What Should You Play For Regionals – A Metagame Analysis Article

by coolestman22 ~ January 12th, 2013.

Hey OneHitKO people, it’s been more than a month since this site had an article, so I figure I should get something out before Regionals. I’m sorry for not getting something out sooner, it completely slipped my mind. This article is mostly about what decks you should consider based on playstyle and what types of decks you have the most experience

Don’t be the one saying if only.


First of all, I want to start by saying that these are pretty much just things to try out, they are by no means official guidelines for you. I’m just throwing ideas out for you if you’re completely unsure of what to play, like I am.

I also want to do a little Cities recap and mention what I think the Tier system looks like right now. These are just my opinions, so you shouldn’t base any big decisions off these, I just wanted to give a bit of a guideline for you so that you have a guideline for your own opinions.


Blastoise/Keldeo. I think it’s pretty self-explanatory, actually, Blastoise is a deck that has both a good early game and a good late-game. Blastoise has the ability to go off on Turn Two and then keep going strong until you take your six prizes. Although for the past three Regionals the deck that I believed was the BDIF hasn’t won any (that being Gothitelle, CMT, and Hydreigon), I don’t think this will be the case for Blastoise as it has a lot more going for it than these decks and there should be a lot more people playing it as it isn’t as debatable as the last and it also isn’t as easily countered. The only big problem with the deck is that it’s hand reliant, so in the late game N is a threat to you, but people are playing Tropical Beach to semi-solve this problem. I feel like Blastoise is going to be the deck dominating Regionals.

Tier One

Landorus/Mewtwo/Tornadus. I am a bit skeptical on this deck as it doesn’t have much of a late-game, but everyone knows how good early-game pressure can be and the threat of donking is nice as well. It’s a solid play if it’s what you’re playstyle likes.

Darkrai/Hydreigon. It’s slow, but it makes up for that by fully healing Darkrais at no cost via Max Potion. I like the deck a lot because it’s got a nice feeling to it, because Darkrai is an amazing attacker and it’s even better when it can power up a supporting attacker this easily. The problem is that it has a bad matchup against anything with Landorus and the Deino you play is basically a statement of who you would rather get donked by.

RayEels. I really like this deck in this metagame because of all the focus around EX’s, however I hate how much you get donked when you play it. It takes advantage of the heavy EX reliance of the format. The Landorus matchup is good when you survive the donk, and it’s definitely a solid play for Regionals (Especially as it basically wins if it sets up and stays set up) if you’re willing to take a loss or two to a donk during the event.

Ho-oh. This is basically a version of Landorus/Mewtwo with a lategame instead of a whole lot of earlygame, and it also has easier access to Sigilyph. It’s also a lot of fun to play because of the colorfulness of the deck. It also has a better Blastoise matchup than people seem to think, because you play Sigilyph and you don’t especially rely on Ho-oh, you only need it in a couple situations. It also uses Terrakion better than any deck in the format right now because it can accelerate Fighting Energy. The problem with the deck is that because of the colorfulness, you don’t always have the exact Energy you need, but most Ho-oh variants I’ve seen only need two types (Fighting and Psychic) and those types are easily accessed via Rebirth.

Tier Two

Darkrai Variants including Darkrai/Fighting, Darkrai/Aspertia, and Darkrai/Mewtwo. Darkrai is still a strong play for Regionals regardless of how the meta develops, and I love using it as Energy acceleration for other attackers as well (Via Dark Patch/Energy Switch). The problem with Darkrai is that it doesn’t do too well against Landorus, but if you play the right supporting attackers this shouldn’t matter too much. They also aren’t great against Keldeo, but the matchup is winnable so long as you don’t play too many Landorus.

Klinklang – I really like Klinklang, but I haven’t tested it. I know that it is an interesting option and I really like the idea of a deck that hits for weakness everywhere, and I like how it has a nice little box of attackers that you can shift between at your disposal that do different things. I also really like the use of Max Potion with the deck because this format has a lot of cards that focus on 2HKOing, which is amazing for Klinklang. Of course, the less-than-ideal matchup against Hammertime and RayEels isn’t the best, so if you’re willing to take a couple autolosses Klinklang is a good play, and without these autolosses I have no doubt Klinklang would be a Tier One deck.

Hammertime – Hammertime probably has the most interesting concept of any deck in the format, and I really like the idea of Hammer spamming to lock the opponent out of Energy. Hammer Control single-handedly wins games, and being able to just sweep with Darkrai without the threat of being attacked back is amazing. This deck pretty much wins to a deck that doesn’t have energy acceleration, but it unfortunately has a bad matchup against Blastoise, probably the deck that will see the most play at Autumn Regionals. Still, Hammer Control is a really cool idea and Esa Juntunen is a genius to have come up with it.

Aspertia Eels – This is probably one of the most underrated decks right now. Bouffalant is one of the best attackers in the game right now in my opinion, and when you give it an Eviolite, an Aspertia, and a reliable engine like Eelektrik, it’s amazing against any EX in the game. Tornadus EX and Mewtwo EX are also great right now because of their sheer usefulness in the early game, and Aspertia is just amazing, and having access to Raikou is also great. The thing I like about Aspertia Eels the most, however, is that even though it uses an Eel engine, taking out the Eels won’t actually do much for you because you can manually power up all of your attackers in two turns, it just helps you in the early game. However, I’m not too convinced that there will be enough people who are playing this for it to succeed. I feel like if enough people played it it could easily be Tier One, but not enough people are convinced yet.


A big part of every metagame is matchups. You can’t play something if it doesn’t beat the popular decks, even if it is amazing against everything else (I learned this the hard way), so knowing matchups are a big part of deciding on a deck.

While I’ll be talking about matchups for the entire article, I wanted to have a section devoted to it just to give you a basic guideline of what beats the decks that you need to be able to beat.

The decks you should be looking to beat right now are Blastoise, Landorus/Mewtwo/Tornadus, and Darkrai variants. If you can beat those, that’s huge, if not, you might want to play a tech.

I really want to put a chart here, but we don’t have tables, so I’ll just write what I can here:

The decks I feel have the best matchups against those are Ho-oh, Blastoise with Pokemon Center, and anything with Bouffalant/Aspertia/Eviolite. As I’ve said before, Bouffalant is amazing because it 2HKOes every EX we have and gets 2HKOed back by a good amount of them if you have the Aspertia/Eviolite. This is a favorable prize exchange for you because Bouffalant isn’t an EX. However, it’s too situational to be that good.

So yeah, if you’re playing Bouffalant or Keldeo you should be alright. I’m sorry I can’t say more, I really wanted to do a table, but that isn’t supported on this program.

So What Exactly Should I Play?

Well, that depends on the kind of deck you want to play. As I’ve said before, playstyle is key in choosing your deck. This serves as a guide to decks for what you want to play.

If you want to play a defensive deck, your best bet is probably Klinklang. I like Hydreigon, but it falls too much to Landorus and it just doesn’t have the same feel to it. Hydreigon isn’t a terrible call, and if you’d rather play Hydreigon go ahead, but I honestly am a bigger advocate of Klinklang now not only because of the not-autoloss to Landorus but also because of the toolboxy feeling to the deck, but if Hammertime is more prominent in your area I would say go with Hydreigon.

If you want to play a fast, aggressive deck that focuses on denying setup and attacking early, my recommendation to you is Ho-oh. Ho-oh is great because it applies early-game pressure and also has a late-game, unlike Landorus/Tornadus/Mewtwo which is all early-game and no late-game. It’s also great for Mewtwo wars, not only because Mewtwo is one of your main attackers, or that you play PlusPower, or you can take an early-game lead and then start one that will end up in your favor, but because you can actually pull off a Psydrive against a Mewtwo with no Energy attached. Ho-oh also has access to Terrakion, Sigilyph, and Bouffalant for the whole 7-prize thing, and you can tech pretty much anything into your list.

If you want to play a deck that aims for an early attack but then keeps going until the game is over, your best bet is probably Blastoise. With all due respect to Darkrai, the T1 Night Spear just isn’t common enough to justify playing Darkrai over Blastoise. Unless you’re really worried about N or you’ve been testing Darkrai longer, I would definitely rather play Blastoise. The T2 Secret Sword is just about as common as the T2 Night Spear, and Blastoise is a lot better in the late game seeing as you have the option of powering up a Keldeo to OHKO everything. Not to mention that a lot of people are teching Terrakion, which is amazing against Darkrai and insanely mediocre against Keldeo.

If you want to play a deck that focuses on limiting your opponent’s options, play Hammertime. With all due respect to Garbodor, Garbodor is just too inconsistent to work right in this metagame. Hammer Control is amazing, and unless you play against Blastoise all day long you should have alright matchups. Theoretically you could play Hammertime with Garbodor, but that’s probably too inconsistent unless you build it exactly right. And plus, limiting attacks is much better than limiting Abilities.

If you want to play a deck that focuses on killing whatever your opponent throws at you, you actually have a really interesting decision to make. Your two options are either RayEels or a Blastoise variant that focuses on loading up a Keldeo to kill everything instead of speed. Honestly this decision is based on how much you want to get donked. If you are fine with being donked once or twice, RayEels is much better when set up than Blastoise, even a variant that focuses on dishing out large amounts with Keldeo. However, if you want to play it safe, a Blastoise variant like that is almost as good, just a bit more hand-reliant.

If you have no idea what such Blastoise variant would look like, all I can say is that it plays 1-2 Cilan, 4 Energy Retrieval, and 15 Energy (I’ve even seen a version that plays 1-1 Musharna NXD) instead of techs like Super Scoop Up, Mini-Keldeo, or Eviolite. Honestly I was skeptical when I heard about this, but it works. I have no idea how it works or if it actually works or if the people I saw playing it were just lucksacking, so try it for yourself.

Overall I would say that the best possible play for Regionals in any age division is probably Blastoise/Keldeo with 1 Pokemon Center. Without Pokemon Center the matchup against Darkrai/Hydreigon is iffy, but with it it becomes 65/35 in your favor because they can no longer OHKO you with Hydreigon after hitting you with Night Spear bench damage. If you can access 3 Keldeo and 1 Beach, Blastoise is a great play because it is arguably the best Energy acceleration in the format and it is fast but can still maintain itself later on.

Here is a sample Blastoise list for those of you who have nothing to go off:

4-1-3 Blastoise
3 Keldeo EX

4 Pokemon Catcher
4 Rare Candy
3 Ultra Ball
3 Energy Retrieval
1 Level/Heavy Ball
1 Super Rod
1 Computer Search

4 Professor Juniper
4 Bianca
3 Skyla
2 N

1 Tropical Beach

13 Water Energy

Total – 55

This list gives a bit of room for techs, which include Mewtwo EX, Keldeo BCR 47, Super Scoop Up, Pokemon Center, and I’ve even experimented with Kyogre EX for a bit. You could also opt for more consistency, as a T2 Blastoise is always important and great when you can get it.

To play the hard-hitting variant, add a Cilan, Energy Retrieval, and 2 Water Energy and you should have yourself a variant that focuses on killing things in one hit.

Another good play is Ho-oh because it has no real autolosses and a favorable Blastoise matchup if you know how to play it. Speed is huge in this format because you can take out your opponent’s strategy completely if you have a good enough early-game, and Ho-oh is a great deck to play to get that speed.

Again, if you’ve never played Ho-oh, I can give you an example list to get you started, because Ho-oh is one of those decks that everyone should get to play.

3 Ho-oh EX
3 Mewtwo EX
2 Tornadus EX
2 Terrakion NVI
1 Sigilyph DRX

4 Ultra Ball
4 Pokemon Catcher
4 Energy Switch
3 PlusPower
3 Random Reciever
3 Switch
1 Computer Search

4 Professor Juniper
4 N
2 Bianca

1 Skyarrow Bridge

4 Double Colorless
3 Fighting
2 Psychic
1 Lightning
1 Water
1 Fire (Got that Elemental Blast)

Total – 56

Some possible techs include Landorus EX, Bouffalant DRX, Shaymin EX, and Registeel EX.

I think I’ve already explained this, but the reason I like Ho-oh in this metagame so much is because it has a good early game and a good late game. It’s amazing how many things this deck can do, and I like how playing a Water-weak EX hasn’t held it back. I don’t think this deck would be as popular if it weren’t for Pooka, but I’m glad that he has popularized this deck for us because I believe that it truly has the potential to be the BDIF. I bet it would be like Aspertia Eels if it weren’t for him: Good, but underrated.

I guess with Ho-oh you sometimes have to deal with poor flips, but this was never a problem for Pooka. You shouldn’t rely too much on Rebirth, and by the time you might need to you should have 2-3 Ho-oh already in the discard pile. It’s still a risk, but it’s probably a risk worth taking as Ho-oh is just amazing when it runs right, and it almost always runs right.

And finally, I’d like to touch on the deck I feel is the most underrated of any deck right now: Aspertia Eels. As you could probably guess from the deck’s name, it revolves around using Eelektrik to power up Colorless attackers, which you give an HP boost with Aspertia City Gym.

Here is a basic skeleton list to get you started, although to be honest I have no idea what a list should look like:

4-3 Eelektrik NVI

White Eel.

3 Bouffalant DRX
2 Tornadus EX
1 Mewtwo EX
1 Raikou EX
1 Emolga DRX

4 Pokemon Catcher
4 Ultra Ball
3 Switch
3 Eviolite
3 Random Reciever
1 Super Rod
1 Computer Search

4 Juniper
4 N
3 Bianca

2 Aspertia City Gym

7 Lightning Energy
4 Double Colorless

Total – 58

As you can see, the list is a bit tight, but there’s a little wiggle room for techs. These include Zekrom BW, Regigigas EX, or my personal favorite, Zapdos NXD.

Let me advocate for Zapdos a bit: Let’s say you get a Random Spark on Turn Two. That 50 can set a Keldeo EX up for an OHKO from Bouffalant, or it can knock out a Tynamo your opponent has, or you can hit a Deino for 50 to then have Raikou come in and knock it out later. It’s completely untested, but I feel like Zapdos should get a bit of credit because it’s an interesting option for the deck.

So there you have it: The (In my opinion) most underrated deck in the format. I can see why people wouldn’t want to play it, but that’s a great deck and it’s definitely a great option if you want to play something good that people probably haven’t tested against. I love Bouffalant in this format, especially with Aspertia and Eviolite, and I want to see him used more often because he is amazing. I could even see an Aspertia Blastoise deck working (Although to be honest Eels are a much better engine). Tornadus EX is also amazing for early game pressure against decks like Blastoise, Hydreigon, and Klinklang that need to set Stage Twos up to win.

So that’s it! If you have any questions about the article or the decklists or comments about the metagame then feel free to let me know, we have a wonderful comment section below. I respond to everything, so go ahead and post. Good luck at Regionals if you’re going, and if I helped you choose a deck with this article that’s great, because this article was mostly for people who are unsure of what to play. I should have a Regionals report up if I do alright either here or on the SixPrizes forums, so check for that, and I should have something about Plasma out after Regionals. I bid you farewell until I decide to write again!

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