Hey again, CutorTap! Daniel Altavilla here, doing my second article for this wonderful site. My last one was on efficient playtesting, and it seemed to take off among newer players, which is wonderful. This time around, there will be more meat in the area of actual decks. I have four decks I’ve built recently that I have almost perfected, but I feel the meta as it stands right now is not a good place for these decks to thrive. Forgive me as I’ll be using this article as a sort of time capsule – in the 2016-2017 season, as soon as there is a PRC-STS tournament, I’ll dig these decks up, make them proper to match that format, and try my hardest to take as many tournaments as I can with them. But for now, they sit on the sidelines. This isn’t to say that any of these four decks would be a poor play for the World Championship or anything in between the release of Steam Siege and 16-17 season. Each one is still being considered, just not before a play like Trevenant or Night March.
I know what you’re thinking – “Why is this fraud even posting this article if he just flat-out said he isn’t guaranteed to use any of these for Worlds?” And my answer is simple: decks like these require a certain thought process. They must be tested, fixed, molded, adapted to the next format. Thus, exposure to them now, paired with good playtesting practice, will grow them up into strong archetypes in the future. At least, that’s how I feel about it. Hopefully you will come to agree with this notion by the end of this article.
Acting on the Fire Support Buff
With Steam Siege being a literal pile of Fire (half Water?) support, we have an obvious deck on our hands – Volcanion-EX and friends. Volcanion is not only a Fire type, but also a Water type, meaning we have plenty of options for this card. A consistent version with four Rough Seas to avoid taking too many hits, a version with four Baby Volcanion and four EX for crazy damage, or even Torchic PRC with Trick Coin and multiple Volcanion-EX for consistent, strong attacks and a fair prize trade. Personally, I’ve decided on a different version. I think Volcanion is strong, but I also think it’s ideal to have other strong attackers in the mix that don’t rely on Volcanion for increased damage, considering how diverse the current meta is. Here’s what I’m running:
|Pokémon – 16||Trainers – 33||Energy – 11|
|3||Volcanion||3||Professor Sycamore||4||VS Seeker||8||Fire|
|3||Volcanion EX||2||Lysandre||4||Ultra Ball||3||Double Colorless|
|3||Zorua BKT89||1||N||4||Trainer’s Mail|
|3||Zoroark BKT||1||Hex Maniac||2||Battle Compressor|
|1||Hoopa EX||1||Xerosic||2||Fighting Fury Belt|
|2||Shaymin EX ROS||1||Blacksmith||2||Muscle Band|
|1||Entei AOR14||1||Fisherman||2||Float Stone|
|1||Captivating Poke Puff|
I think the allure in this deck is the capability to purely overpower anything in the format. You can Volcanion onto a Volcanion-EX and a Zorua, and then have a potential two different attackers for turn 2. You can Fisherman for a big 110-damage turn with just Volcanion’s 1st attack and 3 Steam Ups, or you can hit even more with some other attack combinations. Entei AOR and Zoroark are two Pokemon that hit based on your opponent’s bench size, so with the four bench-based attackers, I had to allocate a spot to Poke Puff. This card on turn 1 can not only knock your opponent out of the game by forcing down Shaymin-EX, Hoopa-EX, or other basics, but it adds extra damage onto your opponent’s bench during late game if you’re lucky enough. The cool thing about Zoroark is that with a full bench on your opponent’s side, you’re hitting 160. That’s 180 with a Muscle Band for a KO. If you’re attacking with Entei, it’s only naturally at 120, but with a Band and 2 Steam Ups, that quickly becomes 200 damage! It’s possible to drop Zoroark down to 2-2 and add 2 more Entei to make it easier, but I think Zoroark at a heavy line helps us tremendously versus Trevenant decks.
Weaknesses this deck faces are the obvious ones – Night March and too many EXs we could start with, Articuno ROS being able to attack on turn one to take 2 or 3 prizes with ease versus all of our main attackers, and Greninja being such a strong archetype. These three problems are almost all resolved with the rotation, but in losing Blacksmith this deck gets to be a bit slower, so I feel the Greninja problem remains. After rotation, this deck will have a very strong spot at the top, assuming Greninja loses its playability.