So here we are, Dead Draw Gaming fans! The week of US Nationals is finally here, and looking at the meta right now, I couldn't have asked for a better poop-storm from Canada's Nationals to send everything into an uproar. Mega Ray winning overall, no Darkrai/Tina/Garb in Top 8, Greninja either failed hard or wasn't played, etc. So now what to play for US Nationals? I've been between two decks for quite a while now. It just so happens that those two deck share 55 of the same cards. The two decks I am torn on: Night March with Milotic and Night March with Garbodor.
Night March was the number one deck of my Top 10 from a few weeks ago, but I didn't disclose any lists for it. There have been many different variants throughout the season, but the two that I like the best include a thin line of either Milotic or Garbodor. Milotic, of course, with its ability that allows you to retrieve one card from your discard when you evolve into it; and Garbodor which, as long as it has a tool card attached to it, no other Pokemon in play have abilities. These are two extremely powerful abilities in the game right now as a whole, but I really want to break down the lists to see how these five cards change the deck so much.
Here is the skeleton:
3x Shaymin EX
4x Double Colorless
2x Dimension Valley
2x Professor Sycamore
1x Hex Maniac
4x VS Seeker
4x Battle Compressor
4x Ultra Ball
4x Trainer Mail
4x Puzzle of Time
1x Fighting Fury Belt
1x Float Stone
1x Escape Rope
1x Startling Megaphone
1x Target Whistle
1x Buddy-Buddy Rescue
1x Pokemon Catcher
This is 57 cards. The two unnamed Pokemon will be either Milotic or Garbodor. Depending on which we choose to go with, those other three cards will be completely different, and extremely important to the overall strategy of the deck.
LET'S TALK MILOTIC:
The Milotic build allows for that small bit of added consistency by being able to retrieve, essentially, a fifth card from your discard pile throughout the game (Puzzles will hopefully get you four). This card that you get with Milotic usually tends to be extremely important to your game, and since you can grab whatever card you want, Milotic is your MVP recycler.
This past weekend I played a League Challenge with this deck, and used Milotic nearly every game. In fact, the only reason you don't use Milotic is usually because you have a part of it prized. Milotic does usually hold your Float Stone, since once it is played it is absolutely useless. Some successful decks in the past that have played Milotic elected to also play cards like AZ or Super Scoop Up, to reuse the ability. We don't have that luxury of space.
The nice thing about Milotic in addition to the Puzzles is that if you have to throw away a Puzzle piece early, you can use Milotic to get it back. The ability to do that, along with play your Teammates the same turn (let's assume for one Puzzle piece and one anything else), you're effectively searching your deck for one card, and retrieving two from your discard, which is absolutely wacky powerful.
Milotic also allows you to be a little more risky with your Battle Compressors, since you'll be able to play your discard pile just that little bit more late-game.
The three cards we add in if we're playing Milotic: Mew (FCO), a second Hex Maniac, and a second Fighting Fury Belt.
TAKING OUT THE TRASH:
I took a lot of heat for placing Greninja way down at #9 on my Top 10 list a couple weeks back, and that is almost solely because I knew people were sleeping on Garbodor. Greninja has a lot going for it, but without its abilities it's just not putting out the damage it needs to to win games, even against a deck like Night March.
Similarly, Metal is another very popular deck at the moment that thrives on its abilities. Between Bronzong and Aegislash especially, if those Pokemon suddenly don't have abilities, they're just heavy, slow attackers that probably will never have enough energy to even attack.
In addition to Garbodor being a phenomenal counter to these very meta-defining decks, I believe it is also very strong in the mirror. The general strategy in the mirror is to not use Shaymin EX unless you absolutely have to. Well, if you wait too long, Garb will be activated and then you won't even be able to. Night March has a tendency to play a very thin supporter line, since you're able to use Battle Compressor to throw them away and then use VS Seeker to play them out of the discard pile. Though it's definitely possible to play the deck conservatively and not bench Shaymin, a lot of the time you simply end up needing to bench one just in order to continue your string of attacks. Catching your opponent with a hard N to a small hand size, they might only have Shaymin for a drawing option, and if Garbodor is live, then they're stuck with nothing.
Playing Garbodor does come with some down-sides. The new Mew from FCO has been an awesome addition to Night March, but with Garbodor, Mew can't use its ability to copy attacks and will be a dead card as long as Garbodor is live. Also, Garbodor needs to have a tool attached in order for its ability to be activated, so this means you need to have Float Stones for it, which means something else has to go.
The three cards we add in, if we're playing Garbodor: Xerosic, Enhanced Hammer, and a second Float Stone.
The Milotic version has more emphasis on being consistent late game. The list still understands the importance of ability-lock right now, playing the second Hex Maniac.
The Garbodor version puts emphasis on general disruption. Mainly by way of Garbodor, but also Xerosic and E Hammer have proven to be invaluable additions as well.
Thanks for reading, everyone! Don't forget to check out Dead Draw Gaming for the best prices online on singles!
I'm Cody Michael Graham, and I'll see you at US Nationals!