Hey everybody! My name is Charlie Lockyer, and this is my first article for Cut or Tap. I’m a player from New Jersey/Maryland that recently aged up to Masters. Outside of Pokemon I am on my school’s robotics team, and I play lacrosse. Today I am going to talk about three different Standard decks, one of which is an established archetype, another is a new concept my friends and I recently came up with, and the third is a completely untested idea that popped into my head after looking over the Melbourne results. I hope you enjoy!
- Post-Australia Thoughts
- Three Standard Decks (Consistent/Proven, Versatile, Untested)
- Turbo Darkrai
- Consistency Card Analysis
- How the Deck Works
- Matchup Analysis
- Aerodactyl/Wobbuffet – My Untested Decidueye/Vileplume Counter
- Theoretical Advantages the Deck Presents
- Turbo Darkrai
The results of the Oceania International Championships were some of the most surprising results I have seen in a long time-11/32 Day 2 decks were a single archetype, Volcanion took down its first major tournament, and not a single player from the Asia/Pacific rating zone made top 8. Although it did not win the tournament, Decidueye/Vileplume has definitely asserted itself as the current BDIF, having claimed over 1/3rd of Day 2 spots as well as 3 Top 8 spots. Item locking your opponent before they even have the chance to draw a card is probably one of the most powerful and toxic strategies in the game, but it is certainly a huge advantage if you are the only player at the table who is actually able to play interactive Pokemon. However, Decidueye/Vileplume’s incredible performance has driven me to build decks that are able to compete with it. Below, I will discuss three different Standard archetypes, some of which are able to compete with Vileplume, while others fold to the strength of Item lock.
Turbo Darkrai: Brief Discussion of the Deck
This deck has been discussed to death recently because it is one of the most powerful, consistent, and simple to play decks in Standard right now. Most lists that I have seen recently have decided to forgo consistency for tech cards, such as Tauros GX, Team Flare Grunt, and Silent Lab. Below is my personal list that I think would have been a very strong option for Melbourne, as it is consistent enough to make it through a long tournament and still packs the same punch as many teched out lists.
Turbo Dark List
|Pokémon – 9||Trainers – 39||Energy – 12|
|3||Darkrai EX||4||Professor Sycamore||4||VS Seeker||12||Darkness|
|2||Yveltal (XY)||3||N||4||Ultra Ball|
|2||Shaymin EX||2||Lysandre||4||Max Elixir|
|1||Yveltal EX||1||Hex Maniac||3||Trainers’ Mail*|
|1||Hoopa EX||1||Professor Kukui||3||Fighting Fury Belt*|
|1||Parallel City||1||Escape Rope|
*Uncommon card counts that add consistency
As you can see, this list was designed with nothing but consistency in mind. Thick counts of consistency cards are usually forgone in favor of tech cards such as extra Enhanced Hammer and Tauros GX, which from the results of my testing accounts for many nearly unplayable hands. This extra boost in consistency has been the difference between a strong setup or a very poor setup many times, helping to keep hand variance to a minimum.
Consistency Card Analysis
3 Trainers’ Mail
Many Turbo Darkrai lists include 2 Trainers’ Mail when looking for a slight boost in consistency, but when building this list I decided to include 3. In a deck that plays many different Supporters, needs to find Max Elixirs at the right time, and is designed to set the tempo for the match, the extra “reach” into your deck that a high Trainers’ Mail count provides increases the odds of hitting a crucial Hex Maniac, Professor Kukui, or Max Elixir, while helping to find draw supporters when you are in need of them. Overall, the third Mail is not just a luxury card, but an important asset that gives Darkrai a valuable consistency boost.
3 Fighting Fury Belt
Almost all recent Turbo Darkrai lists have only included 2 Fighting Fury Belt, which I think is too low, considering the importance of a high HP Darkrai for basically every matchup. Being able to afford discarding a Fighting Fury Belt early on is more of a luxury, but the ability to give up to 3 attackers an HP bonus has been incredibly beneficial throughout testing. With 3 Trainers’ Mail, Fighting Fury Belt also becomes very easy to find in the early game. The huge benefit that Fighting Fury Belt provides attackers is integral in Darkrai’s success.
2 Switch, 1 Escape Rope
More often than not, when playing with 0 Switch and 2 Escape Rope in my list, I found it very difficult to find a switching card at the right time. I also did not always want my opponent’s Active Pokemon to switch out, as they could be saving their only viable attacker from being knocked out by Dark Pulse. Both of these issues drove me to include 2 Switch and 1 Escape Rope. Having 2 Switch allows for switching at the right times, and including Escape Rope gives Darkrai an out to Jolteon-EX’s Flash Ray. With consistent switching as an important aspect of Darkrai, increasing the amount of switching cards in the deck was a no-brainer.
Popularized by Chris Siakala when he included this card in his Athens Regional Championship list, Silent Lab has proven to improve the Volcanion and Vespiquen matchups. I chose not to include Silent Lab only because Reverse Valley greatly improves the mirror match by allowing Darkrai to do 220 for one less energy. I also toyed around with the idea of a 2/1 Reverse Valley/Silent Lab split, but Parallel City proved to be a much better one-of Stadium inclusion. If you are expecting lots more Volcanion and Vespiquen than Darkrai, Silent Lab may be a better choice than Reverse Valley.
I originally loved including this card in the list, but I found that it was only helpful if you started with it or got it out within the first two turns. It is also definitely not the Exp. Share target that many people believe it is, as it needs to be Active for a turn or two before using Mad Bull. Overall, I found that Darkrai did not need an attacker that could dish out massive OHKO’s nearly as much as Yveltal does, so I decided to remove it from the list. However, it is still a very strong card that could find its way back into the deck if I find myself in need of a better early/late game attacker.
My friend Jon Eng mentioned this inclusion to me when we were talking about decks to play in Melbourne, and although I am still questioning myself on whether or not it is necessary, it has proven to provide a useful consistency boost. For long tournaments such as Regionals, an inclusion such as this would provide a noticeable difference in consistency throughout the day, but for smaller tournaments such as League Cups, a third Shaymin may not provide much of an advantage.
When first looking through Sun and Moon scans, I noticed Dragonair’s attack, Dragon’s Wish, was basically a Deluge for every energy next turn. As a random Stage 1 line in a deck like Turbo Darkrai would not be very consistent, My friends and I then tried to come up with a different concept using Dragonite as an attacker, along with a few situational attackers that could effectively win matchups on their own. Below is our most recent iteration of the deck, including more consistency cards and a thinner Dragonite line.