The Regional Championships are just around the corner so it’s time for my first edition of Love/Hate. In this article I go over cards that I think are really good compared to their hype level and are worth a consideration to play in your deck aka “Love.” On the flip side, I also go over cards that are popular in the metagame right now, but I think they are not nearly as good as the credit they are given aka “Hate.”
With just one tournament under our belts in the 2014 season (The Klaczynski Open) it is still relatively unknown what decks are the best, and how to build them. These are the cards that I think winning decks will be based around, or at least include.
I know what you’re thinking. “WHAT!? Computer Search is of course a great card!” I get that and you’re 100% right, but with the rise in popularity of other Ace Spec cards, I feel Computer Search has flown slightly under the radar. Many people are playing Dowsing Machine to get extra counts of Supporters or whatever. People might play Life Dew to prevent a prize card. With Computer Search, it is never bad ever. During the game when you use it, it will always be effective. It will always get a card out of your deck to help you win.
As you saw at the Klaczynski Open, Darkrai/Garbodor is a dominant force in the format and contends with any deck. While knockouts from attacks are less prevalent with HTL, they still happen a lot against Darkrai and Terrakion is a nice 2 Energy return KO on Darkrai. If they don’t deal with it right away, you can get another two prizes by attaching a 3rd Energy. Terrakion is possibly the strongest Darkrai counter.
This remains an important card to play in almost every deck to check many of the overpowered Tools you can play. It discards Life Dew, Silver Bangle, Silver Mirror, Float Stone, Victory Piece, Dark Claw, G-Booster, and many other Tools that don’t see much play. It also turns off Garbodor giving you access to your Abilities, which is huge depending on your deck. This is card is effective against almost every single deck you will play against.
I’ll skip the section on hating Blend Energy and just mention how much I love Basic Energy cards. In Plasma decks, I now believe you need an extensive Basic Energy count to contend for Regionals. Enhanced Hammer is a huge card right now and gives Darkrai a huge advantage against Plasma. Without the ability to Hammer your energies away, Darkrai needs a lot of help to win the matchup. Also let’s not forget the powerful Drifblim cards I expect to see play. Without Special Energy, these Drifblim become almost blank cards.
Drifblim is a Stage 1 that does 50 damage for each Special Energy card in the opponents discard. The best part? It only costs 1 Energy of any type to attack with. Against any Plasma deck, this is the most powerful finisher you can have. The second half of any game versus Plasma will be dominated by this card with the ability to one-hit KO any pokemon on their field. Such a powerful attack for 1 Energy is almost unprecedented in this game.
You can check out Pooka’s thoughts on these cards here: Tech of the Week: Victini EX
While such a low HP EX Pokémon that gives away two prizes, its attacks are fantastic. Turbo Energize can help almost any deck get the ball rolling extremely quickly. Victory Piece will give Victini access to Intensifying Burn much quicker, an attack that absolutely destroys Virizion and Genesect. While Victory Piece seems like an unappealing Ace Spec compared to the others available, running Victini without the Ace Spec is probably sub-optimal and will hinder your deck more than help it.
Switch isn’t the flashiest card on this list by far, but it can be one of the most effective ones. The fear of staying Asleep from Hypnotoxic Laser is something I have nightmares about, and Switch is the perfect remedy. Sure, Keldeo EX is still great with its ability to switch in every turn, effectively saving you space in your deck and giving you a searchable Switch, but Keldeo has a lot of hate right now in this specific format. Garbodor shuts its Ability off and if HTL is used on the Keldeo itself you need another one to save it. You also need a Float Stone on the Keldeo for it to be effective because of the somewhat hefty two retreat cost.
While the cards in this section are at least somewhat hyped, these are cards I consider to not be very effective and you will see these cards much less in winning decks.
Blastoise has an amazing Ability, but without the ability to use it, it becomes very ineffective. There should be a lot of Garbodor at Regionals, and it is an amazing counter to Blastoise. The rise of Darkrai/Garbodor means the fall of Blastoise, and I don’t expect that to change from now until Regionals.
Genesect has a lot of redeeming qualities but the format just doesn’t support it. The attack is almost the exact same as Darkrai’s, but I think Night Spear is slightly better as the 30 damage to the bench is more important (and the ability to be strengthened by Dark Claw). Not to mention Dark Patch is great acceleration for Darkrai while Colress Machine is not as nearly effective. The Ability is also useful, but you are ultimately attaching a Colorless Energy from your hand and not Energy accelerating with Colress Machine. Victini has also seen more play than it did last year and gives Genesect a ton of problems.
While Zebstrika has a powerful effect in disconnect, it has low HP and doesn’t do much damage. A single Night Spear or early KO on a Blitzle will set you back by miles and reduce the chances of victory by a significant margin. A Wartortle or non-Plasma attackers in general also give this card many problems, as Silver Mirror isn’t the strongest Tool right now.
People now fear and are limiting their bench. There are many decks that can run very well now with only a few Benched Pokémon. Another reason for people to limit their bench is Colress. Nobody wants their opponent to draw a ton of cards off of it. Absol’s damage output can be huge at times, but it is usually not worth using attachments on because it poses less and less of a threat the longer it stays on the field.
While the Ability is extremely powerful and can keep you in many games, it gives up two prizes very easily and has no redeeming combat capabilities. Decks that heavily use Level Ball provide Jirachi with a nice home, but most of those decks are much weaker. Jirachi doesn’t have a nice home yet, but future formats could pave the way for the Wish Pokémon.
What did I get right? What did I get wrong? Tell me in the comments or on Twitter @TopCutBen!