Hello, CutorTap readers! Today I would like to talk about what I believe to be one of (if not the) best decks in the Standard format, Greninja, and how it fares going into the U.S. National Championships. But before that, let me introduce myself a little bit.
My name is Bodhi Tracy, and I have been playing the Pokemon Trading Card Game competitively for around 4 years now, but longer casually, and have experienced every age division in this wonderful game. I live in a small town called Ashland, located in Oregon, mainly known for its fantastic annual Shakespeare Festival. I do a lot of communicating online with friends and my fellow members of Team C to continue bettering myself as a player, but my main practice partner is my very good and long time friend, Nathian Beck. Living in Oregon, I play almost exclusively on the West Coast, but travel to events in Utah and Arizona occasionally. If for some reason you ever want to talk to me at an event or otherwise, feel free to approach me – I’m very outgoing!
I think that about does it for an intro, so on to the reason I’m here today! I’d like to discuss one of my favorite decks in the Standard format: Greninja. And while I do believe it’s a very good deck, I will be focusing more on the problems it has today, and how we can potentially fix those problems.
In the past during the State Championships, and through the recent National Championships that have been happening all around the world, Greninja has seen its fair share of success, and rightfully so, as it is a very powerful deck once set up. But that’s just it: it has to get up and running first. I believe this is the first problem with the deck, so how can we fix this? I believe the successful Greninja players have already started acting on this, by including multiple Jirachi PR67 to combat the fierce speed of Night March, which was the deck’s main problem during the State Championships. I believe that this is a good step toward bettering the rough early stages of the deck, but there’s more we can do. The first is utilizing high counts of everyone’s favorite shuffle-draw supporter, N, that can slow our opponent down while helping us out. Along with our N’s, I think having a single copy of Ace Trainer for a similar purpose is very handy, as sometimes you really need to hit your opponent’s hand to much smaller than 5 or 6. A personal favorite of mine in this deck, to help it trade better with virtually every deck around, is Bursting Balloon. So far this card has seen use in almost exclusively Trevenant Break decks because of Trevenant’s inherent low damage output, but I believe it really helps this deck out of the early game. It has the same application of being defensive to help you stay in the game, by making your opponent wary to attack your equipped Pokemon, allowing you more time to get into the mid- to late game.
I’ve seen a lot of players opting to not play many Ultra Ball or any at all, and while I understand why they wouldn’t, I find it helps massively with the consistency of the deck, which i believe to be the next problem. I have experienced quite a few different variations of hands where i am lacking the correct cards that i need, and can’t currently use the cards I have (like too many supporters or Frogadier/Greninja). So, I elect a higher Ultra Ball count than what would be considered normal for this deck. Many players choose to skimp on Ultra Ball, due to the great utility of Dive Ball in this deck. But when you’re trying to value consistency over other factors you must make choices to help that cause, and in this deck particularly, consistency is key. Hand-in-hand with Ultra Ball for this deck, in my opinion, is Octillery – another card i have seen lose popularity in Greninja. And while I understand why to not play it, in a version with more discard outlets, and a few different card choices, I think our tentacled friend will lend us a hand (or eight!).
With these decisions bettering this deck’s issues, and an explanation for why I believe it is the best way to play Greninja, here is my current list that i am very confident in, and would happily take to a National Championship if it were tomorrow.