Okemos 1st Place Battle Road Report and Ho-oh EX Deck Analysis

by Jared ~ October 8th, 2012.

Hello everyone at OneHitKO! Today I’ve got a tournament report for you with none other than Ho-oh EX, which has been seeing some success at this season’s Battle Roads and is a very fun deck to play.

That’s me, Jared, with the “Michigan Pokemon” shirt.

Before that, my name is Jared Weiss and I play out of Michigan. I started playing last summer, after a friend and I jokingly picked up a theme deck. I learned about the big mid-season rotation that had happened the previous season, so I was glad to start fresh into the HGSS-on format. I’d like to thank Josh, as he was one of the first people I met playing the game, so it’s sad that he won’t be around much anymore, but I’m glad to be writing for the site. Besides Pokémon though, I’m a college student and competitive figure skater which I’ve been doing for 10 years, and have been a national competitor among many other accomplishments in the sport.

Anyways last season I had started out playing Reshiram/Typhlosion, a great beginner’s deck, and netted me my first top cut. From there, I proceeded to play strictly Tier 1 decks that I knew were doing well like ZPST, CMT, and a Darkrai/Terrakion variant through nationals, which gave me a 6-3 record at nationals (after going 6-1 and then having to face some brutal trainer lock decks).

However, since this would be my second season, I wanted to branch out a bit more and be more creative with deck choice. Of course that went right on the afterburner when I started testing Darkrai/Hydreigon at the rotation to BW-on, and instantly loved it. It’s what I would end playing for my first couple BR’s of season, having a 4-1 bubble at the first, and then 4-2 for a top 8 and championship points finish at the second. Even though I still loved the deck, but I was very curious to try Ho-oh EX after some friend’s success and losing to it in the last round of the previous BR’s. So I threw it together and tested it a bit with fellow OHKO writer Joel the week of, and had a blast playing it (I mean, how can’t you with a deck that has every single energy type)! Here’s the list I took to the tournament:

3 Ho-oh EX
2 Tornadus EX
2 Mewtwo EX
2 Terrakion NVI
1 Registeel EX

4 Professor Juniper
4 N
2 Cheren
2 Bianca
4 Ultra Ball
4 Pokemon Catcher
4 Energy Switch
3 Switch
2 Skyarrow Bridge
2 Eviolite
2 Tool Scrapper
2 Max Potion
1 Revive

3 Fighting
1 Dark
1 Steel
1 Grass
1 Fire
1 Psychic
1 Lightening
1 Water

Now since I hadn’t had that much time with the deck, this is not a perfect list, and is in fact pretty close to my initial build (which I was pretty happy with). I wanted to test some more techs, however it worked for me and I didn’t have the time. Partially why I was so comfortable playing this deck was because it reminded me a lot of CMT in the way it could be pretty fast out of the gate, and is ironically the exact opposite kind of deck than Darkrai/Hydreigon. You have to really watch your energy attachments without being able to move them around freely, but can get attacking turn one. It was also similar in being able to have a Terrakion retaliating out of nowhere with rebirth for Ho-oh and energy switch. Tornadus is the optimal starter for me to try and get the turn one blow through, or even Mewtwo to X-Ball and apply early game pressure. Ho-oh is here as an energy accelerator, using energy switch to move the energies around that you rebirth out of the discard pile. It is also a great attacker that can come from nowhere. Terrakion is an absolute must in the deck, as it can one-shot Darkrais and anything lightening, but is great attacker for retaliating when you don’t get the faster start than your opponent. That’s why there is an increased count of fighting energy, while most of your other attackers run colorless attacks that can take advantage of any type of energy. Registeel was not a card that I tested much, but theorymoned that it would be a better starter than the lightening-weak Tornadus EX in the Eelecktrik matchup; and spreading damage to KO eels.

With regards to a couple of the trainers, I found the 2-2 split of Bianca and Cheren to be perfect change right before the tournament. Ultra ball and Juniper are great for getting your energy and Ho-oh’s in the discard. Revive was in there to get back any Pokemon, mainly Mewtwo for the Mewtwo wars. Now max potion was a personal choice over super scoop up, which would be run in place of it usually, but I found that most of the time I would rather have the definitive healing of max potion over a flippy SSU. Plus, that energy that went back in the discard, save DCE, would fuel a rebirth from Ho-oh. Also, it is pretty key in this format to make your opponent waste turns attacking, or deny prizes with healing items. I also would have like to have another Skyarrow Bridge for turn one attacking consistency with Tornadus. This is just my take on the deck overall, so I encourage trying some other techs like Sigalyth or Boufolant DRX.

The Tournament

I drove up to Okemos with my good friend Anthony, who I had gotten into the game over the summer, after he had heard me talking about going to tournaments and such over the past couple months. After getting minimal sleep, we got some coffee to get going and jammed out to Mumford and Son’s new album one the way there. Once we were there, we met up with Joel, Adam, Mark, and got to registration with plenty of time. The guys from MSU also showed up in force, so I knew it would make for a good competitive tournament. At this point, I was still not sure what deck I was going to play, but after seeing a large fighting presence, Ho-oh would definitely be the right metagame choice for the day. With 39 masters and 6 rounds, it would be nice to know that there would be top 8 kicker points, (which I think is a great addition the championship points system since there isn’t top cut). I also apologize in advance if not every detail from my memory is correct about these matches.

Round 1- Frank Serafinski with Darkrai Hydreigon

The last time I played Frank was in the final round of swiss at a spring BR’s in a very close match to decide who got into top cut. He would beat me, so I was ready for a revenge match. Well much to his dismay he starts out with the Shaymin EX, which creates the situation of not being able to take out Terrakions due to Ho-oh always being a threat because of fir-weakness. I start terrekion, while we both have slow starts; I’m able to take out a Deino or two in the early game. He does get Hydreigon set up, but not much else. At this point I have both my Terrakions, with one loaded up to land crush after a Rebirth and some energy switches. In general for this matchup, I wanted to try to slow the stage 2 from getting set up by picking off basics, but then when Hydreigon comes out, focus on one-shotting Darkrais with Terrakion. This is exactly what would happen, as land crush would roll through him, leaving him without a board to work with. He would use Shaymin to take at least one KO on Terrkion, but Ho-oh’s rainbow burn would win the game. 1-0

Round 2-Sam S. with Terrakion/Terakion EX/Mewtwo

We both started with the awkward Mewtwo active, and I DCE attatch and X-Ball for 80. Well knowing I could knock it out next turn, he sends up a Terrakion. Initially I thought he was playing Garbador, but he didn’t bench a Trubbish in the game. From here it pretty much became a Mewtwo game, but I was able to take the first KO on his after catchering his to give me the advantage. I believe he didn’t put up another one right away though, so I retreated my Mewtwo, and went to work on his Terrakions with Tornadus and HO-oh after rebirthing a good amount of energy. This somewhat forced him to switch to attacking with Mewtwo again as Tornadus and Ho-oh both have fighting resistance, and the game would end with me knocking out a Mewtwo with my own for the win. 2-0

If there was anything that this game showed me, Mewtwo was still an extremely strong force in deciding games, and would show in the rest of tournament. I hadn’t played any aggressive Mewtwo wars for a while, so this was a bit of a wakeup call. It made me want to add a third one to my list, but luckily I had revive to make it through the day.

Round 3-Nick G. Ho-oh Mirror Match

We sat down and both figured out that we were playing Ho-oh, as was the other half of our table. It seemed that it really was doing well on the day, as me and Sean (who beat me at the previous with it) joked about it and showed each other our opening hands. I hadn’t tested the mirror match at all, so this would be interesting how it played out. l I started with the Tornadus and a DCE, while he had a less ideal start of Ho-oh. I go for the juniper in my hand, and hit the Skyarrow Bridge to get the turn one blow through. He benches a Mewtwo and DCE X-Ball’s my Tornadus, along with a Terrakion I believe. I’m able to get my own Mewtwo, along with a rebirth, energy switch, DCE and take the knock out. From there I maintain in control for the rest of the game, as he only manages to knock out my heavily damaged Tornadus before I’m able to max potion it off due to not ever getting good attackers going. This is made even more true so when during the game he has to send up Ho-oh again without much of a board, and I tool scrapper away the eviolite he had on it to get the KO with Tornadus and power blast for 100. 3-0

We talked afterward how his build focused more on starting with Registeel EX and building up spread damage, though I don’t think I saw one the entire game. This game really showed how getting the first turn Tornadus attack can put some extreme pressure on your opponent in the early game, even more so in this slowed down format. A lot of the time, using an aggressive juniper to get the last piece of the puzzle was worth it.

Round 4-Skylor C. with Garbodor/Terrakion/Terrakion EX/Mewtwo EX

So finally we have the Garbodor matchup. I quick thing about me is that ever since I started playing, I’ve always not been fond of locking decks. They don’t provide the fun of using trainers for me which are a huge part of the game, (and have always been the bane of decks I’ve played). I hated playing this matchup with Darkrai/Hydreigon, but Ho-oh is much better against Terrakion while scrapper helps. Another note was that I got paired down this round, so it would be critical to win if I wanted to do well.
Luckily, another first turn blow through comes my way as he started with a Terrakion EX. I took a couple KO’s on benched Trubbishes and eventually Mewtwo comes down as doesn’t have much attacking power with Terrakion/isn’t able to get it going well. He puts damage on the Tornadus, and unfortunately I had discarded a Mewtwo on the first turn fishing for the DCE to blow through, so I wasn’t in the greatest position to counter it with my own. Interesting fact was I actually had to go to the bathroom in the middle of this round because of all the caffeine I had drank, but with the judge allowed it with there being a good amount of time left. Anyways, revive would be my saving grace to get Mewtwo back while benching another Mewtwo later to take the knock out. He does get a pump up smash off to charge some Terrakions and a Mewtwo on the bench while I get stuck with a catchered Terrakion in the active for a few turns in the mid-game. He knocks it out and gets the Garbador set up, which wouldn’t matter much at this point in the game. With that, I could finally take a KO on the Terrakion EX and Mewtwo in the next couple turns with Ho-oh and Mewtwo respectively for the game. 4-0

Round 5-Chris D. with ZekEels

For all the good starts I had in the tournament so far, this would be the game that not much would go my way. I start with a Mewtwo active and end up X-balling his Raikou for 40, while next turn he benches a couple of tynamos. I also ultra ball for a Ho-oh, which I was going to discard the next turn, however he N’s me out of it. I take a couple of prizes off of Tynamos with X-Ball, not really getting out any other Pokémon except for a Terrekion when my Mewtwo got knocked out. I was struggling to get Ho-oh in the discard, because every time I ultra balled for one, he would N me out of it until eventually I drew into a hand with my other Mewtwo and 3 DCE’s, drawing the 4th a turn later. So not being able to attack with Terrakion after not drawing the fighting energy, I was forced to bench a Ho-oh that I had drawn into and max potioned the Terrakion to give me another turn to try and get something going. I could have done the Mewtwo and started X-balling again, but he had two Mewtwo’s on the bench ready to take a KO on it, and revive had not shown up either. He gets fully set up with a couple of Eels at this point, and gets out Zekrom EX to start attacking with. For the rest of the game, I would not draw much else to help, as he took one hit knock outs on the couple more Ho-oh (one of which I was able to rebirth with a couple energy) with Zekrom EX and a plus power. It might have been a better idea to get Registeel going this game with the couple of ultra balls I had wasted on Ho-oh to get spread damage going, but it probably wouldn’t have last for more than two turns anyways. 4-1

This game, along with my round 3 match really made me realize the fragility of 160 HP on an EX. Afterward I asked him if he ran 4 plus power which he responded yes, and I agreed that it was a good count. This is a format where you can’t have really any one-of card due to loss of junk arm, so you really need to maximize your count of crucial cards like Pluspower to make sure you can have it to get that crucial KO. My friend Anthony was at 4-1 too, and we joked how we were going to get paired up like we did at the last tournament.

Round 6-Anthony Colombo with Darkrai/Hydreigon

Well sure enough, it happened again. He ended up winning last time in very close Darkrai/Hydreigon mirror, but it was pretty crazy how I got paired against him for his first two tournaments in a row. Unfortunately for him, this would be quick as he started with a couple Deinos but goes first not doing much of anything except attaching an energy. I get up a Tornadus with DCE and Skyarrow on my first turn, and proceed to KO his Deino. He rare candies into Hydreigon on his other Deino, attaches an energy and passes with no other benched pokemon. So after couple turns of him only being able to max potion off damage and not drawing another basic, I end up Knocking out Hydreigon for the game. Hate to do it to a friend but that would leave me at 5-1.

Despite donking him, I was pretty proud of how he was at another great record for his second tournament and the metagame. He told me how Shaymin EX saved him in very many games, even with its crappy HP to be able to make a comeback and KO Terrakions. This was sort of ironic too, as we were both debating to take it out of our build the night before.
So now I was feeling pretty good about the day, and almost positive that I would get some form of victory cup. I went out into the hall waiting for results where some of my other friends also had quick matched, or had dropped, and tried to trade for another Ho-oh to replace the borrowed one in my deck. They had asked about my build due to them wanting to try the rainbow bird out, when one of the judges later came up and asked if I wanted my prizes. Course I did, and was surprised though when he handed me a first place victory cup and packs. Results would have me winning on very high resistance by about 5%, as no one else managed to go undefeated in the last round, and most of my opponents going 4-2 or 5-1.

So after a year of playing the game, I finally had something to show for it. I would have liked to win by going undefeated, but resistance has screwed with as all getting into top cut, so I didn’t mind it working in my favor for much. Ending the Battle Road’s with a 13-4 record and 21 championship points was also a good start to the season. Ho-oh is probably not the deck that I’d take to regional’s, as it can be too flippy and luck-based for so many rounds, but it is extremely fun to play and do well given the circumstances. I won’t be going to regionals due to a skating competition in Canada, but I wish the best of luck to everyone else. Thanks for sticking with me through my first article, and hopefully I’ll see you guys more writing for the site.

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