Battle Roads Preview

by coolestman22 ~ May 8th, 2012.

Introduction

It’s me, coolestman22, with an article about the Top 4 decks for Battle Roads. In this article are 4 lists of the decks I believe will have the biggest impact on Battle Roads, one of which emerges from our newest set, Dark EXplorers (I wish they would stop the EX puns already). Most of these I have at one point played so they are somewhat tested, but remember that each player has personal preferences so not every list will seem 100% perfect to you. It’s not the exact list that you have to use, so feel free to edit the lists to your personal preference.

First off, we’ll take a look at what did well at Regionals, even though there might be a few differences in the lists now that Dark EXplorers is out.

According to thetopcut.net, here are the Top 4 decks in all of the U.S. Regionals:

Wins: 2nd Place: 3rd-4th:
Zekrom/Eels – 5 Zekrom/Eels – 4 Celebi/Mewtwo/Virizion – 2
Durant – 1 Celebi/Mewtwo/Tornadus – 2 Zekrom/Eelektrik – 4
    Celebi/Mewtwo – 2
    KyuremEX/Mewtwo/Terrakion – 1
    Liligant/Vileplume/Victini – 1
    Celebi-Mewtwo-Tornadus – 4

This looks pretty much metagame-oriented, with the only exceptions being the Liligant deck and the Kyurem-EX/Terrakion/Mewtwo deck. The Celebi/Mewtwo/Virizion deck was kind of creative, but I think of it more as a personal-preference CMT (maybe they didn’t like Tornadus :P)

Also, the thing that shocked most people was the lack of CMT winning any Regionals. This surprised me as well, although I personally wouldn’t play CMT as it isn’t the best deck for winning Mewtwo wars. If you want to win Mewtwo wars your best bet is probably to play Zekeels with 2 Mewtwo and a Revive or two, as your chances of starting with it are low, but your chances of prizing them both are also low, and your Revive can be Junk-Armed for assuming it isn’t prized (you will probably have discarded it with Sage’s Training or Professor Juniper already).

Based on this information and the cards in Dark EXplorers, I think that the four best plays for Battle Roads are the following, in the following order:

Zekeels
Dark Decks
CMT
Fighting Decks (Groudon-EX, Landorus NVI, Terrakion NVI, Terrakion EP as a one-of possibly, and possibly some other creative fighting cards)

Let’s start off by reviewing the deck that I think will do best at Battle Roads, and the deck I have been playing the most time, Zekeels.

Zekeels

For those of you who don’t know, The basic strategy of Zekeels is to get several Eelektrik NVI out and use their Ability, “Dynamotor”, to power up your attackers. To do this, you need energy in the discard pile, which is where Professor Juniper, Sage’s Training, and Junk Arm come in. While all of these cards are staples in other decks (except maybe Sage’s Training), they are especially useful in Zekeels because they get energy in the discard pile, and the faster you do this, the more likely you are to win.

Zekeels is probably the cheapest Tier One deck, as the only very expensive cards are the Mewtwos, which you should have already if you want to win (Eelektriks are $1 each and are uncommons, and most of the attackers have promo versions), but that doesn’t mean it isn’t good. It is the most widely played deck and most players have probably played it at some point. This is a disadvantage to the Zekeel player as the opponent will likely know your main strategy and know how to play against it, but at the same time it might be an advantage. If your opponent thinks you are playing 3-3 Eelektrik, when you are really playing 4-4, and they try to kill your Eels or Tynamos to win, you can take advantage of this by keeping the Eels coming and killing your opponent’s stuff as they drown their resources using a failed game plan.

Here is a skeleton list, keep in mind that I didn’t put everything in;

Pokemon – 12 T/S/S – 28 Energy – 13
4 Tynamo (It is player preference which one you choose, I prefer Tynamo NVI 38, other options are NVI 39 and DEX 45) 4 Basic search cards 10 Lightning Energy
3 Eelektrik 9 Draw Supporters that preferably some discard your energy 3 Double Colorless
2 Zekrom 4 Junk Arm  
2 Mewtwo EX 2 Switch  
  2 Catcher  
  2 PlusPower  
  2 Pokegear 3.0 (or Random Receiver if you don’t play Collector)  
  2 Level Ball  
  1 Super Rod  

Total – 52

More options/Techs:

Thundurus EPO

One of my old favorites, Thundurus EPO is a cool card in Zekeels because it can get off a T2 80 damage, and put energy in the discard pile. Thundurus makes a good start, and can power itself up, and take prizes while you discard energy and set up Eelektriks. It is an all-around cool card that you may find fits your play-style and you may end up playing four and using Disaster Volt more than any other attack. You may find that is a waste of space in your deck and you’d rather have more X. It’s a matter of personal preference than anything else.

It may shock you to learn that I don’t play Thundurus in my Zekeels build. Why? I have devoted these spots to other techs, some of which I may have ranted about in previous articles. I have tried Thundurus and found it to be a card that you have to play multiples of or you never use it, and I don’t have the space for multiples. You may find otherwise, however, so it’s good to try everything and see what works for you.

Zekrom EX

Zekrom EX is a card in Zekeels that some may consider standard, but I have found that some players have dropped it from their lists because it is a hazard to start with, and you don’t use it all that much. I like Zekrom EX, and I wouldn’t consider dropping it any time soon, but you might find that Zekrom EX isn’t right for your playstyle or build. It’s not something everybody has to play in their Zekeels build like some players think, but it is another option and is the card that, if you play it, hits for the most damage in the deck (with the exception of Mewtwo with enough energy), and can win you games, but it can also lose you games.

Regigigas EX

Regigigas is one of the cards that I have liked the most as a tech, as I have had some success with it in my Zekeels build, but it has its downsides too.

Regigigas can be great, as your opponent may not want to attack directly into it to avoid being hit for 50 plus what they hit for next turn. It’s a cool card with an Outrage-like attack that you may enjoy, as well as an attack like Tornadus, but without the energy moved, and you can opt out of the extra damage in order to avoid the recoil.

Unfortunately, Regigigas is also a pain to start with and it gives up two prizes, it also is weak to the same thing as the other attackers, regardless of being a different type, and the only Colorless weak pokemon that is even slightly played right now is RDL, so no points there.

Regigigas EX is really cool for one other reason: if it and Mewtwo can both afford their respective attacks (X-Ball for mewtwo and Raging Hammer for Regigigas) and Mewtwo uses X-Ball when Regigigas has no damage on it, Regigigas-EX return-KOes Mewtwo for two prizes next turn. This may sound like a lot of things to go right, but I’ve had this scenario happen to me a couple times playing Regigigas.

Another thing Regigigas has going for it is the Full-Art version looks really, really cool. The art on it is just amazing, and it’s really colorful, and the texture is awesome. If you want your deck to look pretty, and you want another thing that’s good against Mewtwo, Regigigas is your guy.

I liked Regigigas-EX as a tech, but found that you start with it a lot and he costs a lot of energy, and you actually end up using him only a couple games out of five, and it’s better just to play Zekrom as you have to use the same amount of energy on him but he hits for more guaranteed damage.

Raikou-EX

Raikou-EX is a card from Dark EXplorers, our upcoming set, that is a cool option for Zekeels. It can snipe opponent’s Eelektriks, or Reunicli, or support Pokemon out, and is a nice option for when you need to hit the bench and don’t have a Catcher.

If you thought Garchomp C Lv. X was broken (which it probably was), Raikou will seem even more broken. Hitting for 20 more, AND being able to do it again with just a little bit of support, Raikou is double the power creep of the other stuff., AND it also doesn’t come in a tin (yet, hopefully it will, but otherwise they’re going to be expensive, invest now, people, they probably won’t be cheap later).

It helps the Zekeels mirror matchup a lot because you can snipe your opponent’s Eels out, and if they can’t use Dynamotor, they can’t win.

Raikou is probably a tech you should be playing if you can afford it, I’m playing one right now and I really like it. The retreat cost isn’t too bad, it can easily be reduced to zero by simply playing a Stadium. If you find that you don’t use it, however, you can cut it if you feel it would help the deck more to have something else in that spot.

Zapdos NXD

Along the lines of sniping, let’s check out Zapdos, the best of the birds from NXD that would have probably been our Full-Arts if it weren’t for the EX’s.

Zapdos is a good starter if you have a Double Colorless in hand and are playing the mirror, you can start killing their Tynamos T2. As i’ve said, the fewer Eelektriks your opponent has, the less likely they are to win. By starting with Zapdos to kill Tynamos early, and later getting a Raikou out, you could leave your opponent with no support whatsoever. This is a great strategy for playing against Zekeels, because if you don’t waste resources getting Catchers and Junk Arms, but still manage to take their support out, you win.

Zapdos is also good because it’s nice to have a card that snipes, because then if you Catcher something with high retreat and your opponent doesn’t have a way out, they will be stuck manually building it up while you take out their bench. This is a good way to get back into a prize race, or take a lead in one.

I also like Zapdos because, unlike most lightning-types, Zapdos has resistance to fighting, instead of weakness. This is one of the things that I didn’t notice until about two weeks after Zapdos came out. This makes it a decent card to use against matchups like Donphan and Fighting decks.

The second attack is indeed risky, but it can, with four coin flips that go your way, OHKO any EX without an Eviolite and Defender attached (or Groudon with just Eviolite), and no EX decks are currently playing Defender (Decks with Groudon tend to have more Exp. Share).

I think that, like all of these, Zapdos is a card worth trying in Zekeels. It gives you another option, which can take a couple free prizes before your opponent can do anything. It can OHKO EX’s with a little luck (although I wouldn’t recommend relying on that attack).

Tornadus EPO

Tornadus EPO has proven itself to be a good card, and it can be splashed into any deck with DCE. The ability to move the energy is nice, but at the same time it could hurt you because you’ll need the energy next turn, as you may not have one in hand.

The typing isn’t very good, as being colorless doesn’t mean you hit for very many major weaknesses (just RDL), but not too much resists you. The Lightning weakness means that 60 from a lightning-type OHKOes you, meaning Glinting Claw or Random Spark (if you hit the active) with a PlusPower, or a Disaster Volt from Thundurus.

The fighting resistance is nice, meaning that it resists Donphan, Groudon-EX, Landorus, and Terrakion, even though it doesn’t matter without Eviolite for all but Donphan and sometimes Groudon.

Tornadus EPO is good for being able to hit fast and early while conserving energy, but honestly I think Thundurus does that better (and this time, I’m right), because it discards the energy. The only reason to use Tornadus over Thundurus is if you have a fighting-heavy metagame, Tornadus is probably a better call.

Tornadus-EX

Tornadus-EX is a card from Dark EXplorers that people are hyping to be good in Zekeels. Why?

First of all, it has fighting resistance, AND 170 HP, so Terrakion can only 3-shot it, Groudon would 3-shot it (or 2 with a PlusPower), and Donphan would 5-shot it (or 4 with a PlusPower)

Stack an Eviolite on it, and it works wonders. Terrakion 4-shots it, or 3 with 2 PlusPowers, Landorus 5-shots it (or 4 with a PlusPower), Groudon still 3-shots it (but needs 3 PlusPowers for an upgrade) and Donphan NINE-shots it (or 8 with a PlusPower).

These are great numbers against fighting, but the card is useful in OTHER MATCHES TOO! Yes, doing 100 and possibly discarding an energy helps in other matchups too. Discarding energy and doing 100 T2 is pretty good. These are some of the reasons people will use Tornadus-EX.

Tornadus’ other attack is OK, doing 30 for a DCE or 60 if you played a Stadium (there’s a reason to play Skyarrow), and this works for donks, but will happen about as much as Mewtwo donks in Zekeels.

Tornadus-EX is a cool card that may or may not be worth splashing into your Zekeels build. Try it out, see if you like it, and if not, try something else.

Eelektross DEX

Eelektross DEX is a tech that may not be a basic, but it can surprise your opponent if you can stack enough energy onto it. The ability to drag something and hit it for 60 means that Celebis and Tornadi are easy prizes for Eelektross, and it can heal itself also with its first attack.

I’ve been trying out Eelektross and I like it just because of its funny attack name, “Slurp Shakedown.” Who wouldn’t want to use “Slurp Shakedown?”

(Pedro’s note:  There is a place over on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood where you can get a “Slurp Shakedown”, but it will cost you about $500.)

However, the problem with Eelektross is that it simply doesn’t hit for enough to be good in the late-game, which is probably where it’s going to be used. Tynamos will probably be evolved by then, and unless there’s a Cleffa on the board, you aren’t going to take a prize with it. The only way I see hitting Eelektriks with it is if you somehow used Glaciate first (or maybe your opponent used Kyogre CL’s attack and flipped tails, but that’s unlikely). Otherwise, Eelektross just doesn’t hit hard enough to be a great tech in the Zekeels matchup. But in the CMT matchup it’s your key to winning a prize race and starting a Mewtwo war which your opponent will probably not win.

Bouffalant BLW

I’m not completely convinced about Bouffalant, but if Pooka (from TheTopCut) was able to win Regionals with it, it has to be somewhat good. I think it’s because you can Catcher Eelektriks and KO them, which is nice, especially if it works for only a Double Colorless.

I think Bouffalant is definitely something worth trying, especially if you play a high Catcher count or are in a high Zekeels meta.

Smeargle COL/Cleffa COL

You may find that sometimes you don’t have a draw supporter, but you do have a Dual Ball/Collector/Level Ball/whatever that can search out one of these.

These are almost mandatory in Zekeels, as if you have a bad hand, all you have to do is get your Cleffa, or your Smeargle, and use their hand refreshing thing.

I personally prefer Smeargle because it doesn’t require an attack, and it’s a free Supporter every time your opponent KOes your active. But for Smeargle to be effective, you have to run Skyarrow Bridge, which I run anyway.

If you find you need to refresh your hand often, but you don’t have a Supporter, then you should be playing one of these. If you’re playing Skyarrow Bridge I’d recommend Smeargle, but if not, Cleffa’s the way to go.

You may find that you don’t need either of these, which is sometimes the case. If you don’t, then that’s great, you have more space for other techs or more consistency.

Tyrogue HS

Tyrogue HS is a card that people started to put into Zekeels around States, and it has helped them win a couple games, but I’m not too convinced about Tyrogue. I played it in my list for a while, and I didn’t donk with it once. It helped me against Mewtwo a couple times (Bolt Strike + Mischievous Punch + Rocky helmet damage = 170), but the free prize wasn’t worth it, and Smeargle was better for free retreat as it gave me a free Supporter.

Out of about 30 games, no donks. You may find otherwise, but I honestly don’t like Tyrogue. I don’t think it’s worth the space. Try it yourself, however, as everyone has different playstyles.

Heatmor DEX

If you lose to a good Durant player too much, one of these will help the matchup A LOT assuming you can get it out, and not start something with too high a retreat cost. If you start Tynamo, that’s good. If you start Raikou and you play Skyarrow, that’s good. If you start Zekrom EX, you lose. But if you get a Heatmor rolling against Durant, and you don’t have some serious Catcher bait on your bench, you’ll probably win.

The problem with Heatmor is that, in other matchups, Heatmor is dead weight. You might be better off not playing it as your Durant matchup is supposed to be favorable, or at least 50-50. Heatmor is a cool card, and it’s a really big troller, but it might not be the best option to play, especially because Heatmor and Darkrai EX are supposed to scare Durant off for a while.

Heatmor’s other attack is useless, as 50 for RCC is only good if you play any fire energy, which you shouldn’t, and doing 50 is nothing special, even with the possibility of doing 20 more. Theoretically it’s OK for drafts, but that’s it.

Eviolite

Eviolite is an option that some Zekeels players like. It’s basically a permanent Defender for basic pokemon, and it also reduces Bolt Strike damage, which helps.

Eviolite is a good card, but I don’t play it simply because I like Rocky Helmet better. I’m more of an offensive player, and the offensive player goes with the offensive tool. However, you should try Eviolite out and see how you like it.

Rocky Helmet

For those of you who read my rant, go ahead and skip this part, you won’t need to read it.

Rocky Helmet is nice for putting pressure on your opponent, as that extra 20 damage could be the difference between Mewtwo surviving and Mewtwo dying, or whatever your opponent has out dying. They might be forced to try and Catcher around it, burning up their resources.

Rocky Helmet is also nice in Zekeels because it helps get that extra damage on stuff WITHOUT PlusPower. So by playing Rocky Helmet, you can lower your PlusPower count.

The extra 20 damage could help in Mewtwo wars, because you will be the one who doesn’t need to play the third energy on mewtwo. The third energy on mewtwo could burn you.

Just like all of these, try Rocky Helmet. If you don’t like it, you don’t have to play it at your tournament. Just try everything, and whatever you like, play.

Skyarrow Bridge

The last tech I will cover is Skyarrow Bridge. Skyarrow Bridge is good in Zekeels because you can retreat Raikou for free, you can play Smeargle over Cleffa, and you don’t need to have a Cleffa or free retreat Tynamo or Cleffa on the field at all times.Skyarrow Bridge saves your manual drops for what you don’t move up active so you can Dynamotor to your next attacker.

I’ve been playing Skyarrow in my Zekeels deck forever. I like it and it’s something that helped me a lot, and it’s definitely something you should try out too.

More Consistency

Filling those 8 spots with a fourth Eelektrik, another draw supporter, a fourth Double Colorless energy, another Level Ball, another Zekrom BW, whatever, is a good option as well. unlike some other decks, I’d recommend playing at least a few other techs just so you can attack with them, as having four attackers equals frowny face. Being more consistent is good, however, and is something you should devote at least a couple more spots to.

Matchups

These matchups aren’t 100% tested, they’re mostly based off my experience with Zekeels, so feel free to disagree with them, but I’ve been playing Zekeels long enough for these to be good enough.

CMT – 50/50

CMT is a pretty fast deck, which means that your Tynamos are in danger the minute you put them down. Your best bet is to Collector for 3 Tynamos when you have 2 Eels/Level Balls in hand, and evolve as many as you can next turn. Then you need to get a few energy in the discard pile.

Getting two Eelektriks out is a good start. Next, you want to wait until your opponent has a Mewtwo active with at least two energies attached, and then get your Mewtwo out X-Balling. Try to make sure you can get another one before starting a Mewtwo war, as winning the Mewtwo war is crucial. Keeping your second Mewtwo on the field is good because your opponent will likely target the active one, so your benched Mewtwo will be safe.

If you can keep your Eels up and running the whole game and win the Mewtwo war, you should be able to win the game. However, if in the middle of the Mewtwo war your opponent uses a Tornadus/Regigigas/other attacker, your best bet is to ask to see their discard pile, and see how many Mewtwos they have there. If they have one, you should use another attacker and try to discard as many energy off of your Mewtwo as you can. It could be a trap.

If they have two Mewtwos in the discard pile, think about the player’s reputation. If they have a reputation of spending as much money as they need to on their decks, you should probably not be baited into it, as it is likely a trap. They know that if they can hit your Mewtwo for KO, they can steamroll you with that last one as you try to take it down. But if you’re playing at a lower table, a better bet is to keep using the Mewtwo as your opponent probably only has two.

If they have ditched three Mewtwo, you’re in the clear to do whatever you want with your Mewtwo. just prepare another attacker just in case they play a Revive or Super Rod (which you should also check the discard pile for just in case they have a Junk Arm). If they have three Mewtwos and no Revive discarded, you can use X-Ball to your heart’s content.

Dark.dec – 50/50

This matchup depends entirely on who gets their attacker going first. If you get a Zekrom Bolt Striking T2, you’ve got a solid chance. If they can Brutal Bash for 120 on Turn Two, you need to get rid of that thing before your opponent steamrolls you with it, or new Zoroarks are set up.

Your goal is to set up 3 Eelektriks and try to kill their Zoroarks. If they pull out their Darkrai and Night Spear you, you should focus on killing that, but that’s probably the exception.

Since they have no source of energy acceleration (at least no source that is a Pokemon), there’s nothing you can take out. So your best bet is to hit whatever they throw at you.

They likely will not run Mewtwo as it screws up Zoroark, and everything in their deck is resistant to psychic anyway. So you can use your Mewtwos a lot, just don’t make the mistake of hitting Zoroark for 80 or you’ll be Dark Rushed to the face.

Fighting Decks – 35/65

Everything in Fighting decks will be geared around hitting the metagame for weakness. Unfortunately for you, that metagame consists of Zekeels.

If you run Tornadus or Tornadus-EX, your best bet is to use those and Mewtwo to take your prizes. What you want to focus on in this matchup is to not deny them their weakness, however, but just to kill their Fighting stuff.

Landorus and Terrakion are both OHKOed by Bolt Strike + PlusPower, so that’s a good option you have assuming you can get the PlusPower. Groudon is 2HKOed by 2 Bolt Strikes, and it gives up two prize cards, so that’s even.

Mewtwo also doesn’t have the weakness that most of your deck has, so using Mewtwo is a good idea. Even if they use Mewtwo, they probably only use one or two, and will not be able to consistently X-Ball you back. And if they respond with Mewtwo, that’s two prize cards for you. So if you can, you should try to engage in a Mewtwo war.

Playing Eviolite also helps this matchup as you can X-Ball three times with Mewtwo as it now lasts three turns instead of two. Groudon can still bash Mewtwo for a 2HKO, however, especially if it had been previously hit by Trample or Gaia Hammer on the bench before having Eviolite attached.

If you’re worried about fighting decks, just play a Tornadus EPO or two and a couple Eviolites, and you should be fine. Neither of these cards are dead weight in other matchups, also, so that’s another reason they help out.

Durant – 60/40

Against a good Durant player this matchup will be more like 50/50, coming down to Crushing Hammer flips.

Your best bet is to stack energy onto your Zekrom BW (as many as possible), and set up another attacker that can consistently do 100, and an Eelektrik that you power up over the course of the game.

Obviously try to avoid playing too many destructive draw Supporters (Juniper, Sage’s Training), and instead stick to the N’s and Professor Oak’s New Theories.

The one Super Rod that you should be playing also helps in this matchup a lot. Just Junk Arm for it a lot, and your deck should be conserved enough to draw 6 prizes with Zekrom BW and another attacker.

If you’re really worried about Durant, or just have a lot of Durant in your area, play one Heatmor DEX, and it completely solves your problem in 80% of your games.

Dark Decks

If you haven’t been hearing the hype, Dark decks generally consist of Zoroark DEX, Darkrai-EX, Absol Prime, and possibly some other dark-types.

The basic Dark deck strategy is the following: get a Turn two Zoroark using Brutal Bash for as much damage as possible, and use some other attackers if need be.

Zoroark is probably the only worthwhile Stage one attacker currently in format, at least the best one, and the deck around it is looking to be pretty good for Battle Roads.

Let’s start off by taking a look at a skeleton list:

Pokemon – 14 T/S/S – 30 Energy – 12
4 Zorua DEX 69 4 Pokemon Collector 7 Darkness Energy
3 Zoroark DEX 9 Draw Supporters (preferably they discard) 3 Special Darkness
1 Zoroark BW 4 Dark Patch 2 Double Colorless Energy
2 Darkrai-EX 4 Junk Arm  
2 Secondary attacker basic 3 Darkness Claw  
2 Secondary attacker 2 Pokegear 3.0  
  2 Pokemon Catcher  
  1 PlusPower  
  1 Super Rod  

Total: 56

Secondary Attackers

There are a couple different secondary attackers that one can use in Dark.dec. My favorite are the Stage Ones, which have some cool options.

Mandibuzz EP

Mandibuzz EP’s second attack, Dark Pulse, has been waiting for some form of energy acceleration for Dark-types, and it finally happened in Dark EXplorers. With Dark Patch, and other darkness-type shenanigans, Mandibuzz could easily be hitting for 100 for just a DCE. Not quite on Zoroark’s level, but pretty good.

It also has a Fighting resistance, giving the deck a better matchup against Fighting decks. this means that it gets 2-shot by the biggest names in fighting instead of one-shot.

Mandibuzz EP is an option that I’ve tried, but it just doesn’t work for me. Don’t ask me why. It’s a matter of player preference that I just prefer other stuff better.

However, it’s something that you should try out for yourself, and it might be the thing that works your build or playstyle.

Honchkrow UD 16

Honchkrow is the first secondary attacker that I tested in Zekeels, and right now I think it’s the one I like the best.

Vengeance is a cool attack, and it can do a lot of damage (although still not as much as Zoroark) for an easily accelerated cost of DCC. it maxes out at 130 before applying Dark shenanigans, and I’ve found that it usually does around 80 including Dark shenanigans. It also has the fighting resistance, which is key against Groudon, Landorus, and Terrakion.

Honchkrow is useless early game, however, and that’s one of its main flaws. It is a cool card that you should try, and it may end up being the thing that works for you.

Weavile UD/Weavile NXD mix

The Weaviles are another option you have, and an option that you may want to play a thicker line of if you play. Weavile UD is a nice card for hand disruption, and the Weavile NXD is probably something your opponent won’t see coming. Doing 120 for a Special Dark and a Darkness Claw out of nowhere is pretty crazy.

The Weavile UD is nice too, as the format is completely draw-supporter based and if you can cut your opponent’s support, and then KO their active, you could have just won.

As my friend says, however, “The player wins off of his (or her) field. If there is no field, the player wins off of his (or her) hand. If there is no hand, that player is screwed”

Therefore, if the player doesn’t have the draw supporter, but has everything necessary to win on the field, Weavile won’t help you as much. If you get N’d down to one but you have your second mewtwo on the field already, it doesn’t matter, you’ll still win.

Weavile gains one extra point for having a basic with free retreat, as you can start Sneasel and still get off a T1 Ascension. T1 Ascensions equal T2 Brutal Bashes. T2 Brutal bashes equal wins.

Weavile is cool in Dark decks, providing some disruption, and the NXD one can pull off some surprises, but it may not work for you. As I’ve stressed before, do what feels right to do instead of what the metagame is doing.

Absol Prime

“What? Absol prime isn’t a Stage One! How could he possibly fit into this?”

Well, you could play 2-3 Absols, and save some of the space for other stuff.

Absol is cool because it’s a basic, so it can donk with a Darkrai-EX or one-retreat basic start, an absol, and a Dark Patch, Dark Patch, Dark, Dark, Dark, Junk Arm, any Trainer, and any pokemon.

Seems hard?

Thought so. But it’s still possible. If you play Weavile and Absol you can drop the Darkrai-EX and third dark from that, as well as the second Dark Patch, but it’s still kinda hard. (Sneasel UD has free retreat, as you may recall)

Absol being a basic gives it speed, however, and speed is good for winning. A T2 70 is great for taking the first prize against an enemy Tynamo, Zorua, or Phanpy. His body is also nice, as doing 20 to anything your opponent drops is helpful in some games. Mostly, just like other techs, it will just be something to fill your bench up for Brutal Bash, but being a basic could be a big advantage. Taking up two less spots is nice and being able to potentially donk is cool, and the only downside is that it sends your bench fillers to the Lost Zone.

Techs

Tornadus-EX

Just like with Zekeels, Tornadus-EX is the main Pokemon to go to if you’re concerned with the Fighting deck matchup. Although it isn’t recommended because it is a pain to start with because it isn’t Dark-typed and has a Lightning weakness, it might help enough to splash in.

Mewtwo-EX

Mewtwo-EX probably isn’t something you should play because you don’t need to engage in a Mewtwo war, as you already beat Mewtwo without four energy/three and two PlusPower with Dark Rush. If Mewtwo doesn’t attack, you simply Brutal Bash it until it dies.

Still, some would prefer to have Mewtwo in their Dark decks, and i honestly can’t blame them. Mewtwo can’t be powered up with Dark Patch, however, so that isn’t the best for it, but it can still use Double Colorless.

Matchups

Zekeels – 50/50

If you can get going before Zekeels you’re doing good. Watch for N’s, and you’re in the clear.

Otherwise, what you should do is early-game try to set up a Darkrai. Catcher Eelektriks, and hen Night Spear and kill the Eelektrik and a benched Tynamo. If you can use this game plan to success and KO support pokemon, your opponent won’t be able to do the same because your energy acceleration is Trainer-based.

Stick to Zoroarks mostly, as your opponent will likely be trying to take them out.

CMT – 30/70

CMT may seem like a good matchup for you, but my testing results say that CMT will be able to take cheap prizes with Tornadus off your Zoruas and secondary attacker basic.

Your best bet is to use Darkrais a lot and at the beginning of the game, try to bench about 3 Zorua. Stay away from your secondary attackers, unless one of them is Weavile and you are using the Undaunted one for hand disruption.

Fighting Decks – 40-60

Fighting decks will generally be able to win, but not if you follow the game plan well.

What you should do is try to stream Zoroarks at the beginning. Your opponent will have to deal with them and won’t be able to take out your secondary attackers (which you should use if they are resistant to Fighting). If you keep on using Brutal Bash and you don’t drop an EX, you should be able to pull it off. If you see a Terrakion NVI early game with Exp. Share, Catcher-kill it. I’ll explain more about that later.

Durant – 85/15

Durant is a great matchup for you even without your Heatmor tech. You are able to on Turn One get an evolution from the deck so they can’t mill it out, and a Dark Claw and three Dark pokemon on the bench and you’re OHKOing Durants.

They can’t Catcher-stall you because you have Darkrai-EX, and if you stick to basic energy for Zoroarks their disruption will be to flippy to be effective.

So stick to basic energy and get a Darkrai in play, and basically you win.

CMT

Some people have questioned CMT’s playability post-Dark EXplorers. To those people, I say “Thank you for selling your Celebis at half price” (although these $7 Celebis might also have something to do with the lack of a Regionals win)

CMT’s basic strategy is to use Forest Breath to power up Mewtwos and Tornadi,.and use X Ball and Hurricane to do fast damage. You use Catcher to take cheap prizes, and try to win before your opponent is completely set up. You also try to win Mewtwo wars with, well, Mewtwo, and the goal is to start the war by killing your opponent’s support.

A typical CMT skeleton list looks like this:

Pokemon – 8 T/S/S – 34 Energy – 13
4 Celebi Prime 4 Professor Oak’s New Theory 4 Double Colorless Energy
2 Mewtwo EX 4 Professor Juniper 9 Grass Energy
2 Tornadus EPO/EX 3 N  
  2 Random Receiver  
  3 Pokemon Catcher  
  4 Junk Arm  
  4 Dual Ball  
  3 Switch  
  2 PlusPower  
  3 Skyarrow Bridge  

Total – 54

This leaves six spots open for techs, which is something CMT prospers in. Let’s check out the many techs that CMT players have to choose from.

Regigigas-EX

Regigigas-EX is great against Durant, first of all. Catcher-kill a couple ants early-game and do 80 to them and the rest of the game you’ll be doing 90. If they fully armour an ant you should be able to play a PlusPower or Catcher around it.

Regigigas is also a cool card for just any matchup in general, because it’s a tank that hits harder the more you hit it. It’s a pain to play against and your opponent might waste resources trying to Catcher around it.

Nothing OHKOs it in the format right now except for Fighting stuff and sometimes Mewtwo, and attach an Eviolite and it becomes a whole lot harder (assuming you play Eviolite).

Of course, the four retreat cost is terrible, but the deck plays a high Switch count so this shouldn’t be too much of a problem. If you don’t have the Switch, you can just go aggro and attack with it. Doing 80 on turn two isn’t too bad.

Regigigas is definitely a tech that you should try out, and it’s a tech that would be the first I’d put in if I were to play CMT. It may not work for you, however, so you always try everything.

Virizion NVI

Not Virizion EPO, but the NVI one. What place would that have in CMT?

Well, being able to do 80 on turn two is nice, but it’s nothing Tornadus can’t do on turn one. So why play Virizion?

Well, Virizion gives you a little extra draw support from Double Draw, and it also hits Terrakion for weakness. It’s not the best tech there is, but it’s definitely something worth trying out yourself.

Virizion EPO

Ahhhh, here it is. Good old Virizion EPO. It’s a more widely played tech in CMT. Why?

Sacred Sword hits for 100, which OHKOs Eelektriks and Zoroarks, as well as needing a PlusPower for Landori, Thunduri, and Tornadi.

However, this attack costs three Energies, meaning you need to have two Celebis out, as well as a Switch and two grass in hand. While this isn’t absolutely impossible, it’s still kind of hard. It’s not something that you’re going to pull off a donk with.

Another way to do it is to move the energy there from Hurricane. This is a better plan because it doesn’t involve having anything but a couple energies in hand, and a Skyarrow in play (which should already be there). If it gets Catcher-killed, you have a Tornadus on the field that you can attack with.

The effect shouldn’t be too big a deal as Virizion is likely to die the turn after Sacred Sword. Just make sure to have another attacker ready.

I feel like I’ve said this enough already, but it’s something I have to stress: Try everything out, and find out what works for you. It might be that you love Virizion and hate Regigigas, but it could be the opposite. I’d recommend trying to see what works.

Heatmor DEX

Ah, everyone’s favorite troll card, Heatmor. Heatmor is good as a one-of in CMT because if you play it and you don’t start Mewtwo and it’s not prized, you auto-win to Durant. Nuff said.

Terrakion NVI

Everyone’s favorite Zekeels counter, Terrakion NVI, splashes in kind-of well into CMT. Playing maybe three Fighting energy, as well as a Terrakion, can get you a KO on a Zekrom EX, or Zekrom BW, without starting the Mewtwo war. Against Zekeels, starting the Mewtwo war is generally a bad idea. It also OHKOs Darkrai-EX and in the mirror Regigigas-EX, so it’s a pretty nifty tech/revenge killer.

The downside to Terrakion is, of course, starting with it. Starting Terrakion can screw you over if you don’t have a Switch ready. If you run a high basic count, you probably won’t start with it too much, but it’s still something to look out for.

If your metagame has a lot of Zekeels and Dark decks, try Terrakion out, as Terrakion and four Catchers in a deck can get you two prizes for one prize that your opponent takes. It’s something that (you know this by now) may or may not work for you.

Eviolite

Eviolite is a card that supposedly helps you win Mewtwo wars because your opponent is forced to put 3 Energy on Mewtwo to KO you.

I, however, am not buying it. All it does is force your opponent to play one more PlusPower (they hit for 20 because of weakness), and we all know how many Junk Arms decks play.

Honestly, if a player has the resources to play one PlusPower, they should be able to play two. There may be a few situations where Eviolite forces one extra energy drop, but unless a Defender is played it’s not going to help.

This, however, is all theory, and you may find that an Evioited Mewtwo makes your opponent not engage in a Mewtwo war, or lose it. I, however, prefer Rocky Helmet for Mewtwo wars.

Prism Energy

Prism Energy is the last tech I am going to talk about.

Some may ask “If you aren’t playing a tech, then who can benefit from Prism Energy?”

Mewtwo can. X Ball may be a great attack, but it’s not the only one. Mewtwo with a Prism and Grass/Double Colorless may make your opponent think you’re playing a tech, but really you’re just waiting for the opportunity to attach another Prism and Psydrive them in the face.

Also, Prism Energy helps for using Time Circle (Celebi’s attack), as a Time Circle means that Zoroark can’t touch you next turn, as well as a few other attackers. It’s not the thing you’ll play Prism for, but it’s something that goes with Prism.

Prism is a cool surprise tech that’s worth trying out. It may not be the best use of space, but four Prisms could be the difference between being X-Balled by a Mewtwo and Catcher-Psydriving that Mewtwo. Try it out and see if it works for you.

More Consistency Cards

As always, the best use of this space might just be a 3rd Tornadus, a 4th Skyarrow, a third Random Receiver, etc. Some of the tech spots should be devoted to consistency, as 54 spots just may not be enough for you.

Matchups

Zekeels – 50/50

Zekeels is probably the most common matchup you will face, and it’s probably the most simple one you have. if you play Terrakion, your best bet is to use that a couple times during the game.

If not, you are probably best off taking out support with Tornadus + PlusPower. Killing Tynamos early and Eels late can be the key for winning games. The key to beating Zekeels is to use your Catchers wisely and take prizes that way.

Try not to engage in a Mewtwo war until you cut their support. Then, when they are almost out or out of Eels, proceed to using Mewtwo.

This is how you beat Zekeels.

Dark decks – 70/30

The key for this matchup is to treat Zoroarks like Eelektriks. Don’t forget resistance when using X-Ball, as the magic number for a Zoroark is 6, and not 5 like some forget.

Catcher Zoruas, and when the opportunity arises, kill a Darkrai for a couple prizes if you can.

Other than that, there’s not too much to say. Just don’t screw up, I guess, and there’s no real reason you should lose this.

Fighting decks – 70/30

Meta counters are generally good matchups for CMT because CMT isn’t 90% of the meta. But that doesn’t mean it’s an auto-win.

There aren’t any low-HP basics in FIghting decks, unless they play Donphan. If they do, capitalize on that by Catcher-killing Phanpys with Tornadus.

Generally, I think in this matchup your best bet is to stream Tornadi, and attach Eviolites to them if you play them. That is the key to beating Fighting decks, mainly.

Use Mewtwo if you must, as Mewtwo is the card that can get the big hits off against Fighting decks, but unlike Zekeels, I think you actually have a better chance denying prizes than taking them. And obviously avoid using Regigigas if you play it.

Durant – 60/40

If you can get the donk, go for it by all means, even if it thins your deck. You’re fast enough to make up for it, especially if you run a Super Rod.

If you can’t, get a Mewtwo with as many energy as possible, and just use X Ball. Try to stick to grass because of Lost Remover, but putting DCE on isn’t too bad for the short-term.

Just try to take six prizes before you get fully milled, and don’t forget effects when calculating damage.

Fighting Decks

My final deck to cover is Fighting, and all of its variants.

But first, let’s take a brief look into the history of Fighting decks.

Terrakion was first used as a popular tech in decks to counter EelZone and ZekEels at Cities, the ECC and States, but was never used as a deck by itself until Virginia States, where Curran Hill paired him with Exp. Share as a way of keeping it going.

After Curran Hill won States with it, people started testing the deck (some played Landorus NVI as well) and it became a Tier Two deck, but the problem was that now that it was out, it lost its surprise factor. Zekeels found a way to beat it, and it didn’t win anything else.

Now that Dark EXplorers is out people have looked to Groudon-EX as another possible play in Fighting, which I believe is a good one. While it may seem like a bad decision because it doesn’t hit for heavy damage for two energy, an active Groudon will take a few hits to kill, so if you hit all of your manual drops you should be fine.

The basic strategy of Quaddrakion, Landerrakion, TerraDon, LanderRon, TerraDonRus, or whatever mixture of Pokemon and their names you play the focus of the deck is to use these attackers to hit Zekroms and Zoroarks for weakness and win the prize race against them. You use Exp. Share to keep your attackers streaming as you have no source of energy acceleration in this deck.

Here is a skeleton Fighting deck list:

Pokemon – 5 T/S/S – 35 Energy – 14
5 Landorus/Terrakion/Groudon-EX 11 Draw Supporters 12 Fighting
  2 Random Receiver 2 Rescue
  4 Dual Ball/Heavy Ball  
  2 Revive  
  4 Exp. Share  
  2 Pokemon Catcher  
  4 Junk Arm  
  2 PlusPower  
  3 Switch  
     
     
     

Total – 54

Attackers

Groudon-EX

The big Fighting-type EX from Dark EXplorers is supposed to help Fighting decks a lot, and I can see why. It has the highest damage potential of any EX, and it can hit other stuff to get damage on them early game with Trample. It has 180 HP, which is the highest base HP in the format (but tied with 6 other EX’s and Wailord), which is pretty good although it has come to be expected.

It is a card that is at least a one-of in Fighting decks, definitely, and you should see which amount is right for you.

Landorus NVI

Landorus is a cool card for Fighting decks, because it can power itself up and get going on Turn Two, which is the fastest any of these Fighting card can get going right now, and it hits the opponent’s bench as well.

It has enough HP to survive a Bolt Strike with resistance (but a PlusPower takes care of that), and it can OHKO that same Zekrom afterwards, as well as spreading a bit.

Landorus is another card to test out, and mix and match into the deck.

Terrakion NVI

The original Fighting card, Terrakion is the coolest because it can do the same amount of damage for one energy less, assuming your opponent took a prize last turn (and didn’t use damage counters to do so). This means that you can power him up in one turn with exp. Share, attack, then attach another Fighting energy and keep romping and stomping.

Another mix and match thing to try out. Nuff said.

Terrakion EP

Terrakion EP is an interesting card to try out because it can hit for 10 more, enough to OHKO a Zekrom EX with Eviolite without a PlusPower, but needs 3 energy to do so, and needs a Switch to get out of the way next turn. This would probably be the main problem Terrakion EP would have.

Terrakion EP isn’t something I have tried out, but I’d assume he would work. Try him out for yourself, because if I did so it might not be good for your list or playstyle or tech or attacker selection or whatever.

Techs:

Donphan Prime

Donphan Prime is a card that can stand a couple hits against Zekroms, but unlike Groudon-EX, it only gives up one prize. It’s also nice because it does decent damage for one energy, and if it lasts long enough, can start hitting for a bunch.

The problem with Donphan is that it’s a Stage One, so it’s harder to get in play and the basic only has 70 HP. This means that it is Catcher bait for Mewtwo/Tornadus/whatever.

Donphan is still cool, however, and is definitely something worth trying.

Shaymin UL

Shaymin UL is good for when you have a bunch of energy spread across your field, but none on your attacker. Just use the power and move it there. Not too much to say other than that.

Defender

Defender is a card that Curran Hill ran in the original Fighting deck, and it might be what solved his Zekeels problem. With an Exp. Share reliant deck you don’t have the option of Eviolite, so Defender is the best thing you can get. It helps the Zekeels matchup a lot and is definitely a good option for any Fighting deck.

Energy Removal Cards

Since Fighting decks have plenty of space some of that can generally be filled up with disruption cards like Lost Remover and Crushing Hammer. They really help your early game because in your early game you won’t be able to attack because of your lack of energy acceleration, so denying the energy of your opponent helps your early game a lot. They are probably cards that you should be playing three of in your Fighting deck at minimum, but if you find you generally don’t need them then you can drop them.

Matchups

Zekeels – completely dependant on your attacker selection

If you go all-out Curran Hill and play 4 Terrakion, this might not be your best matchup because they can OHKO you with Bolt Strike and PlusPower, so if they win the prize race you lose. It would still be a good matchup for you, however.

However, a more Groudon-EX focused variant with Defenders would probably be a better matchup for you because you can take a hit or two, but then when you are knocked out you give up two prizes. It’s not 100% perfect, either, but still works.

The best thing for the Zekeels matchup is to play a wide variety of attackers, because it can let you adapt to what you think their pokemon counts are. It completely depends on their list and your list, and later game you can start to tell what their list is.

Dark.dec – 60/40

Their T2 Zoroark will be bad news for you, so your best bet is to prepare for that with Terrakion NV and return-KO it. Then, sweep their field as best as possible, keep Exp. Shares flowing, and kill Darkrais with Catcher if they pop up.

If you can’t kill their T2 Zoroark, they will have time to set up more Zoroarks and will be able to win the prize race. This is something you need to be aware of as a Dark.dec player also, as you will probably want to Catcher a benched Terrakion with Exp. Share if you see one.

CMT – 30/70

Be fast enough and careful with your energy and CMT will be decent for you, but otherwise the deck that isn’t a part of the Fighting-weak club will be kind of a tough matchup for you.

Tornadi streams are likely what you will see. Just be able to deal with an endless supply of Tornadi and it should be easy enough.

Durant – 75-25

Durant will have a tough time in this metagame even against Fighting decks. Keep the Lost Removers and PlusPowers going and you’ll be able to deal with even fully armoured ants. Keep one attacker on the field, preferably a Groudon-EX, and set another up on the bench to avoid being Rotom-Prismed.

Conclusion

That’s it for my Battle Roads preview (emphasis on preview, Pikkdogs), one that took forever to write and lots of research to do. Let me know if you have any questions about anything, or if you have any constructive criticism, as I am always open to it.

If you believe I may have missed a deck, there’s probably a reason I didn’t include it. For example, I could have included Durant, but I decided that there would be enough Heatmor and bad matchups to make Durant a bad play for Battle Roads, at least until the bad matchups clear out and Durant starts losing and Heatmors start to drop out of decks.

Pokemon.com says that Battle Roads start on May 19th, which is about a week and a half away, so you should definitely start preparing for them. Go with whatever you’re most comfortable with, as even if you think that the better players are playing deck A, so you should too, go with deck B because you’ve been playing deck B longer. This is advice you’ve probably heard a lot before, but it’s something that they seem to stress a lot, so I believe that i should too.

If you plan to go to any Battle Roads, you should definitely start testing, because the better your deck is, the better you’ll do. I plan to go to a bunch, so I’m going to be testing a lot up until then, even though it’s just Battle Roads. I personally want Victory Cups.

You should also get all the cards you need soon, because if you need card A for deck A, and you want to play deck A, but card A doesn’t ship in time, you’ll be forced to either go with deck B or not go. I made the same mistake back when I bought $20 worth of cards to play Durant, but they didn’t ship in time so I had to play Gothitelle.

Good luck at Battle Roads if you plan on going, and if you have any questions, again, feel free to comment below.

Category: Practice | Tags: , , , , , ,
  • Anonymous

    Like I said before, awesome article man.  Way too good for this crappy site. 

    What do you think about Houndoom Undaunted (not the Prime) for the dark deck.  For 1 Dark it does 80 damage to a fighting type?  The consensus is that a dark deck needs 4-4 Zoroark, 2 Darkari EXs,and 2-2 something else, but what is the best “something else”? 

    • the best “something else” is weavile (claw snag).

      • Anonymous

        seems too light on attacking.  Its good for disruption, but we’re not really trying to disrupt, are we?

        • Anonymous

          The disruption helps, though, and if you’re not mainly attacking with your Zoroarks and Darkrais it’s not too good for your game. Weaviles do do more damage, also, in the sense that they fill up the bench. And Sneasel has a pretty awesome attack, too.

    • Anonymous

      I would rather it do 2 for 130, because honestly 80 isn’t enough to OHKO any of the big fighting-types.

      The best something else in my testing has either been Honchkrow or Absol Prime.

  • really great article. one of the best articles i’ve seen. i really didn’t expect an article this in depth. great job!

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