The presence of lock decks using Special Conditions have become a lot more popular in the last few months, with Vanilluxe and Accelgor in particular performing well at Battle Roads and various National Championships. Although Vanilluxe has probably seen more play, several players used a variant of Accelgor with Vileplume and Chandelure at different National Championships, and although none were able to go all the way, it was certainly proved to be an underrated deck.
Provided you can get that lock in place, there are very little ways for the opponent to outplay you considering the majority of their options are shut off from a lack of Trainers and their active Pokemon being paralysed. Manipulating the damage from Chandelure and the poision that Accelgor places means that you can always ensure that their defending Pokemon gets knocked out just before you start your turn, meaning you can continue the lock without giving them the opportunity to attack.
Even though I’ve talked about it in a HGSS-on format there, I didn’t really see the point of writing an article about that variant of the deck, as most people won’t find it useful. Considering that it’s a slow deck to set up, it’s not a good play for the Last Chance Qualifier which only has a 45 minute Best of Three, and most readers probably aren’t going to Hawaii anyway.
Instead, I’m going to talk about the BW-on varient that I’ve been testing, and whether the deck can still keep pace with the rotation of Vileplume. I haven’t included any cards from the upcoming set as there hasn’t been a definite set list yet, but I’ll talk about any additions to the deck later in this article.
First of all, here’s my current deck list:
2 Darkrai EX
4 Darkness Energy
4 Double Colourless Energy
4 Professor Juniper
3 Level Ball
3 Ultra Ball
1 Pokemon Communication
2 Pokemon Catcher
1 Super Rod
4 Rare Candy
2 Random Receiver
The concept of this deck is pretty simple, although it may take several turns to set up. You ideally want a Gothitelle active as soon as possible, in order to slow down the opponent and stop them using any Trainer cards such as Pokemon Catcher to disrupt any supporting Pokemon on your bench.
Once you’ve evolved and set up the right Pokemon, you can retreat Gothitelle for free if it has a Dark energy attached thanks to Darkrai EX’s ability. Because of this, you can send out an Accelgor and use ‘Deck and Cover’ to hit for 50 damage, paralyse and confuse the Defending Pokemon, before shuffling Accelgor back into the deck and promoting Gothitelle active again. Thanks to it’s ability, the opponent can’t use any cards such as Switch to send their paralysed Pokemon to the bench, and unless they’re able to evolve it, they can only pass to your turn, allowing you to use ‘Deck and Cover’ again from another Accelgor to continue the lock.
The idea is that the opponent can only attack when you knock out one of their Pokemon, either on your turn or between those turns with poison damage. They can then send out one of their benched Pokemon and attack your active Gothitelle, before being locked in place again. It’s worth mentioning that although it’s difficult to pull off in theory without the help of Chandelure or PlusPower, if you can ensure that their Pokemon is knocked out from poison when they end their turn, you can avoid giving them that opportunity to use a single attack and gain even more of an advantage. Most Pokemon cannot knock out a Gothitelle in one attack, meaning that you typically knock out two Pokemon in the time that they can knock out a single Gothitelle. This isn’t entirely true with cards like Mewtwo EX, but then you can always just lock them in place for two prize cards when they’re knocked out, so it’s essentially the same principle.
Using your bench spaces smartly is key to making this deck work, because it falls apart even with just one taken up from an unessential Pokemon. I always aim to have two Gothitelle, two Shelmet/Accelgor, one Musharna and one Darkrai EX on the field at one time. Having a second Gothitelle is important as you can always replace another that has been knocked out, and continue the Trainer lock. Not even considering how much denying the opponent the use of Switch helps, depriving any deck of it’s Trainers will give it huge issues in setting up, and using Supporter cards such as Bianca which require a low hand count. Even one turn where the opponent can use those cards can swing the game around in their favour. A backup Shelmet or Accelgor is pretty self explanatory, as you’ll be shuffling one into your deck on that turn, and need another to be able to continue the lock on the following turn.
The final point I want to talk about is the use of Musharna in this deck, and high counts of cards such as Ultra Ball and Professor Juniper, which can quickly deplete the deck. In this deck, it’s essential that you try and make your deck as thin as possible, by the time you begin to chain Accelgor. There’s no danger of decking out, as Accelgor adds three cards to your deck count each turn, meaning that running with zero cards in your deck is actually ideal and sustainable.
Having little cards in your deck means that you should have a greater chance of drawing back into any Shelmet, Accelgor or Double Colourless energy that you shuffled in, to continue the lock. If you can try to use other cards when you draw into them, such as Switch or Level Ball for example, your deck should primarily just be your remaining Shelmet, Accelgor and Double Colourless energy by the end of the game. Musharna’s draw gives you an opportunity to dig through more of your deck each turn, and considering you need to keep drawing into several cards each turn to cycle Accelgor, this is perfect in helping you to do that.
Problems the Deck Faces:
I want to stress that this section should in no way put you off playing the deck. If you’re able to set up and chain Accelgors consistently every turn, you’re extremely likely to go on and win that match. This concept applies to pretty much any deck you’ll come across, and rather than assuming particular matchups for each archtype, this points will usually determine how likely you are to win that game.
Getting set up quickly
It goes without saying that this deck has a lot of Pokemon to set up, and with each one being so key to the deck’s success, it’s a big problem if the opponent is able to disrupt your field. Your biggest priority should always be setting up a Gothitelle first, as this will slow the opponent down with it’s Trainer Lock, and also block any Pokemon Catchers helping to knock out Pokemon on your bench. Don’t be afraid to drop a couple of prizes to set up your field, as long as you’re confident you can make back those losses later on.
The problem of timed rounds is a well documented problem for decks which take more time to set up, but the recent changes to Battle Roads actually make this a lot less of a problem. If you’re unaware, it’s been decided that Battle Roads won’t have any Top Cut, and the Swiss standings after the final round will decide the winner. Playing in Best of One Swiss suits this deck as thirty minutes and three extra turns afterwards is plenty of time to at least draw level with the opponent.
After the hype surrounding Vanilluxe leading up to Nationals, a lot of players decided to tech Espeon into their decks, and some may continue to run it for Battle Roads. Espeon’s ability means that any effects from your attacks don’t have any effect on the Defending Pokemon.. meaning you’re just dealing 50 damage a turn, without any special conditions. Don’t worry though, because a card coming out in the next set will help to deal with that problem, and I’ll talk more about it later on.
Maintaining the lock throughout a game
To constantly cycle Accelgor, you need to draw into three cards each turn – Shelmet, Accelgor and Double Colourless energy. You draw into one card from the start of your turn, and another from Musharna, leaving you one short. This isn’t usually a problem since you’ll typically have a large hand towards the end of the game with several of those cards already in it, or other cards such as Level Ball which can be used to search out any needed cards, but the longer the game goes on, the more likely you are to be forced to break the lock. Once again, don’t worry too much because that card I mentioned before also helps in this situation as well!
What to Add to the Deck from Dragons Exalted
Although there are different Trainers and Supporters which could potentially work well in this deck, I’m just going to cover the main two Pokemon which will definitely find a way into my deck list at least.
This is the card I was talking about earlier, which helps the deck combat a lot of problems it currently faces. Mew EX’s ability allows it to copy the attack of any Pokemon currently on the field, or a benched Accelgor in our situation. Since Mew EX is a Basic Pokemon, this makes it a huge deal easier to continue that lock each turn, as there’s no need to search out both a Shelmet and Accelgor.
It’s disadvantage of giving up two prizes when knocked out isn’t an issue either, as the opponent should never get the chance to do so, since you’ll just shuffle it back into the deck. Thanks to it’s Psychic type, it’s also perfectly equipped to deal with Espeon, and can knock it out in one attack. The deck plays two Pokemon Catcher, giving the opportunity to drag out an Espeon and knock it out, before locking the opponent again. You can then send out a Gothitelle into the active position, and prevent them from playing any Super Rod to shuffle Espeon back into the deck.
Ever since the rotation of both Dual Ball and Pokemon Collector, all decks have problems searching out Basic Pokemon, but this deck particularly misses that considering all the different Pokemon it needs to set up. Since you don’t usually attack for the first turn or two, or have a Gothitelle set up, it makes sense to use Emolga’s ‘Call for Family’ to search for two Basic Pokemon each time to put onto your bench. It might be a good idea to add another Switch to the deck, to help retreat whatever Pokemon you start with active, and still have an energy attachment for that turn to use on Emolga. The only small problem I see is if it’s stuck on your field and taking up a spot, so try and bait the opponent into knocking it out if possible.