Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Pokemon League Deck - Dark/Bats

Here I'm going to take a look at my "Dark/Bats" League deck, but before I do, let start off by defining what I mean by a "League Deck".  Simply put, they are WIP decks intended for playing in the local Pokemon League, which can be a great spot to test out decks against a very broad spectrum of players.  As such, these league decks, while some may have roots in competitive deck styles, they may be a bit un-optimized, and could use some tweaking.  Some may even be just for fun.  Regardless, they are decks and deck concepts I'm enjoying, experimenting with, and will continue to further develop and tweak.  That is something I really enjoy in any card game, starting with a base deck, and continually developing it along the way... There you have it!  Now when you hear me refer to one of my decks as a "League Deck" you will now kind of know what I mean.  With that out the way, here's my "Dark/Bats" League Deck...


Pokemon: 20
2x Malamar EX (PF)
4x Zubat (PF)
4x Golbat (PF)
4x Crobat (PF)
3x Yveltal (XY)
2x Absol (ROS)
1x Darkrai EX

Trainers: 27
1x Teammates
3x Ultra Ball
4x AZ
4x VS Seeker
1x Professor's letter
2x Trainer's Mail
2x Repeat Ball
4x Shauna
4x Professor Sycamore
2x Sky Field

Energy: 13
13x Dark Energy

The basic premise:
Use Malamar's ability to keep the opponent's active pokemon asleep while flipping for his attacks.  The Bats will snipe the bench and provide pressure.  If the flips are on your side, it can shut an entire deck down.

Yveltal - honestly, I didn't realize I had 3 in the deck, so I could cut out 1, if not 2.  He's a decent start since he can hit for 30 off 1 energy, but his main purpose is to grab energy from the discard pile to put into a benched malamar.

Absol - I've cut him down to 2, but honestly I could lose 1 more.  He obviously is just there to shuffle around the damage tokens, and every now and then I've been snipe someone from the bench with one when I know a single MAXamar flip will knock out the opponent's active.

Darkrai EX - He's the only non-XY+ pokemon, so honestly he could be dropped to fit into the future standard format.  He's there for his ability to grant free retreats, but his attack isn't too shabby either, 90 to the active 30 to the benched.  Great for sniping the bench.

The Bats- I'm still running 4/4/4, and the deck utilizes a lot of tricks to try get the most from em.  Typically I just use these guys to snipe the bench, but I'm not above attacking the active if there are no targets. (Usually because my opponent is playing reserved, or they are just close to losing anyway). I also rely on these guys when my opponent presents itself with a Pokemon that cannot be hurt by EXs'.

Malamar EX - As I mentioned, he's the main attacker.  Try and keep the opponent's active asleep, stacking energy to maximize his attacks.  Again, the whole deck is really "flippy", so you gotta be prepared for that aspect of it.  Darkrai can let him return to the bench easily, and Yveltal can help set one on your bench should someone knock one out or you AZ a damaged one back to your hand.

Teammates - I LOVE Teammates and will almost always find a place in every deck for at least 1!  Being able to search for the exact 2 cards you need once an opponent has knocked out a Pokemon can really just swing the tide back into your favor.

Ultra Ball - Pretty standard.  I'll grab a Malamar if I do not have one out, Darkrai if I think I'll need some retreat options, but mostly I just end up grabbing something from the bat line.

AZ - I love this guy with bats!  Once I get multiple bats going, I'm able to stagger the bats in a way that replacing the Zubat, evolving a different Zubat to Golbat, then evolving yet another different Golbat into Crobat.  The trick is making sure you stagger them, so that each evolution has stayed in play 1 turn. Next turn, I'll repeat the whole process with a different Crobat.  In this way, damage stacks up quick!

VS Seeker - Just a generally useful item!  Originally, the plan was just to use them to grab AZ, but I often end up using them for Sycamores (or Shaunas) as well.

Professor's Letter - Another just generally useful card that I tend to put 1 of in most of decks.  Never underestimate the ability to just grab 2 energy whenever you need it!

Repeat Ball - This is something I've been experimenting with, and is used for grabbing bats to set up that AZ-bat-stagger I mentioned earlier. 2x may not be enough though, I'd experiment with adding more copies once cuts get made.

Shauna/Sycamore - Hand resets.  It seems like my starting hands especially tend to kind of stink, and even throughout the game, a good "hand reset" crucial.  I'll Shauna if I have something good that I would like to see again later, or I'll Sycamore if my hand is low, stinks, or if I just think in general I could use the extra cards he grants over shauna.

Sky Field - I really couldn't come up with a good stadium, but I still wanted a way to get rid of an opponent's beneficial stadium if need be.  Sky field does have the benefit of allowing me to get out 4 bats, Darkrai, Yveltal, and still have room to throw down an Absol...

Basic Dark Energy -  Here's where I struggle.  I'm running 13 energy, though most competitive decks I see run 10 or less.  I still cannot wrap my head around how they do it, and not have getting "energy starved" cost them games at events.  Maybe it's just a courage thing, maybe I just need more faith in the "hand resets" and energy retrieval methods I mentioned above.  The idea of building up an active, only to lose him, and not be able to fully build up a second one worries me.  Maybe, I could lose a few energy here, as I just went with 13 simply for the "unlucky" connotation the number has, it just seemed fitting.

Conclusions I've made:
As mentioned above, this isn't meant to be a highly competitive deck, and with the exception of Darkrai, it is meant to be XY-onward.  It's really "flippy", which is not everyone's cup of tea.  When things flip in your favor, it's brutal, when they don't, well... GG.  Regardless, it's a fun little deck in my opinion!  One thing I think I would change would be to add in a couple copies of Lysandre, as being able to pull up a pokemon for malamar to take out could be really helpful.

What changed would YOU make?  Let me know how the deck performs at your local games!

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