EelZone: The Thunderrated Nats Deck

by coolestman22 ~ June 18th, 2012.

I think I’ve lost my spot in Tier One.

Hey, it’s me, coolestman22 again. I’m trying to get a couple deck analysis articles in before Nats, so those of you who are going can see more options than just Darkrai/Tornadus and Zekeels.

As you guessed from the title, the deck I’m going to be reviewing is EelZone, a deck that I feel is extremely underrated.

EelZone’s history is that it was the BDIF during Cities. It had the most wins of any deck, and had good matchups against everything not Donphan.

EelZone was hyped to be good against EX’s. If you Lost Burned 4 energy you drew 2 prizes, so if you did that three times, you would win only using  Magnezone instead of having to attack with other Pokemon.

The problem is that Magnezone is a Stage Two, and it’s hard to set up. Mewtwo EX will wipe Magnemites off the board before Magnezone can get set up, nullifying the whole “really good against EX Pokemon” thing.

What people forget is that despite the bad States and Regionals showings, EelZone took five Top 32 spots at the ECC (even more than CMT), and had one Top 4. It wasn’t Zekeels or CMT at States or Regionals, however, and it fell out of contention.

I looked at this and said to myself “Why isn’t EelZone winning? It’s a really good deck with only one big problem, it has internal draw, and it’s good against EX’s. It doesn’t need to get into Mewtwo wars to beat CMT and Mewtwo decks and it should have decent matchups”.

During Battle Roads I tested EelZone a bit, and while I never ended up playing it, I loaned it out to a Junior at league, who got second place of 5 going 2-1, losing to VVV because he ran out of energy. I feel these mistakes could have been avoided if he had used Thundurus more instead of going Lost Burn happy. He still did pretty well, though, and even though it was Juniors I still feel this proves EelZone is a decent deck.

Here is the list I’ve tested with:
Pokemon – 19
3 Magnezone Prime TM
1 Magneton TM
4 Magnemite TM
3 Eelektrik NVI
3 Tynamo NVI 38
1 Tynamo NVI 39
2 Thundurus EPO
1 Tornadus-EX DEX
1 Cleffa HS

T/S/S – 28


4 Pokemon Collector
2 Sage’s Training
2 Professor Juniper
2 Professor Oak’s New Theory
1 Judge
1 N
4 Rare Candy
4 Junk Arm
3 Ultra Ball
2 Switch
2 Pokemon Catcher
1 Super Rod

Energy – 13


10 Lightning Energy
3 Rescue Energy

This is a pretty standard list. you’ve got your search, some tech attackers for drawing non-Lost burn prizes, and a Terrakion counter. 13 energy is generally enough, sometimes I end up needing more, however, but no matter what your count is that’s generally the case.

I only need 8 draw Supporters because of “Magnetic Draw.” With built-in draw, there’s no need to play too many Supporters, but you do need them for before you set up Magnezones, and sometimes it’s good to have extra draw even with the Magnezones.

Card Explanations:

Magnezone Prime

Magnezone Prime is your main attacker and draw support. You want to get a Magnezone out as early in the game as you possibly can so you can draw with it, even if you’re attacking with something else.

Magnezone’s attack, “Lost Burn”, is a highly underrated attack. For two energy plus extras, you can OHKO any Pokemon unless it has 2750 HP, something that we probably won’t see for another decade.

Magnezone is great against EX’s because instead of Lost Burning 3 a prize, you can Lost Burn 4 for 2 prizes, or 2 for a prize. Against Shaymin-EX or a lightning-weak EX this becomes even better for you, you get a prize for 1 ½ against Shaymin and you get a prize for 1 against a Lightning-weak EX.

Magnemite and Magneton

The Magnemite and Magnetons are there to evolve into Magnezones. The Triumphant version is the only version currently available.

Eelektrik NVI

Eelektrik is what you use to get energy on the field to Lost Burn away. To do this, you need Lightning energy in the discard pile.

Tynamo NVI 38

Tynamo NVI 38 is arguably the best of all the  Tynamos. It is better than both Tynamo DEX because it has the ability to paralyze, something that can win you games.

The 40 HP is something that gives it a benefit over Tynamo NVI 39, because it can survive the snipe part of Darkrai EX’s Night Spear. Since Darkrai is one of the most popular Pokemon right now, playing all or most Tynamo 38 has become standard in Zekeels and is something that can be carried over to EelZone.

Tynamo NVI 39

Tynamo NVI 39 is useful because it has free retreat, something that gives it an advantage over Tynamo 38. The 30 HP is a problem, however, so it’s better to play mostly Tynamo 38. But having a free retreater in play is good in Eel decks because you can move it up, Dynamotor to your attacker, and then retreat for your attacker and attack.

There has been a long discussion over which Tynamo split is the best, but I like 3/1, so you have a decent Darkrai matchup but have that free retreater against other decks. If you play Skyarrow Bridge, however, I believe the best play is 4 Tynamo 38 because with a Skyarrow in play, it has 40 HP, and free retreat, as well as the ability to paralyze.

Thundurus EPO

Thundurus EPO serves two purposes in EelZone.

The first is to have an attacker that can almost always attack on turn two. Being able to put early pressure on in a Stage Two deck is great because you can hit for a bit early on and pick up a few prizes, and then draw the rest of your prizes faster with your slow but strong attackers.

The second purpose of Thundurus is to put energy in your discard pile. You may think this only happens when Thundurus uses “Disaster Volt”, but actually when thundurus gets knocked out that’s 2 more Lightning Energy you have to Dynamotor later in the game when Magnezone is rolling.

I run 2 Thundurus because I like getting a T1 Charge off so I can “Disaster Volt” on turn two. It seems like a bit too much, but I started with 3 Thundurus just because I want to start with it. It’s also the best attacker in the deck that doesn’t put energy in the Lost Zone.

Tornadus-EX

Tornadus-EX is your Fighting counter. In my games against Darkrai/Terrakion I found that I always attack with it at least once. It takes 3 hits for Terrakion to KO it without Night Spear damage or 3 PlusPower, so it’s decent for that matchup.

It’s also a decent attacker that sometimes puts energy in your discard pile. Doing 100 may not be great, but it’s not too shabby and it can 2HKO anything in the format without Eviolite or Defender, or something drastic like Conkeldurr NVI or Nidoking TM.

It can be swapped out for another compatible EX or basic attacker pretty easily, such as Raikou, Zekrom, or Regigigas, but as of right now I like Tornadus the best.

Cleffa HS

Cleffa is your fallback plan in case you don’t have any draw support. It’s mostly for emergencies, but if you start with it it gives you an extra Supporter as well.

With 30 HP, it’s pretty easily donked or Night Speared, but if you’re smart about when to play it that shouldn’t matter.

Professor Juniper/Professor Oak’s New Theory

The Professors are here to refresh your hand. It’s just as simple as that. If you have a bad hand or you’ve just played everything already, you play one of these and you get a new, hopefully better hand. Until you get a Magnezone set up,

Supporters.

you’ll have these for your draw support, so you play them until you get your Magnezone pieces and Eels.Sage’s Training

Sage’s Training has two purposes in EelZone.

The first is that it discards your energy, which the deck really needs. You run out of energy in the discard pile if you’re not attacking with Thundurus, so having other ways to discard is a good thing.

The second is to offer a form of draw support, other than Magnezone, that lets you keep what you have in your hand. Say you have a Rare Candy in your hand, but no Magnezones in play or in your hand. You can play a Sage’s Training, discard energy, get a Magnezone, keep your Rare Candy in hand without shuffling it away or discarding it, and Candy to Magnezone.

Judge/N

In this deck, you can use Judge and N to your heart’s content without regret because of Magnetic Draw. They disrupt your opponent, and their drawback is that they’re supposed to disrupt you, too. But with magnezone, you can play one, play cards out from your hand, then Magnetic draw for your free refill. I would play more, but the deck is tight on space.

Pokemon Collector

While some decks have switched to Dual Ball, you need to get as many basics as you can out on T1 with EelZone. To do this, you pretty much need to have Collector in the deck. It isn’t as fast as Dual Ball, but the goal of EelZone is to be hard hitting, and not fast. Pokemon Collector is the right Supporter to accomplish that goal, especially with all of the low HP evolving basics in the deck.

Rare Candy

Rare Candy is a great card to have in format because it allows Stage Two’s some hope, regardless of how slim. It allows for a T2 Magnezone in this deck, which is great for getting your draw and attacks out ASAP.

Rare Candy is a no-brainer for any Stage Two deck, regardless of the goal of that deck. Even the Stage Two decks with Vileplume need to get Vileplume out.

Junk Arm

Junk Arm is another one of those cards that serves multiple purposes in your deck. It’s good because it can discard your energy and it also allows you to reuse Items you’ve previously played or discarded, allowing you to lower your count of key cards such as Pokemon Catcher, Rare Candy (even though it’s at 4), Switch and Super Rod. 4 Junk Arms save up a lot of deck space and it’s something every non-Vileplume deck needs. An added bonus is it unclogs your hand for Magnetic Draw.

Ultra Ball

Ultra Ball is a card that serves THREE purposes.

Ultra Ball discards Lightning Energy from your hand, meaning you can Dynamotor it later. the more cards in your deck that can do this, the better.

Ultra Ball allows you to search for your Magnezones and Eelektriks, helping you set up as fast as you can. It’s great to have Pokemon search in any deck, Zekeels, CMT, mono-Fighting and Darkrai all do.

It also, as I mentioned with Junk Arm, unclogs your hand for Magnetic Draw so you have a higher chance of getting what you want. This is great to have because, say you really need a Pokemon catcher, but you don’t have any Supporters and you have a clogged hand. You can use Ultra Ball to discard useless things, and then draw some cards with Magnezone.

Switch

Switch is mainly there for when someone Catchers up your Eelektrik or Magnezone with no energy in an attempt to stall. You simply Dynamotor to your next attacker, and then Switch into your attacker. It’s way better to have Switch than not to, and I wouldn’t dream of cutting any.

However, running more than 2 Switch isn’t a good idea because it clogs up your hand and takes up deck space.

Pokemon Catcher

Pokemon Catcher is amazing.

No, seriously. Catcher allows you to take out your opponent’s support Pokemon, it lets you pick something previously damaged off, you can stall by Catchering up something with a high retreat cost, it lets you hit your opponent’s low HP Pokemon, it lets you hit an EX rather than a regular Pokemon, it lets you Lost Burn less for a prize, and it lets you take prizes with thundurus instead of Magnezone.

Catcher at 2 is enough in EelZone because the deck is designed to hit the active instead of the bench, and, of course, there’s Junk Arm.

Super Rod

Super Rod is a great 1-of in decks because with Professor Juniper, Junk Arm, Sage’s Training, and Ultra Ball, you’re going to be discarding stuff you might need later in the game. Having Super Rod allows you to get that stuff back instead of letting it go forever. Even if you discard Super Rod early, you can still Junk Arm for it later, and some might argue that it’s better to discard Super Rod early so that you have a higher chance of being able to play it, as you play more Junk Arm than Super Rod.

Lightning Energy

All of your attackers use Lightning, and it can be Dynamotored. Nuff said.

The count is at 10 because that’s what I’ve found to be enough so that you can always get access to it and it’s more likely you’ll hit it with Sage’s Training.

Rescue Energy

Rescue Energy is good because when your Magnezone is knocked out, you can just pick it back up. Lost Burn also uses one Colorless energy, so Rescue can provide that.

3 is a good count because it’s energy, and you’re going to be Lost Burning it away, so you want a decent number of them.

Matchups

Zekeels – 35/65

Zekeels is probably one of the worst matchups for EelZone, just because everything in Zekeels is a pretty good attacker against Magnezone. Zekrom EX can one-shot Magnezone, and Zekrom with 2 PlusPower or Rocky Helmet can too. Raikou can pick off your Eels and Thundurus applies early pressure to Magnemites. The only bad attacker in this matchup is Tornadus-EX.

Your best bet is to use Thundurus a lot early on, and apply early pressure. Don’t drop Tornadus EX obviously,  use Magnezone late game to finish, and as draw support, but don’t go straight for Magnezone once you get it out. Catcher some Tynamos and Eels (and Smeargles if you see them).

Be wise with your energy, and if you tech Terrakion you should use it if you get it.

CMT – 70/30

CMT is pretty much the exact opposite of Zekeels. All of their attackers are bad, and are 2 a prize. Thundurus is also pretty good, but you could probably draw 5 prizes with Magnezone and not regret it against CMT. Be wise of your deck, and keep count of it. Try to bench as many Tynamos and Magnemites as you possibly can. If you know you’re playing against CMT, prepare for a possible donk.

Darkrai Variants – 65/35

Darkrai variants are generally easy matchups for you, even ones with Terrakion techs. Get 2-3 Eels set up, beware of Night Spear, and get OHKOes on Darkrais and whatever attackers they throw at you. Again, be mindful of your deck count, and keep an N or Judge handy for when you run low on cards.

If they play Terrakion, just ignore them, focus on the active. This may not seem like a good strategy, but keep in mind that you OHKO Terrakions as well, so unless they can stream Terrakions at you you should be fine, and even if they do, you have Tornadus EX for that.

Fighting Variants – 40/60

Fighting Variants will be able to OHKO Magnezones, but unless they play Eviolite their Groudons are easy 2 prizes, and you play Tornadus EX too. Lost Burn when it’s appropriate, use Tornadus when you can, Super Rod Tornadus back, and keep bashing them or slowing them down with Tornadus.

If you do that you might eventually be able to pull it off, but they can hit you for weakness, remember that. You need to keep 2 Magnezones in play so you can always have one ready in case you opt to Lost Burn. If Fighting is heavy in your metagame, you can always up the Tornadus count.

Durant – 70/30

Durant can’t play defense.

At first Durant will seem like a bad matchup, but then you remember that you play Tornadus EX. Just load one of those up, and remember that Rotom doesn’t hit for weakness. Limit your bench, conserve your deck, and you should be able to Power Blast your way to victory.

Techs

EelZone has a pretty tight skeleton list, so you’re going to have a hard time finding room for techs, but there are some cards you could play in EelZone to do whatever.

Pachirisu CoL

Pachirisu is a card that I’ve tested and can’t seem to get right. I don’t seem to have an opportunity to ever use it because I don’t get 2 energy in my hand often. But you should try it out to see if it works for you, because people have different lists, sleeves, playstyles, etc.

Zekrom BW

Zekrom BW is another option for EelZone, as it hits for 120 which can be a good thing. Having an attacker that doesn’t Lost Zone your energy, but hits that hard and can get OHKOes without it, that’s a good thing to have. It was in my original list but i found that I didn’t use it very much, so I cut it.

Stunfisk NVI

Yes, Groundfisk, that card that really isn’t that good, but it’s still a tech option for any Lightning deck. If you think Groundfisk is better than Magnezone against Fighting-weak Pokemon, go ahead, play him. But it really isn’t a great choice.

Terrakion NVI

Terrakion is the Fighting Pokemon you’re going to want to play if you want a tech, it takes up more space, but it definitely does the job well.

To play Terrakion, you need to play Terrakion itself, and 2 Fighting energy at least, and you’ll only use it one in five games. You’ll face Fighting weakness every other game, yes, but you won’t always have all the Terrakion pieces in those games. And since EelZone is so tight, you’re probably better off just playing more consistency.

Why Mewtwo is bad for EelZone

Mewtwo is a bad option for EelZone because Mewtwo is just another way to OHKO Mewtwo. You already do that with Magnezone, you don’t need to play a tech to do that. That would be like teching a Terrakion NVI into Donphan to help the Zekeels matchup. It doesn’t need to be done.

If for some reason Magnezone couldn’t attack Mewtwo, then it would be a different story, but you don’t need to tech something into your deck to counter something that you don’t need to counter. Especially if it will just give up 2 prizes again, and you’ll have to do it again, and you’ll end up using Magnezone anyway.

You could make the argument that Mewtwo doesn’t Lost Zone energy to do its job. But I think that if you’re facing a deck with Mewtwo in it, and the Mewtwo is attacking and you didn’t use your own Mewtwo first, you can just Lost Burn the Mewtwos and win that way. You don’t need to do anything fancy, just stick with your main attacker.

Conclusion

That’s it for my article on EelZone. I should have another deck analysis coming out soon, before Nats, so come back for that. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave a reply below, all discussion and criticism is welcome. Thanks for reading, and make sure to come back in a few days for my next article.

Category: Deck Discussion, National Championships, Stupid Deck Idea | Tags: , , ,
  • Ed

    I would think N would be better than PONT in this deck, and I always think everything is better than Sage’s training.  I haven’t tested it, myself, though.

    I’d think the Juniper, Ultra Ball, and Junk Arm would give enough discard.  Max the N and Juniper.

    • Theo Seeds

      I explained why I preferred Sage’s in the article, if you have the Rare Candy but no Magnezones, or Magnezones but no Rare Candy, Sage’s is nice. Also in EelZone you don’t discard energy when you attack, you Lost Zone it, so all the discarding you can get is nice.

      N would be better if it didn’t give your opponent a fresh six at the beginning of the game. You never want to give your opponent a free PONT or Research.

      Edit: whoops, logged in with wrong account.