Hello again, Dead Draw Readers! Today I am excited to finally write up a topic I've investigated for a while now: What looks good after rotation? I don’t want to spend a ton of time saying that Dark looks good, because that’s boring and we already know that. Instead, I'm more interested in pointing out cute tech options that people should consider based on the direction the meta takes. By and large, this article will be segmented into types to point out specific combinations that seem particularly interesting.
Colorless-type Pokémon of this last format were mostly staple or tech options, such as Shaymin EX, which drew tons of cards, and Bunnelby, which recycled useful cards and even milled the opponent’s deck. The absence of ubiquitous Colorless attackers was largely due to the insurmountable Lightning weakness of Lugia EX and Mega Rayquaza EX. Although Altaria was one option to avoid that weakness, a simple Hex Maniac made the tech useless, and, with Night March for example being such a streamlined, powerful deck, it was not asking much for the deck to be able to Hex Maniac around Altaria.
Dark has been a deck since the original Darkrai EX was printed forever ago, but there is a new Darkrai EX in town, of which I personally plan to play a lot next format. Dark decks seem to have this uncanny ability to always stay relevant and to always turn any matchup into a potentially winnable game. Because of its Lightning weakness, Yveltal EX decreased in play this last year due to the rampant success of Night March, a fate shared by our favorite Colorless attackers. Nonetheless, Dark-type decks that were successful in the past lose nothing more going forward than what every other deck loses with the rotation. The biggest loss for Dark, then, is easily Battle Compressor, mainly because Dark will not get a Gallade out unless we draw a nearly perfect hand. This may not be a concern, however, because Gallade was largely a tech against the newly rotated Mega Manectric.
Fairy-type Pokémon lose Aromatisse, the backbone of the Fairy archetype, to the rotation. Without Aromatisse to rearrange Fairy Energy, we cannot abuse cards like Max Potion and Fairy Garden. Regardless, Rainbow Road should be fun with the new dual-type Pokémon coming out in Steam Siege. Moreover, should a deck that is weak to Fairy ever become popular, Rainbow Force Xerneas could be a strong tech attacker.
With three different types on the bench, Xerneas does 100 damage, and it does 200 if it hits for weakness! Possibly a crazy idea, but definitely worth considering. Furthermore, Xerneas’s great attack requires Double Colorless Energy alongside one typed energy (henceforth referred to as an XCC attack); this is a theme among techs that I will touch on throughout the rest of the article.
Fighting made some notable trades between formats. Despite losing Korrina and Focus Sash, Fighting-type decks add Carbink BREAK, Zygarde EX, and Regirock EX to their arsenal. The Strong Energy reprint additionally keeps the type playable. All the pieces are in place to build a new Fighting archetype, and I am quite eager to see someone put together something awesome with Zygarde EX.
The rotation doused Fire’s flame with the loss of Blacksmith. Other than Flareon EX and Magcargo, there is nothing about which to write home. It is possible to play Flareon EX with only a high energy count, Max Elixir, and Max Potions. Because of Flareon EX's ability to move energy onto itself, multiple Flareon EX can be in play, sharing energy and using Max Potions to preserve damaged Flareon EXs.
Magcargo is the Fire-type equivalent of Regirock, along with XCC attack status. Once again, that's 240 damage when attacking into weakness! Granted, Magcargo is a Stage 1, but that does not mitigate its usefulness. In fact, Magcargo has the Barrier trait, protecting it from Trainer cards that may try to undermine the Pokémon. As a tech, simply park Magcargo on the bench and wait for the perfect time to erupt on a Mega Sceptile (sorry, Kyle Malecek) or something equally formidable.
Speaking of Kyle and Mega Sceptile, Grass-type decks finally have their posterboy! Mega Sceptile and Sceptile EX have insane longevity, but they struggled this past year due to the speed of the meta. With the likely decline in speed, Sceptile may find its rooting; once it does, it has a variety of partners and Grass-type compatriots. Virizion is a particularly solid non-EX attacker that grows in strength when on the losing side of the prize trade. Additionally, we have Ariados with Poisonous Nest, Sceptile with Nurture and Heal, Ludicolo with its Captivating Rhythm, Serperior’s and Servine's Serpentine Strangle, Vileplume with the only Item-lock in standard (aside from that bad Hoothoot), and, lastly, Beedrill with its death-by-anaphylaxis (that is, Allergic Shock). Playing Forest of Giant Plants makes the idea of playing a Stage 2 deck from this list incredibly appealing, because the stadium allows us to evolve our Grass-type Pokémon as soon as they enter play. The Abilities on these Stage 1s and 2s are really great, too, causing automatic poison or potential paralysis, free catcher flips, extra attachments plus healing, Item-locking, etc. Grass is definitely worth messing around with, especially right away before the meta stabilizes.
We also have another Pokémon that fits the trend of XCC attacks: Pinsir has an attack called Heavy Suplex, which does 40, plus 20 for each C in the opponent's retreat cost. Although this is not as great as the other Pokémon listed with XCC attacks, Pinsir can actually one-hit knock out both Primal Kyogre and Primal Groudon! [Editor’s note: Whoa, geez!] Pinsir can also one-shot a Zygarde EX without Fighting Fury Belt attached… GO, PINSIR!
Lightning-type Pokémon are still great, but none seem to comprise a deck better than Magnezone/Raikou. Magnezone abuses energy attachments by attaching all the Lightning Energy we want during the turn. Also, with a couple of Rainbow Energy and the new Special Charge Item card, fitting in techs for whichever matchup you want is easy. Rough Seas is still in, too, so we should get a lot of life out of those Raikou!
Admittedly, Metal as a type is in shambles, but I have faith in Scizor EX and Mega Scizor. Scizor EX pairs well with Zoroark, allowing the use of Gale Thrust every turn if Zoroark has a Float Stone. Plus, the only worrisome Fire-type Pokémon at the moment are Flareon EX and Magcargo. Nothing else will hit Scizor EX and its Mega for weakness.
With Mega Scizor's attack only requiring two Metal Energy, we could even use Max Potion if we keep a tandem of Mega Scizor moving around with Zoroark/Float Stone. Although Scizor decks won't take any huge knockouts from out of nowhere, they have a chance to make a dent in the next format.
Psychic-based decks will be hard to play without Dimension Valley. Regardless, they still have some tricks they can pull out of their sleeves. Alakazam EX looks great at first, but it loses Super Scoop Up and AZ to the rotation, and the only way to recycle Alakazam, then, is to play Devolution Spray. I therefore cannot imagine playing this deck without Puzzle of Time, because the card needs more than just four copies of Devolution Spray. Hypno may be used for its ability to buy a turn here or there, possibly with Darkrai EX or even Mega Scizor (because Zoroark can reset the sleep effect on either Pokémon). Jynx might be a neat tech for healing, especially when playing against a deck with fixed amounts of damage output, because we can line up some convenient numbers to add some longevity. Hoopa EX will still be strong for decks based around Mega Pokémon, being able to search out a full bench for just one Ultra Ball. Likewise, Unown and Wobbuffet are two other Pokémon that will see play at some point thanks to their Abilities. Both Banette are Pokémon that could easily emerge in the format to tackle different situations. Banette with the Tool Concealment Ability negates the effects of Tools in play (Garbotoxin still works, but we'll get to that in a moment), and Evolution Jammer Banette prevents opposing Pokémon from evolving into cards from the opponent’s hand (basically Archeops in the form of an attack).
Lastly, but certainly not least, we have Garbodor. Throughout this article I mentioned many Pokémon that are good only thanks to their Abilities, which likewise makes Garbodor excessively good. Garbodor, as many of us know, negates all other Pokémon Abilities as long as it has a Tool attached; however, there are not currently any Trainer cards in Standard that discard Tools from opposing Pokémon. This essentially means that the only way to eliminate Garbodor’s effects on the battle is to eliminate Garbodor itself. All hail King Garbodor, King of the Trash! [Editor’s note: Why on earth did they reprint this rubbish Ability?]
Throughout this article, I highlighted attackers of each type that can be splashed into various decks, most of which have XCC attacks. In the case of Psychic Pokémon, however, we can simply use Mew. An anomaly among Pokémon, Mew is a naturally free retreater who copies attacks of our own Basic Pokémon. So, next year when we play against Damage Change Mewtwo and we realize how hard it is to hit over 210 damage without attacking for weakness, just remember to use Mew!
Finally, Water-type Pokémon remain relatively unscathed, with the exception of the loss of everyone's most favorite card ever -- Seismitoad EX. Many people were initially all over the idea of Greninja taking over Standard, until they realized that they have no way now to discard Tools from opponents’ Garbodor. Needless to say, that idea quickly dissipated. Nonetheless, Water boasts two troublesome tech attackers in the forms of Glaceon EX and Regice, both of which are now less effective as walls due to Pokémon Ranger but are still worthwhile to consider.
Swampert on its own could also be a solid Stage 2 deck. Swampert has an attack reminiscent of the old Keldeo EX, doing 40 plus 30 for each Water Energy attached. This particular Swampert comes with the Growth trait as well, which allows the attachment of two energy to it per turn, quickly powering the attack with more damage. Moreover, the card’s Ability searches the deck for any card to put on the top of the deck. This Ability, paired with Unown’s Ability to draw the top card, uniquely allows Swampert decks to play techy, consistent lists. With the above and the likes of Primal Kyogre, Manaphy EX, and Palkia EX, some kind of Water-based deck will surely emerge to keep Water relevant.
Hopefully everyone can pick out some information to improve their game in the new Standard format and to build the best deck possible. So, did I miss anything? Should I have added any Pokémon to my list? Feel free to let us know in the comments section below!
And remember to return to DeadDrawGaming.com for the best deals on all the singles you need to build a great deck in the upcoming format!
This has been Cody Michael Graham from Dead Draw Gaming, and I'll see you next season!