It’s kind of ironic that the only deck article I wasn’t able to get published in time before the end of State Championships went on to win the most events! From my research earlier this week, it won at least ten State Championships in the US over the last three weeks, and in the last weekend made up almost half of all the decks across all the Top 4s.
‘Big Basics’ is a pretty simple concept for a deck. It includes a variety of heavy hitting EX Pokemon, that are each useful for different situations, and can cover a variety of match ups. With the release of Hypnotoxic Laser and Virbank City Gym, you can rack up an incredible amount of damage in the first few turns, where you usually aim to overwhelm the opponent’s set up.
Don’t be fooled, Big Basics isn’t just a mix of big EX Pokemon that you can shove together in a deck, and play with relative ease. It’s actually one of the hardest decks at the moment to play correctly, and you’ll always have situations within a game which require a lot of thought.
Landorus EX, Mewtwo EX and Tornadus EX are all viable attacking options in almost any situation, and you’ll need to decide what to spread damage onto with Hammerhead, whether to discard all of Landorus EX’s energy to hit for 150 damage with Land’s Judgement, when to use Hypnotoxic Lasers, and so on. As it is a deck which can run out of steam towards the end of a game, when most other decks such as Keldeo/Blastoise or Rayquaza/Eelektrik are taking one hit knock outs every turn, you’ll need to plan where to take your last few prizes carefully.
This is my current list:
3 Landorus EX
3 Tornadus EX
2 Mewtwo EX
4 Professor Juniper
1 Scramble Switch
4 Pokemon Catcher
4 Hypnotoxic Laser
3 Virbank City Gym
3 Ultra Ball
2 Max Potion
3 Energy Switch
9 Fighting energy
4 Double Colourless energy
Deck List Overview
One of the great things about this deck is that aside from Bouffalant, all of the EX Pokemon are great to start with. Tornadus EX and Landorus EX can easily hit for 60 damage on the first turn, although Mewtwo EX does rely on a Double Colourless energy to X Ball for potentially only 40 damage, putting it at risk of being knocked out by an opposing Mewtwo EX. For this reason, I’ve opted to include only two copies of Mewtwo, as opposed to three of Landorus and Tornadus. Eight EX Pokemon is plenty – your opponent only needs to knock out three to win.
I also decided to include a single Bouffalant. Since the deck already plays four Double Colourless energy and three Energy Switch, getting enough energy onto it is relatively easy. The great thing is that if your opponent does decide to knock it out, they don’t really gain a prize advantage.
They’ll only have EX Pokemon left to knock out, and so will be forced to take a further six prizes, making it seven overall. On the flip side, they won’t want to ignore the Bouffalant either if it’s attacking their EX Pokemon for 120 damage a turn, putting them in an awkward dilemma.
120 damage is also perfect within this deck, as it increases to 150 damage with a Hypnotoxic Laser provided you have a Virbank City Gym in play. Unless your opponent can play a Switch or retreat their active Pokemon, it’ll get knocked out by poison damage going back into your turn. If they can send it to the bench, it’s only a Hammerhead away from getting knocked out.
Scramble Switch is the Ace Spec of choice here, although if you really wanted, Computer Search or Dowsing Machine wouldn’t work too badly either. It’s a great option to move multiple energy around the field at once, and set up a big knock out with Landorus EX or Mewtwo EX.
Max Potion works well alongside it as well, as you can then remove all damage from the Pokemon that you played Scramble Switch on, without having to remove any energy. Three Skyla means you should be able to search out Scramble Switch whenever it is needed, and the fact that it allows you to move Double Colourless energy as well as Fighting energy is a huge bonus.
Three Ultra Ball might seem kind of funny – why don’t I just run four? Well, unlike other decks such as Darkrai or Rayeels, this deck doesn’t have anything it benefits from discarding. In addition, since you run eight EX Pokemon in total and can bench them as soon as they’re drawn into, the deck doesn’t rely on Pokemon search as much as others might. It’s still a useful card in the deck, and helps to drop the hand size before a Bianca, but it’s just not really that important.
Even though some decks try to get away with running two Virbank City Gym, I always prefer the security of a third. Sure, if the opponent plays Virbank City Gym as well then it’s a wasted space, but it’s also a waste to dedicate four spots to Hypnotoxic Laser, if you’re only racking up 10 damage from poison between turns. It’s great at discarding the opponent’s Tropical Beaches early on and putting them under additional pressure to set up quickly, and is also allows Tornadus EX to hit for 60 damage with Blow Through.
The final card I want to talk about is Max Potion, especially since I’ve included two copies in the deck. It may seem a bit of a strange inclusion, but it’s a card I’ve come to love in the last few weeks. Usually, if your Pokemon aren’t getting knocked out in one hit, they’re going to have a considerable amount of damage placed on them – especially with the popularity of Hypnotoxic Laser. Max Potion allows you to wipe all that damage off, and almost render your opponent’s last turn useless. Since all the EX Pokemon in this deck can attack for only one energy attachment, discarding any energy attached isn’t too big a deal either. A surprise Max Potion can completely swing a game, and catch the opponent off guard.
Thoughts on the Deck
Aside from Klinklang and Keldeo/Blastoise (which both seem to be declining in popularity), you have pretty solid matchups across the board, with a very strong matchup against Garbodor since the deck doesn’t rely on any abilities to work. This deck is fast, consistent, and has a great third game in a best of three when time is about to be called. You can expect it to be one of the most popular decks during Regionals considering how successful it was during States, and I’d strongly recommend trying Big Basics out, as well as practising the matchup against it if you opt to play a different deck.