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U Mad Bull? - Tauros GX and a Preview of Collinsville by Ryan Grant

Ryan Grant Collinsville EX Gallade GX Ho-Oh Maxies Ninja Boy Rainbow Road Regionals Tauros Xerneas Yveltal

by Ryan Grant

Hello, Dead Draw fans! I am excited to be back and bringing you another pre-tournament article! This one will be a little different though, not only will I go over what did well at the last expanded regionals and what decks I like for the upcoming tournament, I’m also going to focus on Tauros GX. Sun and Moon cards have only been legal for one regional event so far and that was Anaheim Regionals. Collinsville is the first expanded regionals that it will be legal for, so it will be interesting to see which cards will all make an impact. It seems Tauros was one of the most impactful cards at Anaheim from seeing all the Yveltal/Garbodor/Tauros decks that made day two. Let’s see what all the rage is about and how Tauros will affect the meta for Collinsville.

 

Why Play Tauros?

Something I really dig about Tauros is it has three attacks and they all cost only two colorless energy. That’s unique and makes it fit in just about any deck, especially ones playing Double Colorless. A ton of decks play Double Colorless in expanded including Yveltal variants, Eels variants, Rainbow Road, Accelgor/Wobbuffet, Mega Rayquaza, Seismitoad variants, Night March, and Vespiquen/Flareon. Now, just because a deck plays Double Colorless that doesn’t mean Tauros belongs in it. When thinking about adding Tauros to your deck you should ask these four questions: 1. What is my deck's overall strategy? 2. Does my deck already play Ninja Boy or can it easily be added without hurting consistency and does Ninja Boy make sense in the deck? 3. Do enough of the Pokemon in my deck have enough HP to make a Ninja Boy into a 180 HP Tauros worth it? 4. Does my deck play cards to search out or fish for Ninja Boy like Jirachi EX, Trainers’ Mail, or a Battle Compressor engine? The answers to those four questions should determine whether you add Tauros to your deck or not.

 

What’s the Strategy?

If the strategy of your deck is like Night March or Vespiquen and the goal is to just Battle Compressor away a bunch of Pokemon to take one hit knock outs, then Tauros probably isn’t the best fit. I mean, you could use Tauros as a wall against Seismitoad, as a Glaceon EX counter, or while you are building up for big attacks, but in expanded you have Battle Compressor so you don’t need as much time to sit back and build up. Tauros is not a necessity in these decks because usually you just use Pokemon Ranger for cards like Seismitoad and Glaceon.

What about Accelgor/Wobbuffet? Tauros interferes with your strategy because you are trying to lock your opponent by using Deck and Cover each turn - not let them attack into your active. Same thing goes for Seismitoad decks. Your main goal is to lock your opponent from using items each turn with Quaking Punch. It’s rare when you want to break that, but perhaps Tauros could be a good closer to take your last two prizes.

I think Mega Ray is too fast for Tauros. Its main strategy is to take a one hit knock out every turn by keeping your bench full with Skyfield.

What about Rainbow Road? It has a similar strategy to Mega Ray except the main attacker gives up one prize and is basic. You might think then that Tauros would interfere with your strategy since your main goal is to take a one hit knockout with Xerneas, but Rainbow Road also has tech attacker options like Latios EX, Jolteon EX, Aegislash EX, and Yveltal EX - all high HP Pokemon that you can use Ninja Boy on.

I think it can fit in Raikou/Eels variants depending on the build. If it’s the version with Seismitoad and Mewtwo I think it fits because the strategy involves a multitude of attackers.

The last deck I think it goes great in is Yveltal. No matter the version I think it goes well with the strategy because it’s another deck that utilizes different attackers and different attack strategies.

 

Utilizing Ninja Boy

Now, I’m not saying that you absolutely need to play Ninja Boy for Tauros to be effective. Rahul Reddy managed to make good use of Tauros in his Vespiquen deck at Anaheim. I do however think that Tauros becomes ten times better if you do. Pulling a Mad Bull GX out of nowhere is incredibly powerful and can swing a game. Someone is less likely to attack straight into a Tauros if they have the option, that’s why letting something else take a hit and using Ninja Boy into Tauros can be more effective. All it takes is 60 damage and you can hit for 180 with Mad Bull GX and knock out most EX Pokemon without a Fighting Fury Belt. If you have 90 Damage on Tauros you’ll be doing 270 damage and you can literally knock out any Pokemon short of a Wailord EX with a Fighting Fury Belt on it (which I don’t think you’ll have to worry about). Also, you don’t always have to use Mad Bull GX; rage can be just as effective if you have enough damage counters on Tauros or whatever Pokemon you Ninja Boy from.

What Can or Already Does Play Ninja Boy?

Rainbow Road

This is the first deck I think of when I think Ninja Boy. Using Ninja Boy on Ho-Oh EX into a Xerneas is so much fun. You get a powered-up attacker instantly just for flipping a heads. OF course Tauros doesn’t add another color to the deck so it doesn’t fuel Rainbow Force, but it helps against Seismitoad decks, against Trevenant, and it helps a lot if someone has used Parallel City against you. It can give you something to sit behind and potentially use to take a knock out while you find a Skyfield to get rolling again. It does not hurt the consistency of the deck because you already play Ninja Boy, you have plenty of ways to find Ninja Boy with Trainer’s Mail, Battle Compressor/VS engine, and Jirachi EX. Tauros is a perfect fit in Rainbow Road.

Yveltal/Maxie’s

This is one deck that I think Tauros absolutely belongs in. Yveltal doesn’t normally play Ninja Boy, but I think it’s a good fit. The deck plays a Battle Compressor engine, Trainers’ Mail, and Jirachi EX so once again it’s much easier to get Ninja Boy when you need it. You have high HP Pokemon like Yveltal EX and Darkrai EX, even Fright Night Yveltal can take a hit sometime, making Ninja Boy into Tauros a viable strategy.

Vileplume/Toolbox

This is the only other expanded deck I can think of that plays Ninja Boy already. Its main strategy is to lock your opponent and have the right attacker for each match up. Usually this deck plays Lugia EX as a vanilla attacker, but I think you can replace that with Tauros. You want to lock your opponent from attacking with cards like Aegislash EX, Regice, Glaceon EX, and Jolteon EX, but sometimes your opponent finds a way around that, and that’s why Tauros can be great here.

Raikou/Eels

The last great fit for Tauros. I think it works best when you’re playing Mewtwo, Seismitoad, and/or Jolteon - all EX’s that can potentially take a hit and be switched out for Tauros. Even Raikou is decently bulky because of its ability Shining Body and Fighting Fury Belt. Eels may not have the engine for Tauros, but it’s a deck that can still benefit from Tauros and I think you can find room to add the combo.

 

I realize that Tauros can be splashed into other decks, but those are the four that I personally believe it goes in best. A couple other I think it can be successful in are Vesiquen/Flareon and Turbo Darkrai, but I’m not sure if they fit in as well.

 

San Jose Regionals

The Results of San Jose Regionals

1st Yveltal/Maxie’s

2nd Greninja BREAK

3rd Yveltal/Maxie’s

4th Zygarde/Carbink

5th Sableye/Garbodor

6th Yveltal/Maxie’s

7th Yvletal/Maxie’s

8th Turbo Darkrai

 

Yveltal/Maxie’s took over San Jose. It had four placings in Top 8 and even won the whole event! With Trevenant BREAK winning the previous expanded regionals, it makes sense that a lot of people chose to play dark. The most surprising deck in Top 8 was Zygarde/Carbink. Zygarde/Carbink had a lot of good match ups in Top 8, with Greninja and Sableye/Garbodor being the only bad ones. Unfortunately, it got paired against Greninja in Top 4 so it didn’t have a chance at the Championship. With five out of the eight decks in Top 8 being dark decks, it’s obvious that once again dark decks will be something to look out for going into Collinsville, especially Yveltal which only got stronger with the addition of Tauros GX.

 

What to Expect Going into Collinsville

As I said above, dark decks will be popular so you need to be prepared for that. Seismitoad/Decidueye GX got a lot of hype when Sun and Moon first came out, but from my testing the deck is just not as good as other variants. Maybe I didn’t give it enough time or find the right list, but I wouldn’t expect it to be highly popular. The two other decks that I think will be quite present will be Seismitoad/Crobat, and Trevenant BREAK variants. Both decks gained a little bit of strength from Sun and Moon. The only thing Seismitoad really gained was Professor Kukui. Seismitoad's damage output isn’t fantastic, that’s why it’s paired with things like Crobat and Hypnotoxic Laser to increase its’ damage output. Kukui is a great card to help with that in situations where you need just a little more damage and you get to draw some cards, making it much better than Giovanni’s Scheme which made you choose between drawing and doing 20 damage.  

-Trevenant gained either Alolan Muk or Espeon GX. I wouldn’t recommend trying to fit both, and each one should be played in a version that makes sense with it. When playing Muk, things like Crushing Hammer, Enhanced Hammer, and Red Card make sense since it’s meant to disrupt your opponent. When playing Espeon GX it probably pairs better with Bursting Balloon since it focuses on getting more damage on board.

-People might also go back to trying Vileplume/Toolbox again. It was highly popular at the first expanded regionals of the year and a couple of people made Top 32, but it seems to have disappeared for the most part since. we’ll have to see if Tauros GX is the card that brings its viability back.

-Rainbow Road is always here and there. Ho-Oh EX is a fun card and people like the whole color spectrum of the deck. I would expect to face it zero to one times throughout the whole tournament.

-Night March is always around; it was very big in Phoenix. But since Trevenant rose in play and Seismitoad/Bats has had success, it’s always a risky play.

-Vespiquen/Flareon could see some play with the hype of Seismitoad/Decidueye. Having weakness advantage against a whole deck is very strong. Archeops is always popular so it can be risky, but you have counters like Wobbuffet and Hex Maniac to deal with it.

-Raikou/Eels and Sableye/Garbodor have both seen success at two of the Regionals. I wouldn’t be surprised to see them in small numbers.

There are other less popular decks you might run into like Archie’s/Blastoise, Mega Gardevoir, Wobbuffet Accelegor, Primal Groudon, Mega Ray or Donphan, but those are usually in very low numbers.

What’s the Play?

My two personal favorite decks and the ones I’ve been testing most for Collinsville are Rainbow Road and Yveltal/Maxie’s. I made Top 16 with Rainbow Road at Philadelphia Regionals and I really enjoyed playing it. I’m confident I would have made Top 8 had I played anything but Trevenant my last round, but it happens; nothing you can do about a bad matchup. I haven’t played a Yveltal deck at a Regionals since 2014 when I got Top 8, but I’m really enjoying Yveltal again. Having Tauros changes the way you can play that deck a bit and I thoroughly enjoy having Ninja Boy in the deck. I think it helps you make better use of the horde of different attackers Yveltal decks have.

 

The Lists

 

Rainbow Road

Pokemon - 17

4x Xerneas BKT
1x Xerneas BREAK STS
3x Ho-Oh EX DRX
2x Shaymin EX ROS
1x Hoopa EX AOR
1x Jirachi EX PLB
1x Jolteon EX GEN
1x Yveltal EX XY
1x Keldeo EX BCR/LTR
1x Exeggcute PLF
1x Tauros GX SUM

Trainers – 34

4x Skyfield
3x Professor Juniper/Sycamore
1x Colress
1x Lysandre
1x N
1x Ninja Boy
4x Battle Compressor
4x Energy Switch
4x Ultra Ball
4x VS Seeker
3x Trainers’ Mail
2x Float Stone
1x Super Rod
1x Computer Search

Energy - 9

3x Fairy
1x Lighting
1x Dark
4x Double Colorless

 

Yveltal/Maxie’s

Pokemon - 10

2x Yveltal EX XY
1x Yveltal BKT
1x Darkrai EX DEX/LTR
1x Sableye DEX
1x Shaymin EX ROS
1x Jirachi EX PLB
1x Archeops NVI
1x Gallade BKT
1x Tauros GX SUM

Trainers - 39

2x Parallel City
2x Silent Lab
3x Professor Juniper/Sycamore
2x N
1x AZ
1x Colress
1x Ghetsis
1x Lysandre
1x Maxie’s Hidden Ball Trick
1x Ninja Boy
4x Dark Patch
4x Ultra Ball
4x VS Seeker
4x Battle Compressor
3x Trainer’s Mail
2x Fighting Fury Belt
2x Float Stone
1x Computer Search

Energy - 11

7x Dark
4x Double Colorless

 

These are both the lists that I have been working on. Some of the options for Rainbow Road include cutting Tauros GX or choosing to play either Fury Belt or Muscle Band. I had a Parallel City and a Muscle Band in my list at Philadelphia, both were incredibly useful, but I also had Latios EX instead of Yveltal so that made Muscle Band more useful. I also had one Skyla and only two Professor Juniper. It was to help get Muscle Band for Latios which was kind of a gimmick, but it did help a couple of times. Other things you could change are cutting Fright Night Yveltal for another attacker. I’ve seen people play Aegislash EX which helps a lot against Seismitoad and Vileplume/Toolbox, but it doesn’t boost Rainbow Force since you already have Jirachi EX. I think Rainbow Road could be a good play because it does well against dark variants due to being faster and Xerneas resists dark Pokemon. It's biggest downfall is luck, since the strategy relies pretty heavily on a coinflip. Also, things like Silent Lab, Hex Maniac, and Wobbuffet cause trouble for this deck. You have four stadiums of your own to counter Silent Lab, and Hex/Wobb aren't seen very often these days. I think Rainbow Road does quite well against most the decks you would face besides Trevenant BREAK, which is close to an auto loss. You can tech for it, but it’s better to keep your deck consistent. Seismitoad/Bats can be a very rough match up but not as bad as I thought it would be before testing. Tauros and Jolteon help that match up quite a bit. Keldeo helps with lasers - if you can manage to get a Float Stone on it before they Quaking Punch and there's no Silent Lab.

 

In Yveltal there’s a few things I’ve been changing back and forth and am unsure of. Whether I want to fit in a second Lysandre is one choice. It depends on if you expect to play against more item lock, or more decks that you need to Lysandre for EX/GX knock outs like Vespiquen or Night March. I also would like a second Maxie’s because prizing it can be detrimental. Same goes for Gallade or Archeops. I also think Professor Kukui could be a good addition. Yveltal decks don’t really play Hypnotoxic Laser anymore so getting that extra damage could be game changing. The last thing that’s interchangeable is playing four Trainers’ Mail and three Battle Compressor instead. It depends what you prefer opening with more often. Yveltal is always a safe play; it doesn’t really have any auto losses, and you can add techs to deal with really any match up. It has room for any tech supporters you find necessary and Gallade and Archeops help you deal with decks like Vespiquen, Seismitoad/Bats, Manectric, Raikou/Eels, and Darkrai. There are a vast number of cards in expanded, so the amount of strategies possible is immense. Having a deck that can deal with just about anything makes Yveltal/Maxie’s a great play any day.

Conclusion

I’m very excited for Collinsville this upcoming weekend. Expanded tournaments are not as frequent as standard, so it’s always a great experience to get to use some older cards that we miss from previous formats. I will still be grinding out a bunch of testing this week to figure out what deck I want to play most, and I may even change my mind last minute because that happens from time to time. I would prefer to be prepared and know exactly what I want to play, but sometimes it’s fun to just grab a deck you’ve never played before and have a fun experience. Sometimes it pays off like it did for Sam Chen at San Jose. I hope everyone going has a safe trip and a great time. I want to wish the best of luck to everyone playing. I hope this helped you gain some knowledge on the uses of Tauros in expanded and I hope it helps you think about your deck choice for this weekend. Thank you, it was a pleasure writing for Dead Draw Gaming once again and we'll see you in Collinsville!



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