The Rainbow Road to Fort Wayne
Hello, and Happy Thanksgiving Dead Draw fans! I am ecstatic to be writing for you today. This is my first time writing for Dead Draw Gaming and first article ever! I’m grateful to be a part of this team and to share my thoughts with you. Fort Wayne Regionals is this upcoming weekend and I’m here to talk about a few things. First, I’ll talk a little about the decks that won Orlando, Liverpool, and Dortmund Regionals. Next, I’ll cover what decks I think will be played most at Fort Wayne based off those results and the decks that made top 32. Lastly, I’ll talk about my top deck choices for Fort Wayne and how I think they pair up against the meta. Fort Wayne is going to be the third Regionals I attend this season. So far, I have attended Phoenix and Philadelphia Regionals. I made day two at both events, getting 16th and 24th place. I am hoping Fort Wayne goes just as well or even better. This Regionals is going to be special though, it’s the first Regionals my girlfriend Amanda is playing in. She has only been playing for a few months now but has played in three League Challenges. This is her first big event and I’m very excited for her!
Let’s start by talking about Orlando Regionals. Yveltal EX/Garbodor won the whole event, and to me, that was a surprise. Not that I doubted the decks strength, I just didn’t test it enough due to early testing not going too well. Nevertheless, it took down a diverse field of decks. Top 32 for Orlando had a diverse pool of decks. This included Darkrai EX/Giratina EX/Garbodor, M Mewtwo EX (Y)/Garbodor, Yveltal EX variants, Vileplume Toolbox, M Gardevoir EX STS, Greninja BREAK, Volcanion EX, Rainbow Road, M Rayquaza EX, and the most surprising, Gyarados and Raichu/Bats. As you can see, no M Scizor EX or any Vespiquen variants made day two at Orlando. Vespiquen seems to have died off considering none made day two at any of the three mentioned Regionals.
When breaking down Yveltal/Garbodor, it makes perfect sense that it took the whole event. Yveltal EX will be a great card until the day it finally rotates. Evil ball will always be powerful, just attach a few energies, hit a few Max Elixirs and you’ll rack up damage quick and take knock outs in one attack. Y Cyclone is amazing for doing a considerable amount of damage while conserving your energy in play. Yveltal BKT is the MVP of the deck, though. Spreading damage is always a great strategy. Being able to attack more than one Pokémon at a time can allow you to have huge turns where you knock out two Pokémon at once and take three to four prizes! Pitch-Black Spear is one of the best attacks in the game. Although the bench damage is limited to only Pokémon EX, it’s still an incredible attack. If you think about all the Pokémon EX that are in the format, it’s a no brainer why there was two copies of this card in Azul’s winning list. You also can’t forget Yveltal BKT’s ability Fright Night, shutting down the effects of tool cards is a nothing to overlook in a format with very strong and highly played tools. Pitch-Black Spear combined with Fright Night make the perfect combo for trapping Pokémon in the active spot and spreading damage. Yveltal XY is one card I am unsure of needing to be in this deck or not. I can see where it’s still useful to do 30 Damage and accelerate a Dark Energy from the Discard Pile, but overall, it’s an underwhelming attack in this format. Last format it was better when Night March was everywhere and you could knock out Joltiks and Pumpkaboos with Oblivion Wing, but in this format, Yveltal BKT is much more useful. Unless you’re worried about playing against a lot of M Scizor EX, or any other deck that plays a lot of energy disruption, I don’t think it’s a necessary inclusion in the deck. You also can’t forget about the good ole Garbodor BKP. All you need is a tool on Garbodor and all other Pokémon in play have no Ability. With a landfill of great abilities out there, and no trainer based tool removal, Garbotoxin is one of the best abilities in the format. Out of all the decks that made day two at Orlando, there was only one bad match-up for Yveltal/Garb which was Raichu/Bats. Luckily there was only one so that wasn’t much to worry about. Some less than favorable match-ups would have been M Gardevoir STS and Rainbow Road. Together there were only six of those in Top 32 though. The rest of the match-ups were either 50/50 or favorable. M Rayquaza EX, Greninja, Volcanion EX, and Darkrai EX/Giratina EX/ Garbodor are all favorable match-ups. Aside from the one Yveltal EX/Garbodor in Top 8, there were three Darkrai EX/Giratina EX/Garbodor, two M Mewtwo EX (Y)/Garbodor, and one Volcanion EX. As you can see, there were four potential favorable match-ups, and three 50/50 match-ups. Azul clearly picked the best deck for the meta at Orlando.
Moving onto Liverpool Regionals, we see that the top 32 looks fairly similar except for a few decks, but the Top 8 looks drastically different. We didn’t see Yveltal EX/Zoroark/Zoroark BREAK, Giratina EX/Garbodor, or M Scizor EX in Top 32 of Orlando. None of the decks that made Top 8 at Orlando were the same as the ones in Liverpool. It’s expected to see a difference in decks between countries, but not a single same decks in Top 8 is a little surprising, which is ultimately cool. There was only one M Rayquaza deck in Top 32 at Liverpool and it ended up winning. Looking at the high amount of Volcanion EX, M Gardevoir EX, in Top 32 and it makes sense, considering those are favorable match-ups. There were also a few Greninja and a few Yveltal decks without Garbodor which are also favorable. The less favorable match-ups were in lower numbers like Rainbow Road, M Mewtwo (Y), Darkrai EX/Giratina EX, Vileplume Toolbox, and Giratina EX/Garbodor. M Scizor EX is also unfavorable if they play Garbodor and/or Parallel City. But neither of the two in Top 32 did. Their lists seemed more built to beat all the M Gardevoir EX. In Top 8, six of the match-ups were favorable and only two were unfavorable. Rainbow Road and Giratina EX/Garbodor would have been the biggest threats. Xerneas BKT can attack for higher Damage than M Rayquaza EX can. It also is a basic Pokémon and a non-EX. Rainbow Road’s main attacker only giving up one prize opposed to two is why this match-up is unfavorable. Giratina EX’s Chaos Wheel is terrifying for M Rayquaza EX, pair that with Parallel City and you're doing nothing. The best you can do is 90 Damage if you play a Hex Maniac. They don’t use Garbodor in this match-up because they want to keep Renegade Pulse online so you can’t touch them. The M Rayquaza EX deck did have a Jirachi promo though, Stardust can really put in work against Giratina and give you a chance. M Gardevoir EX is a great match-up since M Rayquaza EX can knock out anything in format in one attack (except Wailord EX) with its Emerald Break attack. M Gardevoir EX STS cannot knock out M Rayquaza EX in one attack, putting it at a disadvantage. Gyarados is a good match-up for the same reason, Gyarados maxes out at 210 Damage, M Rayquaza EX has 220 HP. Even though it’s a non-EX and it could take easy Knock Out’s on Hoopa EXs and Shaymin EXs, it’s not as fast or consistent as M Rayquaza EX. Cedric made a great Meta call when choosing M Rayquaza EX for Liverpool Regionals.
Lastly, we have Dortmund Regionals. Top 32 looked similar (minus a few surprising decks) to the other two in terms of what decks were played, but differed a lot in how many of each deck was played. There was a ton of Yveltal EX and Yveltal EX/Garbodor, and a ton of Greninja. There was also a heavy amount of Volcanion EX and surprisingly only one M Gardevoir EX STS. The other decks that didn’t make Top 32 at the other two Regionals and I would have never expected to see were Houndoom EX/Bunnelby, Regice/Glaceon EX/Garbodor/Hammers, Zygarde EX/Vileplume, and Raikou/Electrode/Jolteon EX. While I did know about Houndoom Mill and have beaten and lost to it at League Challenges before, I never thought someone would mill their way into day two of a Regionals with it. Raikou/Electrode/Jolteon EX seems like a fun concept, using Electrode’s Buzzap Thunder and giving up a prize for energy acceleration is risky. Putting yourself at disadvantage like that can backfire, but with a field full of Yveltal, it was good Meta call. Regice/Glaceon EX/Garbodor/Hammers make sense since a good portion of the meta is evolved Pokémon in the form of Megas EXs. Glaceon EX and Regice are hard to go through unless you play Pokémon Ranger. Most lists have cut Pokémon Ranger, which means many decks don’t have a good answer to them. Both of those unique decks made Top 8, alongside a bunch of Yveltal decks and one Rainbow Road. Rainbow Road ended up winning and that’s not a surprise when looking at the Top 8, every match-up was favorable. Yveltal EX/Garbodor can give you trouble with Garbodor and Parallel City, but dual-types make Parallel City not as troublesome to deal with. If you get hit with a Parallel City, and you have Galvantula and Volcanion EX, and one other benched Pokémon of another type, you still are doing 160 Damage. Bench two more different types and you’re doing 220, effectively knocking out any typical threat. Garbodor can stop you from using Hoopa EX and Shaymin EX, but if you already have your dual types on the field, it’s not too much to worry about. Enhanced hammer can cause you to slow down, but it’s not the end since you have plenty of basic Fairy Energy and Super Rod. Fighting Fury Belt plus resistance makes Xerneas one buff deer against Yveltal. They now need five energy on a Yveltal EX to Knock out a Xerneas BKT with three Energy and a Fighting Fury Belt attached in one attack. Raikou/Electrode and Regice/Glaceon EX are good match-ups cause you out speed them and take knock outs faster. Hammers in Regice/Glaceon EX can slow you down, but overall, they’re at least taking two attacks to knock out one of your Pokémon, and hammers usually won’t save them in that match-up. Looking at the rest of Top 32, there were some rough match-ups. All the Greninja could have been problematic. Galvantula can put in work early game though against Greninja by knocking out two Froakies at once, but without Hex Maniac, the games can get ugly fast. Vileplume Toolbox can be a bad match-up if you don’t play Xerneas BREAK. They could potentially roll you over with Flash Ray. Houndoom EX/Bunnelby is bad if they get a lot of heads on Crushing Hammer and hit their Enhanced Hammers when they need it. Other than those, all the Volcanion, Yveltal, and Giratina decks are favorable. With hitting the right match-ups (which there was plenty of), it’s obvious why Finn Rainbow Forced his way to victory.
We have three Regionals to look at for results. Each Top 32 shared decks, but differed in a few out-of-the-box choices and differed in the amount each deck was played. Each Top 8 differed entirely from the other, and each winning deck was different as well. It shows that any deck can do well with the right amount of luck and good match-ups. Looking at Fort Wayne Regionals, I think the most played decks are going to be Yveltal EX/Garbodor, M Gardevoir EX STS, Darkrai EX/Giratina EX/Garbodor, Vileplume Toolbox, and M Rayquaza EX. Normally I wouldn’t have added M Rayquaza EX, not because I don’t think it’s a strong deck, I just think due to the high amount of Garbodor and Parallel City in Top 8 at Orlando, not to mention the high amount of Giratina EX, it might shy players away from M Rayquaza EX. Now with all the hype that M Gardevoir has gotten though, it should cause a decline in Giratina EX and possibly Yveltal EX/Garbodor. That means the main two decks that play Parallel City, could decline. However, from my experience of playing in previous Fort Wayne Regionals, and being a player from the Midwest, I know players around here love their dark decks. Whether the odds seem against it, some people just love to play dark. Also, they may expect people to play M Rayquaza due to the M Gardevoir hype, and might realize they should play Dark. These are reasons why it is hard to predict the meta sometimes, you can never be sure what people are thinking. It can be a big circle of this deck beats that one, that one beats this one. Sometimes it just comes down to picking a deck that will do well against most of the field, or a deck that you just have fun with. Even if a deck might not seem like the best play, you might enjoy playing it enough that you’ll do well because you’re having fun. The two decks I have been thinking about playing most for Fort Wayne are Rainbow Road and Volcanion EX. Here is a list that’s similar to the winning Dortmund Rainbow Road list, just a few changes.
4x Xerneas BKT
2x Joltik STS
1x Hoopa EX AOR
4x Max Elixir
1x Super Rod
4x Ultra Ball
4x VS Seeker
1x Hex Maniac
3x Sky Field
1x Exp. Share
2x Float Stone
9x Fairy Energy
As you can see, I cut the Umbreon EX for a Genesect EX. Drive Change is too useful of an ability when you have different tools in the deck. I cut one Fighting Fury Belt for a Xerneas BREAK. You still get added HP, it makes your Vileplume Toolbox match-up better, and you can reuse it with Super Rod. I cut the Teammates for a Hex Maniac. Teammates is nice, but Hex Maniac will give you a better chance against Greninja and make your Volcanion EX matchup better. It can slow down your opponent by denying them the use of Shaymin EX, Hoopa EX, and Dragonite EX. Lastly; I cut the third Trainer’s Mail for an Exp. Share. Exp. Share is too good not to play. You can keep your attacks rolling and Genesect can hold it for when you need it. Here's a list that’s only a couple changes from the Volcanion EX list that made Top 8 at Orlando Regionals.
3x Volcanion STS
1x Hoopa EX AOR
1x Escape Rope
4x Max Elixir
4x Ultra Ball
4x VS Seeker
1x Sky Field
3x Float Stone
11x Fire Energy
All I did for this list is cut one energy for a Pokemon Ranger so you have a better chance against Vileplume Toolbox. Both Regice AOR and Jolteon EX are big problems. Also, it lets you use Volcanic Heat again if you did last turn. The other change I made was cutting the fourth Trainer’s Mail for a Sky Field. Sometimes early on you have to bench two Shaymin EX and a Hoopa EX not leaving yourself enough space to have all the Volcanion EX you need. Without enough Volcanion EX, you won’t be able to hit the numbers you need to in order to knock out Pokemon with Fighting Fury Belt or Mega Pokemon. Another use for Sky Field is benching more Pokémon, so when you or your opponent counter it, you can discard unwanted and damaged Pokemon on the field. I want more than one Fighting Fury Belt in this list, but typically having a Float Stone on your Volcanion EX is better because you can always retreat to another one so you can attack again.
Rainbow Road is my first choice because I think it has even to positive match-ups across the board. It’s also one of my favorite decks and something I enjoy playing a lot. My second choice is Volcanion EX. I know that all the Garbodor, Hex Maniac, and Greninja makes Volcanion EX a risky play, but I just thoroughly enjoy playing the deck. It’s one of the few decks in the format with only Basic Pokemon, so it’s incredibly consistent. It gets multiple attackers ready to go in just a couple turns. Also, I love dual typing, especially Water and Fire. I’ve been wanting a Water/Fire Type for years now, seeing it as a card that actually has two types has been amazing for me. Volcanion only really has a couple good match-ups, that being M Scizor EX and Yanmega/Vespiquen if you can use the non-EX Volcanion to your advantage. Other than that, it’s mostly 50/50 or bad match-ups. If you can manage to knock out Garbodor and have it off the field most of the game, your match-ups with Garbodor decks get significantly better. It becomes favorable against Yveltal EX and Darkrai EX/ Giratina EX, and probably closer to 50/50 against M Mewtwo EX (Y).
Now, the reason I like Rainbow Road is its ability to just knock out everything so fast. Having a whole spectrum of different types makes the deck fun to me. Rainbow Road’s worst match-up is probably M Scizor EX (because Xerneas BKT is weak to Metal) or if decks tech in multiple of the new Magearna Promo. The new Magearna Promo’s Prism Wave attack is a direct counter to Rainbow Road. Luckily it requires a Metal Energy, so it’s limited to decks with Metal Energy and Rainbow Energy. Magearna can be played in M Scizor EX, M Rayquaza EX, and Vileplume Tool Box decks. Although it is a direct counter to Rainbow Road, it will not beat it on its own. It may increase your odds in the match-up, but will not win it alone. So, don’t count Rainbow Road out just because of this one card. Rainbow Road still has favorable match-ups against Yveltal EX, M Rayquaza EX, Volcanion EX, M Gardevoir EX STS, Darkrai EX/Giratina, straight Giratina EX, Water Box, and Vileplume Toolbox. Some people may not agree with me about Vileplume Toolbox being a good match-up, but in my testing I have not lost to it once. Playing one copy of Xerneas BREAK is enough to take down both of their Jolteon EX. Another great strategy against them is to use Galvantula. Vileplume Toolbox almost always needs to bench one Shaymin EX to get Vileplume up. They also usually need to bench Manaphy EX. Both are weak to Galvantula and can be sniped on the bench for times two damage. With just two Double Threads you can take four prizes easily. With a 2/2 Galvantula line, it’s not hard to accomplish. It has an even match-up against M Mewtwo EX (Y). It’s only unfavorable match-ups are Greninja, and M Scizor EX. For Greninja, Galvantula can be great, and you can tech in a Hex Maniac to make that match-up closer to 50/50 or even favorable. For M Scizor EX, you can play Carbink with the ability Energy Keeper. If the M Scizor EX player doesn’t have Garbodor, you will be able to prevent them from removing your basic energy, making the match-up much better.
I am looking forward to this weekend a lot. Getting to spend time with my friends and experience Amanda’s first Regionals will be a blast! I hope this article was both informative and helpful in making your deck choices for this weekend. I want to wish good luck to anyone competing this weekend, safe travels, and I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend!