game goes in a direction where more of its favorable matchups are seeing play than its less favorable matchups.
One thing players may note is that this list doesn’t play any Muscle Band, which would obviously be good with Tidal Storm to hit 170. As much as I would love to have that option, it’s just impossible to fit in Muscle Bands as well as the Tool Retriever that would be needed to pick up Spirit Links.
Sometimes in Pokemon you have to make concessions when building a deck, and conceding a damage modifier in favor of consistency is a trade I’m willing to make. A big part of Pokemon is being able to consistently execute your strategy, and the more teched out we make our decks, the less often we are able to properly execute our strategy. If things aren’t getting setup and our strategy isn’t executing itself, you probably are going to lose those games where that happens, at which point those cards you added to improve the deck in some way by adding something new are actually negatively impacting the deck.