This Saturday just passed, Queensland played host to it’s second League Challenge of the season, the one I was up in the air about what deck I was going to play on the day.
I ended up settling on Pidgeot-EX over both Machamp and Gyarados. Machamp not testing favourably and Gyarados abandoned because people are aware that Spinda exists, and the surprise factor that made it so strong has been dulled slightly.
So Bird-Jesus it was, but not actually the Pidgeot deck I talked about, but instead a version that dropped the Mega entirely, instead choosing to run a list based purely on the base version of the bird.
I enjoyed the deck, it played well and I stood up to more than a few meta decks nicely.
The biggest downside I found to the deck was that it didn’t really have anything in the way of decisiveness, it is a slow, methodical drive, and in a best of 3 across 50 minutes, that is probably what hurt the deck the most.
THE DECK: Who, How, What and Why
|Pidgeot EX x3
Hoopa EX x1
Shaymin EX x2
Total Count: 13
Pokemon Ranger x1
Professor Sycamore x4Paralell City x3Fighting Fury Belt x4
Float Stone x3Max Potion x4
Trainer’s Mail x4
Ultra Ball x4
Vs. Seeker x4Total Count: 38
|Double Colorless Energy x4
Basic Lightning Energy x5Total Count:9
By foregoing the Mega-Pidgeot, we drop the 4-3 count to just a 3, while also losing the Spirit Links, a 2 count in the Mega-Bird list, freeing us up 6 slots to add in additional cards to tighten consistency and focus.
Preferably the Zebstrika line is a Jolteon-Ex, but I own zero copies of the card and was unable to source 3 before game start, so they were switched out to the Lightning Zebra, which isn’t awful, it helped me drag a match that would have been an auto-loss to a tie and helped me run rampant in another before that, but ultimately Jolteon probably would have been the much better choice.
The Garbodor is there to help you try to rush past a Vileplume rush, locking down abilities instead, so that you can hold on to all of those sweet, delicious items you play, so that you can keep shenanigans live. Both the Shaymin and Hoopa are fairly self explanatory, helping with your consistency.
We drop the Shrine of memories because we no longer have the Mega Pidgeot as well as axing the Assault Vests, upping our Float Stones from 2 to 3 and throwing in 4 Fighting Fury Belts to set the mood.
The standard items are essentially the same, and we drop what was once steel energy for lightning instead as we’ve lost Magearna and Zebstrika should be our only other attacker. In fairness I could have changed the energy to something like Fairy, as Zebstrika uses 2 Colourless energy for its attack, and found room for a Fairy garden, but the Zebstrika wasn’t a thing until a few hours before kick-off and I hadn’t twigged to the idea at that point.
The general idea is that you don’t actually hard focus Mirror Move, but instead get Feather Lance geared up for the 80 (90 with a Fury Belt) and 20 to Bench, only falling back to Mirror Move if the damage dealt is going to FAR exceed Feather Lance, or if you’ve just Max Potioned and are sitting on only a single attachment, bringing out Zebstrika for Mirror Matches, Yvetal-Ex Toolbox and Emerarld Break Rayquazza.
ROUND ONE: Vs. Vileplume Toolbox: Loss
Straight away, I got thrown into a match up I wanted no part in. Pidgeot is heavy on items for it’s consitancy and it’s shenanigans. Plus Jolteon-EX is a thing, the lightning pupper quickly cleaning house for Game One, praying on weakness and a really bad start on my part, I didn’t even see the Vileplume this game.
Game two is a slugfest. I pull out the Garbodor before I have to see a single Oddish, and I turn it into a feather lancing slugfest, trading prize for prize. My opponent moves us to game 3 by scooping to save time.
Game 3 is a slaughter, the Vileplume gets dropped turn 1, for the first time in 3 games and in running no Hex Manics, I’m relying on hitting the Lysandre so that I can do some gardening.
I don’t hit it and before long, the game is lost and the healthy hatred of Vileplume festers ever hotter in my heart.
ROUND TWO: N-Sync (Bye-Bye-Bye): Technically a Win
After Vileplume, it’s all uphill from here, but the start of the hill has my sitting on my hands for 50 minutes.
Thrown into the bye, I have nothing else to do but to sit and wait for the round to end. Bonus being that I got to go to lunch early. That was nice.
ROUND THREE: Vs. Yveltal-EX: Tied
Oh man, this round, this round was some straight fun times, if only because of my opponent. Bant-City baby, Bant-City, hard.
With the big turn out of this deck in the wake of the London International Top 32, it was going to be impossible that I wasn’t going to run into at least the one, and come round 3, fresh off of lunch and my “Win” this is where I ran into it.
Game one saw my opponent attempt to get a Bad-Bird big enough to swing 210 every turn, unfortunately for him I dashed his hopes and dreams by getting out a very early, very clutch, Zebstrika, clipping wings the entire game.
Game 2 was close, really fucking close. But it’s also some of the most fun I have had playing this game. Some well placed Lysandres and a late Zebstrika saw hope bloom bright, but come the end of the game, after not hitting the Lysandre I needed to, with two prizes left, I lost the game.
Game 3 began as suddenly as it finished, time being called 2 minutes into it. With the bubble of tension from game 2 burst, we ended on a tie and stupid smiles on both of our faces.
ROUND FOUR: Vs. Gardevoir (Despair Ray): Tied
Why was this here? No fairies were expected to show up on the day, considering how hard the Gardevoir turn out was last month, the expectation was a hard showing of scizors. Of course all that was dashed by the resurgence of Yveltal over in London.
But whatever, it was here, and while I took Game One, Parallel City and Garbodor putting in work, Game 2 saw me summarily dismantled with barely any effort on my opponents side. Sky fielding and renewing discarded mons from the discard with little to no effort, before straight wrecking my day with yet another Rattata discard of an FFB into a full 170 blast from the Despair Ray.
Time was called during game 3, but it wasn’t going my way at all. Given another turn or 2, this was very much looking like a solid loss.
ROUND FIVE: Vs. Rayquazza: Tied
This is a match up I really wanted, mostly because with the Zebstrika in there I was expecting to do really favourably into it, and game one, with a constant Parallel City lock and a very early Zebstrika I took game 1 with very little fuss and no muss.
However, in game 2, the single count of Zebstrika came back to bite me, as it got taken out, and with no way to grab it back or a second one to drop, Mr. Ray-“Oh look at me I can Mega Evolve Turn 1”-Quazza outpaced and eventually, took the game from me.
Much like the Yveltal Match-Up from round 3, time was called very early into game 3 here, ending the round on a draw and the day on a bittersweet note, which is great, because at this point I am exhausted.
END OF THE DAY: Hindsight is a Funny Thing
So what did we learn?
Well for starters, Hex Maniac is needed, as Vileplume can wreck your day without even trying. If you can drop that, you can do your Ultra Balling and deck thinning going in order to get that Float Stoned Garbodor out fast.
Also 1 or 2 Super Rods wouldn’t go amiss with the low count of Basic Energy and as a way to keep Zebstrika circulating in the match-ups where it’s needed. On that note, it’s also possible to run a Buddy-Buddy Rescue, if you have a second Blitzle Benched and waiting.
Speaking of Lightning, if we’re committing to the Zebra line, the best bet is to either up the count to a solid 2-2 or down it to a 1-1 and throw in 2 Jolteon-EX on top of it, to keep up the consistancy and to add an alternate attack strategy for the opponent to play around.
Otherwise I’m really happy with how the deck runs and with how I did on the day.
Even with just a whole heap of ties to my name, I feel like I preformed really well into some of the most BS meta-decks in the format, and I learned a lot of what I might need to do to tweak and tune the deck even further for the future.
I also did much better than my 1w/5l showing last month on Ho-oh/Vileplume. That’s a very important thing to keep in mind.
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