What is up, Cut or Tap readers! You may be wondering how the weather is up here, and I can only reply with a smooth “sunny and rocky”! If you have guessed that I have been “up in space” testing the new Sun and Moon decks, well, you would be very much correct! I have been spending late nights crushing out decklists, going over ideas with my whole testing crew, and analyzing all information available online with any shred of new information. I wanted to write a much more “competition-driven” article for this piece, after my more general look at Sun and Moon from my last article.
This article will feature three different decklists for each different format, which equals out to a jam-packed article filled with a total of six decklists ready for both the Standard and Expanded Sun and Moon (SM) formats. I also have a few cards from SM that I wanted to elaborate on from my last article, and a quick segment on “the order of operations” – the proper order to play your cards in some specific situations. I hope that you all get your decklist- and competitive-information fill with this one. Without any further introductions, let’s jump into some of the cards that I wanna feature from SM.
- Sun and Moon Key Cards: A Re-Cap
- Order of Operations for Cards Played
- Turbo Darkrai in Standard
- Vileplume Toolbox in Standard
- Umbreon/Yveltal in Standard
- Seismitoad/Poison Barb in Expanded
- Yveltal/Maxies in Expanded
- Turbo Darkrai in Expanded
- Closing Thoughts
Sun and Moon Key Cards: A Re-Cap
I wrote in my last article,
“This card is like a better Bianca, but there are plenty of better choices right now. Keep this card in mind for the next few years when things get rotated, but I otherwise don’t think it is great.”
Now I have gone completely in the other direction about this card! I feel there are many circumstances where I have a relatively low hand after playing a bunch of Basic Pokemon, attaching an Energy Card, and/or playing quite a few Item cards and that is exactly where this card pays off the most! This card is not only useful on the first turn, but it turns into a very functional ‘Bianca’ card from a few formats ago (where you can always find a way to draw up until six). I am not saying this is the best Supporter ever or that it is infinitely better than an N or Professor Sycamore; I just feel like this card was disrespected in my last article and that I have been playing one to two copies in most of my decks.
Unlike Lillie, I did say that I liked Professor Kukui in my last article and it has definitely been an inclusion in most of my decks. In certain decks, such as Turbo Darkrai, it is definitely a viable option to draw two cards and do 20 extra damage; it is the same output as attaching an extra Energy Card. I am sure we have ALL been in a situation where we were only a minuscule amount of damage away from a huge Knock Out, or even just needed one more card in hand to seal a specific game, so this card brings so much to our gameplay. Hopefully you understand that this card is almost an auto-inclusion in most lists nowadays – it is just really good right now.
In my last article I wrote,
“I think I actually like all three of this Pokemon’s attacks. This card doesn’t need much detail – it just has three energy efficient attacks that you can use at any point during the game when you need to use them. This card just seems straight up good.”
I just wanted to say that I am very much in the same boat currently. You will see my inclusion of this card in ALL of my lists that don’t include another GX card. I am very verbal about my personal understanding of GX Pokemon and how I feel that a GX card is almost equivalent to an ACE SPEC, in that you should use a GX attack every game!
Let’s look at it like this: I am playing a 59-card mirror against my opponent, but the only difference is that I play a Tauros-GX and they play an extra Energy Card. We both have decent draws and it is a very close game. With one Prize Card left, I promote my fresh Tauros-GX and attack their active Yveltal-EX for 60 damage, and I have now won the game – if they attack me with anything and not OHKO, I can Mad Bull GX for an easy win, and if they don’t attack, I can use Tauros-GX to chip away 60 damage at a time. The difference here is that I have a GX attack that is super-powerful and they do not. If you don’t play a GX Pokemon, you may be putting yourself at a deck list disadvantage.
This card seems like a good card at first glance, and it becomes a really good card when you see how easy it is to evolve with the very helpful Eevee SM! This card seems like it will be played in decent numbers going into Anaheim in the form of Umbreon/Zoroark, some “Eeveelution” based decks, and Umbreon/Yvetal specifically as one of the format’s front-running decks.This Pokemon can be absolutely devastating with its GX attack; the thought of having my opponent take away two of my precious energy away with a low attack cost is crazy – that attack will literally win multiple games! It also has another attack that is a throwback to Darkrai-EX’s Night Spear, except it is easier to play because it only costs (D)(C)(C)! Overall, this Pokemon seems like a beast and it has very fluid attacks that allow you to make important choices throughout a game.
I warned you in my last article that I had a trick up my sleeve with this card:
“Seems kinda like Bursting Balloon, but not that great overall. I think this card might be kinda cool to pair with Virbank City Gym to force them into an extra 60 damage, not sure though right now…”
…and I actually have a very cool decklist in Expanded that features the above-mentioned Poison Barb/Virbank City Gym combination. Check it out below in the Seismitoad/Poison Barb decklist section.
Order of Operations for Cards Played
I know this section may come off slightly arrogant or seem like common knowledge, but I honestly think it will help out most of you who are reading this. I have played many games of Pokemon and I can only recall my opponent playing strictly better than me, and that was only at the beginning half of my career. Similar to my brother, Jay Lesage, I have come up with a few “do’s and donts” when playing any game of Pokemon, kind of like a checklist that I can run through my head each turn. Hopefully this helps you, as long as you take each of these steps during each of your turns:
Step 1: Look Through Your Hand and Try to Envision a Game-Plan to Win or Take Advantage
- Look for opportunities for a Knock Out, or see if you can 2HKO a major threat on your opponents board.
- Can you remove one of their vital energies with a disruption card? Do you have the ability to bring up one of their heavier retreaters to stall a few turns?
- Do you have the opportunity to use a set-up-based attack to bring energy on your side of the field or search for a Pokemon or draw any cards?
Step 2: What Can I Do in My Hand Before I Do a Permanent Game Action?
- There are only four types of permanent game actions: attaching an energy, playing a Supporter, retreating, and attacking (do these actions only after checking the board for available Stadium effects, playing Item Cards, and looking at your Abilities).
- Make sure you try to exhaust all available options in your hand before doing one of these actions; you will mostly do all of these actions one after another at the end of your turn
Step 3: Playing Item Cards
- Play an Item Card if you need to or would otherwise have to discard them (e.g. with a Professor Sycamore).
- Make sure your Item Card will not put you in a bad position (Escape Rope, Switch) or that you may deck out (e.g. playing a Battle Compressor with limited cards in deck).
- If you have a dead hand and have the only choice between a Max Elixir and Trainers’ Mail, play the Max Elixir to try to “thin” out your deck and then play a Trainers’ Mail with a hopefully smaller deck to maximize your odds of getting a much-needed Supporter Card.
- If you have a strong hand and have the only choice to between a Max Elixir and a Trainers’ Mail, play the Trainers’ Mail to try and get an Item Card out of the deck so you have a higher chance to maximize your odds to attach an Energy Card
- DON’T discard vital cards like VS Seeker, Double Colourless Energy, or important Supporter Cards with an Ultra Ball unless you ABSOLUTELY have to! You need to think about the long game and realize that those cards are very important to your deck. Remember to ask yourself why you need to play the Ultra Ball, is it important to your current game? Have you checked through your deck before this action? Do you know what is in your deck? Do you have the card you need in your deck or will your search be wasteful?
Step 4: Using your Permanent Game Action
- What cards do you have in your hand that will allow you to use a permanent game action?
- Have you looked through your Discard Pile and your opponent’s Discard Pile this turn yet? Make sure that you know what has been played in the game and what personal resources you have left in your deck to be played.
- If you NEED to do a specific attack this turn and have the necessary energy in your hand, attach that Energy Card to the necessary Pokemon.
- If you don’t have the necessary energy in your hand, go through all appropriate steps necessary to gather that specific energy without going overboard
- If you don’t have any energy cards in your hand, skip attaching an energy and play a Supporter card.
- Play a Supporter Card that makes sense given your certain circumstances (if you play a Professor Sycamore, will you discard valuable resources like VS Seeker, or if you play an N will you allow your opponent to draw more cards?)
- You DON’T need to play a Supporter card every turn (It is sometimes more beneficial to make your opponent think you have a dead hand so they don’t play an N against you, or you may need the Supporter card for a future turn)
- If you need to retreat, make sure you do all other necessary game actions before doing so; maybe there will be better options after playing a Supporter and attaching an energy.
- Remember to double-check all things you can do before you attack, because an attack is the absolute end of your turn, if you need to attack a specific Pokemon, make sure you play your Pokemon Catcher or Lysandre now. Also make sure that you are doing the right amount of damage and don’t need to play a Professor Kukui or Fighting Fury Belt. Look at all of your Abilities in play and do a final “one-over” of your field to make sure you have done every option necessary.
Step 5: Think During Your Opponents Turn
- Make sure to look through both your own Discard Pile and your opponent’s Discard Pile during your opponent’s turn.
- Watch their moves and make sure you understand their game plan (so you can try and stop it)
- Look through your hand and formulate your own game plan.
Hopefully this section will help you do every necessary step during your turn so that you don’t forget a proper game action or play cards in the wrong order. Thinking is absolutely the key to winning; make sure you use your mind wisely to take down your opponent!
Turbo Darkrai In Standard
As most of you know, Cut or Tap’s very own Phinnegan Lynch has created/popularized Standard’s behemoth of a deck, Turbo Darkrai, and the deck has been fairly unstoppable since its inception at Dallas Regionals a few months ago. I am here to state that I think the deck is STILL one of the best decks in our XY-SM format. In fact, I think it may be one of the most played or one of the decks that performs exceptionally well at the upcoming Anaheim Regional Championships. This deck did not gain any bad matchups out of [SM] except for the slight idea of Passimian being an okay attacker, but it did gain a few helpful cards in the form of Professor Kukui and the often-underestimated Lillie. Here is my personal list that I have been tinkering around with, to what I would consider a success: