Oh Christmas Trev, Oh Christmas Trev
Happy Holidays Dead Draw Gaming fans! Christmas is right around the corner, but even sooner is the next expanded Regionals in San Jose, California. I will be flying out this weekend to compete and take a mini vacation from the snow here in Wisconsin. This article will be like my previous one where I’ll go over the results of previous Regionals, talk about what decks did well, and what deck options I like for the upcoming tournament. We now have two expanded Regionals to look at; Phoenix and Philadelphia. Those results give us an idea of what the meta for San Jose might look like. Mostly the same decks made Top 32 at both Regionals, except for a few lesser played decks, but the only decks that made Top 8 at both Regionals were Trevenant, Seismitoad/Crobat, and Eelektrik/Raikou. Phoenix saw three Greninja decks make Top 8, while Philadelphia had no Greninja decks even make it to Top 32! That’s crazy to think about when all three Greninja decks that made Top 32 in Phoenix all made Top 8. Philadelphia on the other hand had four dark variants make Top 8 while Phoenix had none. With all of that in mind, Let’s take a look at what decks made Top 8 at each Regional.
1st Greninja BREAK/Talonflame
2nd Trevenant BREAK
3rd Greninja BREAK/Talonflame
4th Seismitoad EX/Crobat PHF
5th Primal Groudon EX
6th /Eelektrik NVI/Gallade BKT/Raikou BKT
7th Greninja BREAK/Talonflame
8th Sableye DEX/Garbodor
As you can see, Drew Kennett ended up winning with Greninja and it may seem surprising for a couple of reasons. Greninja wasn’t expected to see much play in expanded even after taking second place at Worlds. Archeops seemed to be too popular and too big of a hurdle for many players to get over. Two of the lists that made Top 8, including our very own Caleb Gedmer, prepared for Archeops and played cards to get around it like Evo Soda, Wally, and Hex Maniac. The list that won however, played no cards to counter Archeops. I’m not sure if he dodged Archeops the whole tournament or got lucky and his opponents never got Archeops out, but if they had, it would have been game over - Greninja doesn’t do anything if you can’t get it out. The other surprising thing is the winning list played only two copies of Rough Seas and two copies of Professor Sycamore. Usually Greninja lists play three Rough Seas and four Sycamore. Having to face Trevenant in the finals must have been pretty rough with only two Rough Seas. A low Sycamore count doesn’t help either since you want to be able to discard your unwanted trainer cards when you’re under item lock. With having mostly shuffle draw in his list, you have a chance to draw back into the same useless cards. Starting Talonflame can help mitigate this problem; you can just search for two of what you need every turn and hope your opponent doesn’t play N the following turn.
If you look at the decks that made Top 32 in Arizona, you see that Greninja had a lot of good matchups. The most popular deck that made day two was Night March and there was six of them. Rainbow Road, Vileplume/Toolbox, Yveltal/Maxie’s, Primal Groudon, and Trevenant were the other decks that had either two or three placings in Top 32. As you can see, Yveltal/Maxie’s is the most problematic deck out of those for Greninja, and that’s only if the Greninja list doesn’t have a counter to Archeops. The other decks are 50/50 or favorable if the list is built right. The only bad matchups for Greninja that made day two were Mega Rayquaza and Accelgor/Wobbuffet, and only one of each advanced. After looking at the facts, it’s not too surprising that Greninja won, because once set up it can be unstoppable, and it had a field of good matchups.
Now let’s take look at the Philadelphia Regionals Top 8.
1st Trevenant BREAK/Hammers/Red Card
2nd Accelgor DEX/Wobbuffet PHF
3rd Eelektrik NVI/Raikou BKT
4th Seismitoad EX/Crobat PHF
5th Yveltal EX/Maxie’s
6th Turbo Darkrai EX
7th Darkrai EX/Giratina EX
8th Yveltal EX
Since only three Yveltal variants and one Darkrai/Giratina made day two at Phoenix, it makes sense why Trevenant increased in play and Night March decreased for Philadelphia. You would also think it's wild that Trevenant was so successful and won when you see that ten dark variants made Top 32, four of which made Top 8! The field of matchups wasn’t easy for Trevenant. Aside from all the dark, you had Eels/Raikou and a couple Mega Manectric variants, both which typically play Rough Seas. The Eels/Raikou deck also played one copy of Seismitoad EX and when you pair that with Rough Seas it alone can win you the Trevenant match up. Even with a field that wasn’t great for Trevenant, the power of item lock, hammers, and Red Card can be enough to take down any opponent. When most decks are comprised of about half or more items, especially in expanded, lowering your opponent down to four cards with Red Card while he or she is under item lock can be devastating. You’re basically saying “Here you go, have four cards, better hope they’re not all items.”
Now let’s take a look at Jonathan Crespo’s winning list to see why it did so well.
2x Rescue Scarf
8x Basic Psychic
I think this list is well thought out and very good. We saw similar versions of this do well at Nationals and make Top 8. They both had Crushing Hammer and Red Card as well. Jirachi EX and Computer Search also help the consistency of getting out Trevenant as soon as possible in expanded. The other cool card that was added to this list that’s an expanded exclusive is Rescue Scarf. Seeing how well Splash Energy can help Greninja, it makes sense that it could also help Trevenant. Decks that rely on BREAK Pokemon to attack typically have to evolve more than once to get going. With that being said, you want to keep your attackers rolling, and being able to have all your Pokemon back in your hand after they’re knocked out helps tremendously. Four Red Card may seem like overkill, but it works. Anytime you think your opponent is getting ahead or has a decent hand you can limit it and potentially leave them with nothing. It’s also an item card so it doesn’t use your supporter for turn. Another great inclusion in this list was Silent Lab. This can be a game changer against dark decks. Most Yveltal lists play two of their own Silent Lab and two Parallel City. If you play smart, you can get them to counter your first two Dimension Valley, then counter their second Parallel City with a Silent Lab. This ensures they can’t use Darkrai’s Dark Cloak to retreat freely, potentially trapping an unwanted Pokemon in the active slot while hammering off energy and spreading damage.
I personally like this version of Trevenant over the Bursting Balloon variant. This version plays on the degenerate nature of the deck, and can steal games because of it. I also think you could change some things in the deck to help out with other match ups. Some cards you could swap in for the fourth Red Card are a second Lysandre, second N, Second Team Flare Grunt, second Enhanced Hammer, or Delinquent. A second Lysandre, N, and Grunt can help against the mirror and are generally good. A second Enhanced Hammer helps against Rainbow Road and dark decks, while Delinquent is generally useful and helps a lot against decks with Rough Seas.
Since Trevenant won last Regionals it’s going to have a huge target on its back. This will cause more people to consider dark decks and decks with Rough Seas for San Jose. This includes Yveltal variants, Darkrai variants, Greninja, Eels, Mega Manectric, and even Water Toolbox variants. It seems that a lot of people either play what won last Regionals or play what beats it and this is especially the case for San Jose considering how powerful Trevenant is. If you have tested with or against the list above you’ll know what I mean. For me, I feel I’m also stuck in the decision of either rolling with Trev, or playing what beats it. If I were to play Trevenant I would play the Red Card version. I feel it has a better chance to beat dark variants and steal games. The other deck I would probably consider most is Darkrai/Giratina with the addition of the new Salamence EX. I feel a turbo dark deck like DarkTina has a better chance against Trevenant than Yveltal/Maxie’s because it’s less item reliant and has more energy. If I played Darkrai/Giratina, this my current list that I would go with.
1x Salamence EX PR XY170
4x Double Dragon
Lists are always subject to last-minute changes before the event, but I think overall this list is solid and has the cards I need to face the decks I am expecting. Pokemon Center Lady is a great card that can help out against Trevenant, Pitch Black Spear and Night Spear damage, and of course against Accelgor/Wobbuffet. Olympia is good for some of the same reasons and it lets you switch into a new active. Lastly, Salamence EX is a great new addition because you already play Double Dragon Energy and it can hit high numbers if your opponent benches too many EX Pokemon.
I wish I could say I was as prepared as I’d like to be for this weekend, but starting a new job has made less time for testing. Thank you so much to anyone who reads this, I really appreciate it and I hope it helps you in making your final decision on deck choice this weekend. I want to wish good luck and safe travels to everyone playing this weekend and also good luck to everyone playing in any League Cups. I know it’s only the middle of December, but I hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas and/or any other holidays that are celebrated, and a Happy New Year!
Cover Photo found at http://cymurri.deviantart.com/art/Decorating-the-Christmas-Trevenant-500715518