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[Article] Next Destinies - A look at the new era

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Roarkiller

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Post Mon Jan 02, 2012 2:01 pm

[Article] Next Destinies - A look at the new era

What this article will include has probably already been discussed to death by both the local community as well as players overseas. Next Destinies brings to us what veteran players have been playing with several years ago; ubers in card form with the drawback of letting your opponent take an extra prize, similar to most Legends, or the beloved Expert Belt, everyone's favourite tool card of yesteryear. But the Pokemon aside, what has gotten the serious players really excited are the slew of new Trainers and Supporters that might be available in time for States, and whether they will break the stagnant engine that is omnipresent in every deck right now.

For the record, let's list out the decks that have been making the top tiers around he world (at least, according to 6P):

Tier 1
-MagneEel
-ZPST

Tier 1.5
-TyRam
-The Truth (basically anything w/ Vileplume/Reuniclus)
-Chandelure
-6Corners

Tier 2
-Durant
-CoKE
-Donphans Dragons
-PrimeTime
-LantEel
-Zeel

Personally, I would drop off the LantEel as I don't think it is a strong enough deck, considering Lanturn's HP. Putting opinions aside though, this article is about how ND will affect our metagame, particularly for States. Let's begin with the card that has the biggest hype at the moment, no thanks to our friends up North in Japan: Mewtwo-EX.

Mewtwo-EX variants

Mewtwo EX – Psychic – HP170
Basic Pokemon

[C][C] EX Ball: Does 20 damage times the number of Energy attached to each player’s Active Pokemon.
[P][P][C] Psycho Drive: 120 damage. Choose 1 Energy attached to this Pokemon and discard it.

Pokemon EX Rule: When Pokemon EX is Knocked Out, your opponent takes 2 Prize cards.

Weakness: Psychic (x2)
Resistance: none
Retreat: 2

It's quite something. With eviolite, it has an effective HP of 190, not something you can OHKO with ease. Fortunately, it's Weakness is simply glaring: mirror matches and Mew Prime will have a heyday on this little beast. The true power of Mewtwo-EX is simply the fact that its main attack, X Ball, effectively makes it a Colorless type, and ANY energy acceleration will work on the beast. The current top contenders are Celebi Prime, combined with SkyArrow Bridge for free retreat, and Eelektrik, for amazing midgame presence. Other engines include Typhlosion Prime, whose strategy with Reshiram speaks for itself, and Gardevoir, who can make any psychic energy turn into a purple DCE. The scary thing about it is that, being a basic that is easily charged up, Seeker/SSU is the last thing your opponent would want to see. Also, with Pokemon Center now a stadium card (previously a Trainer card) and Potion now healing for 30 instead of 20, it is going to take a lot to KO this Frieza reincarnate.

What makes Mewtwo-EX a monster is how it can turn your own strategy against you. Any energy on your field becomes a liability, and even if you act conservatively, Mewtwo's damage cap is already the same as Magnezone and Scizor Prime; that is to say, none. So how do you counter this science freak?

Apart from playing the same deck yourself, Mew Prime comes to mind first. Being a psychic type itself, it can LZ any pokemon that can do a minimum of 90 damage, including a copy of Mewtwo_EX itself, for a one-on-two hard counter. Remember, both of you are OHKOing each other, but Mew does not have the weakness of being an EX. However, you would fall against other decks due to its fragility.

Another method is to play a most unexpected attacker: Yanmega Prime. It requires no energy, thus fears only the energy on Mewtwo itself, while the latter needs to pile up six energies to OHKO Yanmega. A T1 eviolite, however, forces Yanmega to attack at least four times to KO a Mewtwo, and other Pokemon, namely Reshiram, does this more efficiently with Blue Flare.

However, an even better attacker, one that is already making waves today, might be the answer to our problems: Magnezone Prime. As of now, there are no EX pokemon that exceeds the 180HP benchmark, and eviolite only pushes this up to 200HP. Mathematicians can see the asnwer as clear as day: only four energy cards need to be Lost Burned for two prizes. That's two energy cards per prize, which is lesser on average than Magnezone variants need to LZ in today's metagame to OHKO the opponent's main attacker. A fast MagnEel can dish out this much damage easily, and puts the pressure on the Mewtwo-EX player.

In fact, magnezone variants would probably benefit the most from this next set of cards.

Return of the Ball Engine

Ultra Ball – Trainer Item

This card can’t be used unless you discard 2 cards from your hand. Choose 1 Pokemon card from your deck, show it to your opponent, and put it in your hand. Shuffle your deck afterward.

Level Ball – Trainer Item

Choose 1 Pokemon from your deck with HP of 90 or less, show it to your opponent, and put it in your hand. Shuffle your deck afterward.

Heavy Ball – Trainer Item

Choose 1 Pokemon from your deck with a retreat cost of 3 or more, show it to your opponent, and put it in your hand. Shuffle your deck afterward.

Juniper is starting to look better than ever. With trainerlocks on the downward spiral, trainer engines are making a comeback. Ultra Ball is pretty much a limited Computer Search, while Heavy Ball and Level Ball function as a more efficient Pokemon Communication in the right decks. Heavyweights like Magnezone, Donphan and Ability Boar are now easily searchable, increasing their potential even more, while Eelektrik engines become much easier to set up.

Special mention must be made to Ultra Ball, the only really splashable card of the three. Combined with the upcoming Cilan supporter, Eelektrik has an easier time getting Dynomotor to work. In fact, I can envision the future of MagnEel to look something like this:

Pkmn(17)
4-1-3 Magnezone
3-3 Eelektrik
2 Zekrom
1 Smeargle/cleffa

TSS(28)
4 collector
4 juniper
4 N
4 Ultra Ball
4 Junk arm
4 candy
2 switch
2 catcher

13 lightning
2 rescue

In fact this deck list can probably be tweaked for the return of ReshiBoar, utilising Reshiram-EX and victini.

Big is Better

Reshiram EX – Fire – HP180
Basic Pokemon

[R][C][C] Shining Claw: 50 damage. Flip a coin, if heads this attack does an additional 30 damage.
[R][R][C][C] Brave Fire: 150 damage. Flip a coin, if tails this Pokemon also does 50 damage to itself.

Pokemon EX Rule: When Pokemon EX is Knocked Out, your opponent takes 2 Prize cards.

Weakness: Water (x2)
Resistance: none
Retreat: 3

Zekrom EX – Lightning – HP180
Basic Pokemon

[L][C][C] Shining Claw: 50 damage. Flip a coin, if heads this attack does an additional 30 damage.
[L][L][C][C] Strong Volt: 150 damage. Choose 2 Energy attached to this Pokemon and discard them.

Weakness: Fighting (x2)
Resistance: none
Retreat: 3
Pokemon EX Rule: When Pokemon EX is Knocked Out, your opponent takes 2 Prize cards.

Shaymin EX – Grass – HP110
Basic Pokemon

[G] Synthesis: Choose 1 Grass Energy card from your deck and attach it to one of your Pokemon. Shuffle your deck afterward.
[G][C] Revenge Burst: Does 30 damage plus an additional 30 damage times the number of Prize cards your opponent has already taken.

Pokemon EX Rule: When Pokemon EX is Knocked Out, your opponent takes 2 Prize cards.

Weakness: Fire (x2)
Resistance: Fighting (-20)
Retreat: 1

Regigigas EX – Colorless – HP180
Basic Pokemon

[C][C][C] Giga Power: 60 damage. You may do an additional 20 damage. If you do, this Pokemon also does 20 damage to itself.
[C][C][C][C] Raging Hammer: Does 50 damage plus an additional 10 damage times the number of damage counters on this Pokemon.

Pokemon EX Rule: When Pokemon EX is Knocked Out, your opponent takes 2 Prize cards.

Weakness: Fighting (x2)
Resistance: none
Retreat: 4

The dragons return centre stage to wrestle with Mewtwo-EX for top spot. Both can deal a maximum of 150, up from 120 of their current counterparts. Their effects have also been reversed, with Zekrom-EX needing to discard two energy (DCE counts) and Reshiram-EX with a 50-50 chance of a 50-damage recoil. Off the bat, we can already guess their preferred partners: Eelektrik and Fliptini.

The Japanese meta has Zekrom-EX paired with Eelektriks and switches, and sometimes shaymin, along with maxed-out DCE to power up this, er, powerhouse. The deck works very similar to the current TyRam except for its inability to attach to the active. One good thing about the discard is that, like the normal Reshiram, it forces Mewtwo-EX to power itself up for the kill, or else force a 2HKO, and the latter is usually the preferred route given their resources, especially when you consider how neither dragons and OHKO Mewtwo-EX anyway.

Reshiram decks can still work ala TyRam, but the damage induced is certainly no small matter, unless you decide to fit in potion or Pokemon Center. Instead, Ability Boar may be the better option as Reshiram-EX does not need to discard energies to deal its maximum damage. Fliptini reduces your chances of recoil by a large margin, and switch/seeker combo or SSU can help keep it alive for a while, similar to Mewtwo-EX's supposed survival technique.

In the blog Eye on Japan, you may notice some Mewtwo decks sporting a copy of Shaymin-EX or Regigigas-EX. Let's look at the first instance.

Shaymin-EX's first attack is reminiscent of Tangela CL, and can be used, if it starts first, to power up Mewtwo-EX using a Celebi prime engine. But its real value is in its second attack, Revenge Burst. It has a base damage of 30 that increases by the same amount for every prize your opponent takes, which means by end game, it can swing up to 180 damage, enough to OHKO anything without eviolite. This surprise factor, especially when combined with the supporter N to force a dead hand on your opponent, can easily turn the game in your favour. Think of it as Bouffalant's Revenge attack for late games. And while we're at it, throw in a Black Belt for extra measure if you wish.

The first translation of Regigigas-EX had everybody scrambling to find ways to utilise its Giga Power attack for a first-turn KO. After the correction, people then started looking at its other attack. Raging Hammer is a familiar attack for those playing any variation of the dragons; in fact, it is an almost exact copy of Outrage. With the same whopping 180HP, Regigigas can sure take a hit, and Raging Hammer is a guaranteed threat to any of the dragons or Mewtwo-EX. Unfortunately, the attack cost is equally scary, and because of the nature of the attack, fails as a surprise revenge attacker, and instead works as a staller.

How it affects the current meta

Many people are wondering how Next Destinies is going to affect the current meta. Can the big three (Tyram, Magneel, ZPST) still hold its own? Are rogue decks forever dead? Is there any chance of me using Durant again?

Thinking back to the Holon era where the original ex-pokemon reached their peak, it may come as a surprise to know that, while the ex-pokemon dominated, others still stood a pretty damn decent chance. This is because of the way the ex-pokemon and EX-pokemon work: they gave up TWO prizes upon KO. Or maybe because the speedster of that era, Banette-ex, only had 90HP.

So let's look at some simple math.

All the EX-pokemon can be equipped with eviolite, so we will assume they have one on them in a worst-case scenario situation.

Mewtwo-EX: 170HP (190 w/ eviolite)
Zekrom-EX: 180HP (200 w/ eviolite)
Reshiram-EX: 180HP (200 w/ eviolite)
Regigigas-EX: 180HP (200 w/ eviolite)
Shaymin-EX: 110HP (130 w/ eviolite)

This is how much damage you need to do to OHKO any of them. Shaymin-EX is the only exception, although this fact is negated as it is usually used as a late-game sweeper. For the rest, take into account that that you get two prizes per KO. The math thus stands as such:

Mewtwo-EX: 90 per prize (110 w/ eviolite)
Zekrom-EX: 90 per prize (110 w/ eviolite)
Reshiram-EX: 90 per prize (110 w/ eviolite) assume heads on Brave Fire
Regigigas-EX: 90 per prize (110 w/ eviolite)

Suddenly the matchup looks pretty winnable. Assuming no healing, Any of the current meta decks can deal the required damage every turn, even Tornadus with a pluspower. The challenge instead becomes recyclability of attackers, or how you to constantly deal as much damage turn after turn. It's basically a race against the clock: six prizes in six turns. Black Belt is starting to look good, isn't it?

Tyram probably has the easiest time dealing with new decks not named Mewtwo. It has already proven its ability to recycle Reshirams turn after turn without fail, so long as two Typhlosions are at the ready. Even after two Afterburners, Reshiram still has a relatively healthy HP of 110, forcing Mewtwo-EX to load up five energies to OHKO Reshiram. That's quite a lot of resources. And with a Pluspower/Rocky Helmet, a non-eviolited (wow, new word created) Reshiram-EX fears an instant revenge KO should the player flip a tails on Brave Fire (120+10+50=180).

Having an easier time is Magnezone prime. The only prime still standing in the Tier 1 bracket is also the only prime any of the new EX-pokemon fears. Not only can Magnezone one-shot any of them with ease, it does so with better efficiency than against its current opponents. Two LZed energy per prize is efficient indeed, and even more so against Shaymin-EX should it have the unfortunate moment of being on the field early game. One note, however, its that it is obviously not an easy job powering up Lost Burn. Four energy cards can't come from nowhere. The amount of resources to pull off KO after KO is very straining, unless you're running Magneboar, and let's face it, who still does?

And what about ZPST, that donk machine? Sadly, unless it can pull the donk, I don't believe it will have much of a future. Its engine only works for early game, and as proven in the current meta, struggles as the game wears on, and this is something that will definitely come to pass as these super tankers stare down at them.

Ross decks? Dead. A tanker that can't tank is... meh. At least Chandelure can inflict status, and has a decent chance against Mewtwo-EX due to weakness.

CoKE and 6Corners, now this is a hard one. Rumours are that these two decks are holding out well in Japan against the new decks. I still don't trust either decks nor have much experience in them, so unfortunately, I cannot comment. However, Cobalion, the MVP for both decks, has psychic resistance, and at least makes the battle with Mewtwo-EX favourable. Eviolites and resistance already puts its effective HP at 160, and special metal jacks it up to a maximum of 200HP. Not to mention that Energy Press is a hard counter to X Ball.

And yes, I will definitely talk about that miserable insect, the destroyer of dreams, the irritant of players. I'm talking about Durant, of course.

Durant is the oddball here. It is considered a Tier 2 deck due to its immense reliance on luck (crushing hammer, content of devour, etc), and its only saving grace happens to be the fact that it doesn't need to take prizes to win, and that most Durant decks play Lost Remover (if you haven't noticed by now, almost all EX-pokemon relies on DCE). Otherwise, eviolite is close to redundant except against Mewtwo-EX where it has a marginal advantage due to resistance, and catcher loses its efficiency with the introduction of SkyArrow Bridge. It can run counter stadiums, of course, or include techs like Hypno, and this has become the trademark of Durant: its ability to run amazing amounts of tech to deal with any situation. Otherwise, it's 50/50 as usual, and is why it will forever remain second tier. The Zekrom-EX matchup is pretty good though, if the opponent does not run normal Zekroms as backup.

Overall I feel that, while the new set will have a considerable impact on the metagame, it will not be as bad as most people envisioned it to be. Current meta decks simply need to be tweaked to deal with the new threats, and that's something that is easily done.
Last edited by Roarkiller on Mon Jan 02, 2012 2:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Lockerkey

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Post Mon Jan 02, 2012 2:11 pm

Re: [Article] Next Destinies - A look at the new era

I was abt to the same as you but you beat me to it >.<
Anyways what you said abt coke and 6 corner doing well in japan is true. This is because the meta there is mostly mewtwo ex. Both the decks above have coballion which is able to somehow hold off mewtwo with the psy resistance, eviolites and sp metal. If mewtwo wants to xball you, you just energy press them^^
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Roarkiller

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Post Mon Jan 02, 2012 2:29 pm

Re: [Article] Next Destinies - A look at the new era

Edited with new info. Thanks!
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woonweiseng

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Post Tue Jan 03, 2012 11:12 pm

Re: [Article] Next Destinies - A look at the new era

Really great post. Thank you for, in a few minutes, allowing me to touch base with much of what I need to know about ND. Too bad I cant like your post :D
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Seabourch

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Post Wed Jan 04, 2012 2:09 pm

Re: [Article] Next Destinies - A look at the new era

Bring on the return of the EX!!! Good analysis of the possible new metagame from February 2012 onwards.
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Post Thu Jan 05, 2012 6:57 pm

Re: [Article] Next Destinies - A look at the new era

Theorymon only, but I think 6-corners will die out soon. Its strategy - tanking with high HP attackers and denying cheap prizes - suddenly gets flipped inside-out with the very hyped Reshiram/Zekrom-EXs doing 150 every turn. The same goes for Chandelure, which will probably decrease in popularity due to getting out-sped by the Dragons.
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Post Wed Jan 18, 2012 4:07 pm

Re: [Article] Next Destinies - A look at the new era

Has anyone considered that psychic decks may see more play thanks to Gardevoir from ND? Its ability allows one psychic energy to provide 2, though you can only use it like once per turn. I can think that Mewtwo EX definitely benefits from this. But, how about Gengar Prime, a once hyped card that eventually fizzled out because it was too slow? Hurl into Darkness is probably more viable now because for two psychic, you can hurl up to 4 pokemon into the Lost Zone and if you're lucky, get a win after two hurls using Lost World. Could Gengar Prime return as some sort of rogue deck in the form of Lostgar?
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Post Wed Jan 18, 2012 4:17 pm

Re: [Article] Next Destinies - A look at the new era

A list i seen in deckout or forget where consist of only 7 pokemon : 4 Celebi and 3 Mewtwo EX. If gengar is against this deck = GG, no? =p
But yea maybe gengar prime will return.
Gardevoir's ability means every psychic energy can be doubled, but cannot be tripled by stacking effects of gardevoir.
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Post Wed Jan 18, 2012 4:21 pm

Re: [Article] Next Destinies - A look at the new era

Seabourch wrote:Has anyone considered that psychic decks may see more play thanks to Gardevoir from ND? Its ability allows one psychic energy to provide 2, though you can only use it like once per turn. I can think that Mewtwo EX definitely benefits from this. But, how about Gengar Prime, a once hyped card that eventually fizzled out because it was too slow? Hurl into Darkness is probably more viable now because for two psychic, you can hurl up to 4 pokemon into the Lost Zone and if you're lucky, get a win after two hurls using Lost World. Could Gengar Prime return as some sort of rogue deck in the form of Lostgar?

Do keep in mind that you're trying to bring out TWO Stage 2 Pokemon, and in a format with Pokemon Catcher running rampant, you cannot do it without giving up some cheap prizes. I suggest running Pichu and plenty of Twins (at least 3).
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Post Wed Jan 18, 2012 4:24 pm

Re: [Article] Next Destinies - A look at the new era

Or mewgar to speed everything up.
Twins will be the best to utilise, paired with maybe N for disruption. Since mew have fragile hp, twins will be of the best use.
maybe mimejr+slowking too LOL
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