Hey OneHitKO, it’s been awhile since I did a deck analysis article, so I decided to write up an article about a deck that I feel is amazing in this format, which is Landorus/Lugia. This article is mostly just me overhyping the deck, but I have tested it and it is amazing. The article may just lead you to believe it is more amazing than it actually is.
Before you start wondering if this is just another big basic deck, well, it pretty much is. However, it has a much different
strategy than many big basics do. With this deck, instead of just attacking with whatever you draw into, your goal is to use Landorus EX’s Hammerhead the first few turns to put 60 damage on two of your opponent’s EX’s. Then, use Lugia to kill both of them for three prizes a piece, and win when you kill both of them.
Now, there’s plenty of things that can go wrong with this plan. Eviolite, Aspertia City Gym, and your opponent not dropping an EX in the first place can mess with your strategy. However, winning by Turn Four is not always necessary, even if it is possible. Your gameplan should just to be to achieve this strategy as fast as you can, and hopefully you can knock out two EX’s before they knock out three.
The thing about other speed decks is that when the setup deck catches up to them, they tend to be forced to rely on how far ahead they were in that current gamestate. However, now there’s a speed deck that can win before the setup deck does set up. Instead of focusing on taking out the engine or the pre-evolutions of the engine of the setup deck, you can instead focus on just winning the standard way before your opponent can take advantage of being fully set up. In some matchups you will want to try to deny your opponent setting up, but in most cases you fare well enough to just take enough of an early lead to the point where your opponent can’t use their main attackers they need to use to knock out your attackers in one hit because Lugia would just come in and take three prizes off them.
The deck is nowhere near as broken as it is in theory, but it’s still amazing, and there’s a great chance that I’m going to be playing it for a States.
A basic skeleton for the deck looks like this:
4 Landorus EX
2 Lugia EX
4 Pokemon Catcher
4 Colress Machine
3 Switch/Escape Rope mix (I prefer 2 Switch, 1 Escape Rope, because early game Escape Rope is really helpful for hitting for weakness with Landorus as well as getting the Lugia you started with out of the way)
2 Ultra Ball
2 Hypnotoxic Laser
1 Tool Scrapper
1 Ace Spec (Anything but the Tools are good in here).
9 Different Supporters (Ideally 3-4 N, 3-4 Juniper, 1-2 Bianca, 0-1 Skyla, 0-1 Colress) If you play Scramble Switch or Gold Potion you should play one more Supporter)
2 Counter Stadiums (Virbank, Frigate, Aspertia, Battle City, and Skyarrow Bridge are all good)
Total – 57
This gives you a little bit of wiggle room, and you could easily make more if you felt it was necessary. Ideally I would put one more Supporter out in as well as an additional Tool Scrapper and Switch, but you could do whatever with your build.
The four Landorus is to make your odds of starting with it as high as you can. If you get a T1 Hammerhead it will help
you out so much, and starting with it makes it so much easier to do so. Landorus is going to be your attacker for the earlier part of the game, and generally you will use it more than you use Lugia (Because the idea with Lugia is to attack with it twice, Landorus is more there to set up for Lugia), and you don’t necessarily know how long that will take), so having four is more necessary.
In testing I started out with three Lugia, but I’ve found that over the course of the game you almost never attack with more than one. The second is there in case one is prized, because you generally only take one prize with Landorus. Any more is bad for the deck because it detracts from your chances of starting with Landorus and becomes a dead draw once you have one Lugia in play.
Catcher is pretty self-explanatory, it’s a staple in everything. In here, it has slightly different functions, however. Either you can use it to hit around Resistance or hit for Weakness with Landorus, or chase the benched EX’s with damage on them that set up for a Lugia kill. 4 is necessary in this deck because frequently you find yourself needing three to four over the course of the six or seven turns the game should last if you’re playing a favorable matchup. This is one of those decks that is made so much better by Catcher instead of just being able to use it.
Bicycle is good in any deck that aims to attack on Turn One. It’s also amazing because late game you often find yourself needing a specific resource or two, and Bicycle helps you chase it down by giving you more than one draw card to use during your turn. I play four because it’s just so good in this deck.
In theory you could get away with three Colress Machine, but I like four for consistency purposes. Ideally you want to have your Lugia powered up by Turn Three or Four, which usually means you need to hit at least one Colress Machine to do so. Playing four maximizes your odds of doing so. According to the rules team from PokeGym, you can play a Colress Machine even if four Plasma Energy are in visible areas of play (i.e. Field, Discard, Town Mapped Prizes), so there’s no harm in them being dead draws late game.
I like PlusPower in the deck just because a lot of the time Landorus won’t do quite enough damage (Some instances an Eviolite or Aspertia City Gym might appear, and there are times a Hypnotoxic Laser is used to put 10 + 30 on a newly played EX), so PlusPower is just there to make sure Lugia can get kills. It’s a valuable resource to have and it should be considered as a four-of if you can find the space without cutting consistency.
Switch is there for three scenarios. First, if you start with Lugia you need to be able to get a T1 Hammerhead without using 2 Colress Machine and discarding two Plasma Energy. Switch is mainly there for T1 scenarios where you need to get a Landorus active.
It’s also useful when you’re done with the Landorus phase and need to start attacking with Lugia. It helps a lot if you can get the Switch instead of having to manually attach a Double Colorless to Landorus and manually retreat him (Although if you are forced to do this it isn’t terrible, you just have to manually attach a Fighting to him if you want to Hammerhead again). This also applies to when you’re attacking with Lugia and then need to attack with Landorus again for whatever reason.
Finally, it’s your best defense against Catcher stalling. Frequently your opponent will be forced to Catcher-stall you to
buy time to set up whatever they need to set up, so having the clutch Switch when you need it is huge. For this reason I would advocate running at least four Switching cards.
I want to talk about the usefulness of Escape Rope in this deck for a bit as well. Escape Rope is great on Turn One to force your opponent to start with their less desirable starter as well as hit for Weakness or get around Resistance without having to use a Catcher. I honestly like a 3/2 Switch/Escape Rope split the best so you have a decent chance of drawing an Escape Rope when you need it while still prioritizing Switch, but some variants may have space concerns that don’t allow that split.
I only play two Ultra Ball because that’s all that I’ve found necessary in testing. I’ve considered going up to four, but I’ve also considered going down to zero. Ultra Ball is mainly there to thin out your hand for Bike and Bianca, but it’s also good for grabbing a Landorus on Turn One and getting a Lugia to Colress Machine to as soon as possible. It’s one of those cards that you don’t need every game, but you’re glad you have it when you do, and two is the perfect number for one of those cards.
Eviolite is there simply to make Lugia harder to kill. If you lose your Lugia and all of the Plasma Energy it’s usually going to be really hard to get a new Lugia swinging. Eviolite is there to keep it alive for the extra turn you need to win. Two is a good number for it because it allows you to get one when you need one or before while still not filling the deck up too much with dead draws late game.
Hypnotoxic Laser is mostly there for the early game Landorus phase when you’re trying to get damage on EX’s. Hypnotoxic can allow you to get 10 or 20 more which sometimes puts it in Lugia kill range. I was a bit skeptical on it at first but it has proven itself to be amazing in testing.
In my personal build I actually play two Tool Scrapper, as Eviolite really messes this deck up. However, in most scenarios with this deck one Scrapper is enough. You basically need to ensure that you can Tool Scrap Eviolites when it’s absolutely necessary or before, and playing two helps this a lot. I would advise playing two, but if you can only fit one that’s fine. two is also helpful because Garbodor has been on the rise since the end of Regionals.
The Ace spec slot is mostly personal preference. Dowsing Machine can get you a 5th Catcher or 4th PlusPower and provides another out to a Supporter. Scramble Switch is good for powering Lugia up quicker. Gold Potion helps keep Lugia alive for an extra turn, and Computer Search helps with the early game. I would advise testing all four and choosing the one that suits your playstyle or personal preferences the best.
Supporters are necessary in any deck as they provide you with a mediocre but acceptable draw engine. 9 is a good number in a deck with 4 Bikes and an Ace Spec that nets you a Supporter, but if you opt for Scramble Switch or Gold Potion you’d be better off playing a tenth.
Professor Juniper is the best draw Supporter in here because it nets you the most cards, and in a deck like this you want to be going through your deck pretty quickly to get everything you need when you need it. I would advise playing four Juniper, but if you want to play more conservatively three works fine.
N is also really good in here, better than in most decks, because you’re taking prizes in clusters and not in ones and twos. What I like about this deck is you can be going for the game winning Catcher, N, and still have a reasonable chance of drawing it, because often you find yourself with three prizes left and the Catcher away from winning because of how amazing Lugia is. It’s the best shuffle-draw Supporter you can have in this deck and it’s ideal when you don’t want to have to Juniper away a hand of vital Catcher, Switch, PlusPower, Tool Scrapper, Plasma Energy, or whatever resource you find yourself running out of.
The last Supporter slot is probably best suited for Skyla. Skyla is another out to a game winning Catcher, and in a deck with Bicycle you can Skyla and still draw cards. Bianca works fine, but I like Skyla better just because of the consistency of it.
Stadium Wars are becoming a thing again, and having a kickgym for Vitrbank and Tropical Beach can come in quite
nicely. My favorite counter Stadium in this deck is Plasma Frigate because it denies Raikou and Zekrom the knockout on your Lugia as well as protecting Landorus from Keldeo on some occasions. Aspertia City Gym is also nice because it keeps Lugia alive longer, so my personal split on that is 1/1, but you could find yourself playing more or different Stadiums if you found that was what was best in your testing.
6 Fighting Energy is the minimum one can play because you really want to get a Turn One Hammerhead, especially if you go second. I have upped my count to seven just because of how crucial the Turn One Hammerhead is in here. A high count is also nice when you feel that Land’s Judgement is your best play.
Four Plasma Energy is necessary just for consistency purposes. There’s the possibility that you will be forced to Plasma Gale a third time for whatever reason, and there’s also a good chance you will be discarding one with Professor Juniper, Ultra Ball, or your Ace Spec, so having four just helps when you’re in these situations.
Double Colorless is there to power up Lugia quicker. Four Double Colorless is not as necessary, but I still feel it’s important for having the Double Colorless when you need it (Which is usually Turn Two and Three). It’s also good for retreating Landorus manually when you don’t have a Switch or Escape Rope. You could go down to three if you felt it necessary to fit something else in, but most of the time it’s better to stick to consistency and play the fourth Double Colorless.
So how does this deck play out against the field? Well, I’ve tested a couple matchups, and this is what I’ve learned:
Vs. PlasmaKlang – Bad.
If they’re playing the variant with Klinklang BLW and Darkrai and Keldeo, you at least have a chance at this matchup. Wait until they drop both Darkrai and Keldeo and then start Hammerheading.
If they’re just playing PlasmaKlang and Cobalion, your best bet is to wait until they only have two prizes left, counter their Tropical Beach, Catcher and Hypnotoxic Laser their Plasmaklang, and N them to two. If they draw a Switch or a Supporter before Klinklang dies, you’re screwed, but it’s better than no chance at all. There’s also the possibility of an early game Lugia killing Klinks if you’re lucky.
Vs. Blastoise – 50/50
Believe it or not, this matchup would be highly favorable if it weren’t for Black Kyurem EX PLS. However, in my testing Black Kyurem can often one-shot your Lugia and take all the Plasma Energy with it unless it has both an Eviolite attached and an Aspertia in play. Your best bet is to just play aggressively and try to win as fast as you can. Don’t worry about Landorus’ weakness until a Keldeo starts attacking, and then if you’re forced to you can Plasma Frigate + Plasma Energy. And don’t try to deny them Blastoise unless they only have one Squirtle and no Ditto in play, because it will be inevitable. If you can, try to Eviolite your Lugia and get Aspertia into play before you get into Lugia phase, because you never know when Black Kyurem will come down and bash you for 200 damage.
I’ll be honest, I haven’t tested this that much. However, both of your EX’s having 180 HP and not 170 as well as their reliance on EX’s to attack means this matchup is in your favor. Landorus can hit for weakness if you need it to, and if they start with two Darkrai in play you almost always pull off a win. Just stick to your normal gameplan and you should be fine.
Vs. Darkrai/Hammers – Unfavorable.
Because you lack a form of energy acceleration that can be used more than three times per game reliably plus your reliance on Special Energy, Hammerspamming could give you some trouble. Your best bet is to do the Landorus phase like normal except without powering Lugia up, and then power Lugia up all at once with Colress Machine. Ideally they will only hit one Hammer and you can Plasma Gale another Darkrai for the win, but this strategy is iffy. I don’t think Hammertime will be all too popular, so having a bad matchup to it isn’t a terrible thing.
Vs. RayEels – Favorable
This matchup is probably the only good matchup in which you don’t take your normal gameplan. Instead, what you should do is try to Catcher out Tynamos and Hammerhead them, setting Rayquaza EX up for a Lugia kill while you do so. After you’ve killed two Tynamo and set an EX up for a knockout with Lugia, you can use Lugia to kill that EX. From there, you just need to take one more prize, so you can do that however you see fit.
If they set up a Rayquaza and enough Eels and they’re able to use Dragon Burst a couple times, you’re in trouble. However, you should be able to Catcher-KO their Eels before this happens too much. Your gameplan should be to deny Eels until you can win in about two turns.
Another way to approach the matchup is just to spam Lugia early game and kill Eels, but this is generally only a good strategy if you feel that it can be done easier than the Landorus strategy. If you have the option, go with the Landorus plan.
Vs. Snorlax/Lugia/Plasma Stuff – Even
I haven’t tested this matchup (I honestly don’t even know if the deck is any good), but from what I know about the deck the matchup seems like it would be 50/50. You run Switch, meaning retreating under Snorlax isn’t terribly hard. And Lugia with a PlusPower one-shots Snorlax for two prizes, as well as Landorus with a Hypnotoxic Laser or PlusPower two-shots Snorlax. Overall you should try to approach the matchup as familiarly as you can, but if you’re forced to kill a Snorlax with Landorus that’s fine. Get an Eviolite on your Lugia so Snorlax can’t OHKO it, and, if necessary, Aspertia City Gym as well (Although this would make it harder to take knockouts on your opponent’s Lugia if you chose to do so).
You’re going to need to take a bit longer to win this game, but unless a Snorlax starts wreaking havoc on your field and you are unable to power something up to stop it, you should have a good shot at winning first.
In the little bit of testing I’ve done against Garbodor it’s been favorable for me, but that might just be because I played two Tool Scrapper. Usually Garbodor variants play EX’s to attack, so I usually take advantage of that and Tool Scrapper Garbodor when I’m about to take a prize. I haven’t done quite enough testing to say more than this, sorry.
So what do you guys think about Landorus/Lugia? Do you guys think that it is the ultimate speed deck that Pokemon has never had in a Modified format before, or do you think it is overrated? Discussion is encouraged, so make sure to leave a comment and leave your opinion on Landorus/Lugia.Category: Deck Discussion, Uncategorized | Tags: Deck Analysis, Landorus, Lugia, Speed Deck