Nationals is one of the biggest events in the competitive TCG field. It is literally one of the final chances for people to gather enough Championship Points in order to make it to the world stage known as the World Championships. It is hosted every year in Indianapolis, Indiana on July 4th weekend. This is the competition where you will see players using the time and true decks that everybody have seen but you may also see some surprising new things.
Even better, this year’s Nationals is the last open competition for players to compete using cards in this current rotation. So there are many impressive things that could be played to make this a Nationals to remember. It was because of this that I decided to take my favorite and one of my long lasting decks to Nationals. It was going to be the last time I could ever use this deck in such a competition and I wanted to see how well it does on such a high competitive play level. No more League playing for this deck. It was time to bring it to the national stage and see how well it does.
This week on TCG Jump, we are going to recap my Nationals experience using Plasma Klinklang and how it made Metal glow slightly blue and my opponent red. So keep reading in order to find out how we were able to put the petal to the metal at Nationals.
My deck of choice for Nationals was Plasma Klinklang with Metal. I have been playing with Plasma Klinklang since it was introduce in 2012 with various Metal Pokemon in the deck. I even used the HeavyMetal variant of the deck when it became popular after in won 2014 Texas States. Because I have been playing it for so long, I am experienced when it comes to setting up Plasma Klinklang and using it.
Plasma Klinklang’s ability PlasmaSteel gives all Metal Pokemon immunity from damage by EX Pokemon. This ability is pretty useful when you have a metagame that is filled with EX Pokemon ready to tear decks apart. Especially with so many Mega and Primal Pokemon which also count as EX Pokemon. Plasma Klinklang never became popular to use but I always loved using it because it can really put your opponent in a situation where they are forced to play a non-EX Pokemon which are much easier to knock out.
Below is the decklist for my most recent version of PlasmaSteel which I call: Return of Blue Steel
Klink x2 (PLS 88)
Klang x2 (PLS 89)
Klinklang x2 (PLS 90)
Aegislash EX x3
Cobalion EX x1
Dialga EX x1 (PHF 62)
Jirachi EX x1
Keldeo EX x1
Professor Juniper x4
Pokemon Fan Club x2
VS Seeker x2
Ultra Ball x3
Startling Megaphone x1
Muscle Band x2
Float Stone x2
Steel Shelter x3
Computer Search x1
The whole purpose of this deck is to set up Plasma Klinklang and deny my opponent from taking prizes. By using Plasma Klinklang’s PlasmaSteel ability, I make it impossible for my opponent to knock out my Pokemon using EX Pokemon. I also use Aegislash EX to help deny prizes by using his Mighty Shield ability. Aegislash EX in the active means that my opponent can’t harm it by using Pokemon that have special energy attached to them. When all my defenses are set up, that means my opponent can’t attack me using EX Pokemon or use any special energy. Both of which is popular in the game right now. So in the end, the only Pokemon my opponent can attack me with are normal Pokemon with basic energy attached.
The main attackes in this deck is Aegislash EX and it is my prefer opener Pokemon. If I start the game with Aegislash EX in the active then I am already putting pressure on my opponent to find some basic energy in order to damage it. That means fan favorite special energy like Double Colorless Energy and Strong Energy can’t be used to hurt Aegislash EX. If Aegislash EX lives long enough to get three Metal energy attached to him then he can use Slash Blast for 100 damage. By the time this happens, Plasma Klinklang is already up and the opponent can’t use EX Pokemon to damage Aegislash EX. If my opponent does switch out their damaged EX Pokemon then I can use Slash Blast one more time to take my first knockout.
Cobalion EX and Dialga EX are both in the deck as back-up attackers and techs. Cobalion EX can knock off special energy attached to my opponent’s active Pokemon using Righteous Edge attack to slow them down. If my opponent has a Seismitoad EX with a DCE then I can knock that off. Cobalion EX also has Steel Bullet which does 100 damage and can go though any effects including Safeguard. One Steel Bullet attack can knock out a Safeguard Pokemon and two can knock out an EX Pokemon. Dialga EX has Chrono Wind which prevents my opponent’s EX Pokemon from attacking next turn. This can be useful when there is a raging EX Pokemon and can be used to stop Seismitoad EX from shutting down items. Lastly, Dialga EX has the powerful Heavy Metal Impact to do 150 damage to knock out or do heavy damage to EX and Mega Pokemon.
Keldeo EX is in this deck to help get my heavy Pokemon out of the active and to refuel them using Bronzong. This combination is quite common when you use Bronzong who can pull Metal Energy from the discard to attach to any of your benched Pokemon by using Metal Links. Keldeo EX uses it’s Rush In ability to push itself into the active. If you have a Float Stone then you can easily retreat Keldeo EX and put in a charged up attacker thanks to Bronzong. The ideal number of Bronzong that you want on the bench is two. That way you can power up an Aegislash EX, Cobalion EX or Dialga EX to attack using Metal Links twice and simply attach a Metal energy from your hand.
Keldeo EX is also useful in making sure that Klinklang or Bronzong doesn’t stay in the active for long by an opponent’s attempt to stall out a match or take out Klinklang. That happens so many times that I am expecting this to happen in every game.
The Trainer lineup is to help get Klinklang up and keep the gears spinning. Pokemon Fan Club can be used to get Bronzong and Klink (or two) early game. It can also help get an Aegislash EX or Keldeo EX in order to help set up some future plays. Wally and Evosoda is used to help get Plasma Klinklang up quickly. If I have a hand with Wally and Evosoda on my second turn then that means Klinklang can be on the field on turn two. Simply use an Evosoda to evolve Klink into Klang then use Wally to pull out Klinklang and evolve. Rare Candy may be a better play in order to get a turn two Klinklang but it is also blocked by Seismitoad EX’s Quaking Punch. Also, I can use Evosoda and Wally later in the game to evolve my Bronzor into Bronzong.
AZ is in the deck to help me pick up Pokemon that are heavily damaged. It is just another way for me to deny my opponent of prizes. Sometimes they will come close to knock out an Aegislash EX and I need one more attack to finish them off. So I just use AZ to bring up the heavily damaged Aegislash EX into my hand and discard the energy attached to him. Then I put something with a Float Stone in the active. Once that is done, I place the Aegislash EX back in play and use Metal Links to attach the discarded energy and put an energy from my hand on to him. Retreat the active Pokemon and attack with a fresh Aegislash EX.
The rest of the Trainer line is pretty normal. Startling Megaphone is in the deck to discard items from my opponent. Especially items on Garbodor to regain my abilities and G Booster from Genesect which can cut though PlasmaSteel. Steel Shelter is in here to make sure that my Metal Pokemon can’t be poisoned by Hypnotoxic Laser.
This is basically a Metal deck with Klinklang. The difference is that this deck plays much more defensive and slower then normal Metal. This could lead to some problems in the best-out-of-three-sixty minute format that is used at Nationals. That means I need to win my first game and force the second game to into time so I can be declared the winner of the match. Either that or just force a tie or hope that my opponent scooped in our second and third game thanks to Klinklang and my defensive plays. Either way, my goal was to set up Klinklang and take out any Pokemon that can do damage to my Pokemon. That way my opponent can be in a hopeless situation with all their EX Pokemon that can’t hurt me.
So lets see how this deck preformed on the National Stage. There were plenty of decks that I expected to play and some of them I knew I had a great match up once Klinklang was set up and others I knew were going to be a struggle. Either way I had plans to handle them. I just had to make sure I get my gears going in my nine rounds.
Round One: Vs Night March
The Night March deck was something I was worried about but knew I could handle it if I play my cards right. I still had to get Plasma Klinklang up because I know that Night March play Mew EX to do the majority of their attacking. I also needed to make sure Aegislash EX was always in the match to make sure they can’t use Pokemon with Special Energy to attack it. That way I can force out a Joltik or Pumpkaboo to do the attacking.
What end up happening in my first game was that nothing got set up and Klinklang was taken out early in the game. My opponent had set up a Pumpkaboo with two Fighting Energy and knocked out Klinklang and made sure to take out an Aegislash and another EX Pokemon. I was able to put up some sort of fight by having Aegislash EX knocking out a Mew EX and Pumpkaboo but he fell quickly along side with some of my other Pokemon. In the end, my opponent was down to his last prize and all I had was two Aegislash and praying to draw into some Metal energy to mount one last attack. Apparently that was all I needed because my opponent scooped knowing that he had no more basic energy in this deck and his Pokemon with DCE attached can’t attack my Aegislash EX duo to take his final prize. So I won my first round.
The second game went much better. I was able to set up Klinklang quickly and a few Bronzong. I was able to power up an Aegislash EX to use Slash Blast. My opponent used his Lysandre once again to pull up Klinklang and knocked it out using Pumpkaboo and allow him the use of Mew EX. I retaliated back with Aegislash EX but made sure to wipe off his Pokemon with basic energy. I did that a few more times and my opponent conceded knowing that he couldn’t hurt my Aegislash EX.
Result: Win (1-0-0)
Round Two: Vs Fighting-Mega Man Trash
My second round was against Micheal Pramawat. You may know him from his contributions on The Top Cut. Micheal was playing a deck that ran Pokemon M Manentric EX to power up his Fighting Pokemon such as Lucario EX and Terrakion. Lastly, it had Garbodor which shuts down all abilities.
This would have been an easy match up for me if it wasn’t for the Garbodor which shut down my Klinklang’s PlasmaSteel ability. I tried my best to turn off Garbotoxin ability by using Startling Megaphone and knocking it out but it just keep coming back. Micheal used his M Manentric EX and Terrakion to break my gears and shatter our metal. It was my quickest match that day.
Result: Lost (1-1-0)
Round Three: Vs Metal
Some may say this is a mirror match but I disagree. This match is against a deck that has plenty of options for attackers and that is what made the difference.
I tried to set up Klinklang to stop the EX Metal Pokemon from attacking me but my opponent got around that by using Kecleon who is a Basic Pokemon and can use any attack that is on my active Pokemon as long as it has the energy to do it. Because we were playing similar decks, his Kecleon had all it needed to use my Pokemon’s attacks against me. He was able to trap my Klinklang in the active and use Heavy Bullet twice to knock it out and gain the use of his EX Pokemon. He didn’t really need them and his deck was quick enough to retaliate against anything I sent up.
I tried to play my deck as if it was a normal Metal deck in both matches after Klinklang was taken down but my opponent’s Metal deck was too fast and flexible.
Result: Lost (1-2-0)
Round Four: Vs Mew-Rats
My first thoughts when I saw this deck was who would bring Mew EX and Raticate to Nationals. I then realize that I had to take this match serious if I wanted climb my way back up.
This was a tough match up. Raticate has an attack called Super Fang that puts damage counters on the opponent’s Pokemon until all that is left is 10 HP. The idea behind Mew-Rats is to use Mew EX to copy this attack to put damage counters on the opponent’s Pokemon and then use Hypnotoxic Laser to take the knock out. It is a deadly combo that can catch players off guard if you didn’t know what was happening.
The worst part is that this combo can get though my Plasma Klinklang-Aegislash EX defense. Plasma Klinklang doesn’t and Aegislash EX doesn’t provide protection from my opponent’s attacks if they are just laying down damage counters.
That means my only way to take out this deck is to make sure there are no Raticates for Mew EX to copy this attack. That is what I did my my first match against this deck. I used Lysandre to bring up all the Raticate and Rattata into the active and used Aegislash EX to take them out. After that, my opponent had nothing but EX Pokemon which couldn’t harm my Metal Pokemon so he conceded.
My second match didn’t go as planned as I couldn’t knock out the Raticate and I fell defenseless against the Mew EX who kept on using Super Fang and the Hypnotoxic Laser. Steel Shelter would have helped against this match up but I couldn’t keep them on the field long enough to prevent the poison damage. So my opponent won game two.
We took so long with our first two matches and didn’t have enough time to knock out six Pokemon. So we had to tie this round.
Result: Tie (1-2-1)
Round Five: Vs Groudon-Fighting Trash
This was the match up that I wanted to play against all day. A deck that was filled with Fighting EX Pokemon that were defenseless against my mighty Klinklang defense. I had my Aegislash EX in the active and was able to set up Klinklang up quickly. His Lucario EX couldn’t do anything to my Pokemon. My opponent held on until the end in hopes to get his deck going but Aegislash EX cleaned things up.
Our second match was something completely different. My opponent set down a Groudon EX and Trubbish which was absent from our previous match. That got me scared and I knew I had to set up quickly to get as much out of PlasmaSteel as I can while finding a way to get rid of Trubbish before it evolved into Garbodor. Luckily, the draws were not in my opponent’s favor as he never set up his Garbodor. Once I set up Aegislash EX to attack, we ended up taking knockouts without worrying about retaliation thanks to Plasma Klinklang. I can see why my opponent decided to stay until the end of the last game because he was hoping to set up his Garbodor. Eventually the Trubbish was sent into the active and I simply knocked it out. During this time, I was beginning to set up Dialga EX and use Chrono Wind to prevent my opponent from using Groudon EX’s Rip Claw from discarding my energy. I was then able to take the last prize by using Heavy Metal Impact for the first time to knock out a Hawlucha.
Result: Won (2-2-1)
Round Six: Vs Toad-Bats
We were coming up strong now with a win under our belt which felt good when we went into our sixth roound. This time it was against Seismitoad-Bats. A deck that focus on turning off items and doing additional damage with a series of Surprise Bite and Sneaky Bite.
This was a match up that I was kind of mixed on and had a few ideas how to counter it. I could send out Aegislash EX to take hits from a Seismitoad EX with a DCE while setting up Klinklang. The problem was the Golbat and Crobat who will be using their Sneaky Bite and Surprise Bite to put damage on Klinklang. Even worst, Seismitoad EX may not be doing damage to Aegislash EX but it can still item lock me and prevent me from using Ultra Ball and Evosoda to evolve into Klinklang and Bronzong.
Luckily, this was where I began to use the changes that I made to my deck the previous night and advice that I was given between rounds to good use. A friend from my League suggested that instead of using Pokemon Fan Club to get a Klink and Bronzor, I should be getting Keldeo EX. That way I can ensure to have Rush In as an option early in the game. Second off, I decided to set up Dialga EX to use Chrono Wind. Dialga EX was a change I had made to the deck the night before. I was wary about using it but figure it could be useful against EX heavy decks that were quick to attacking. Making these changes and playing a little differently really did help!
I was able to get a Float Stone attached to Keldeo EX before Seismitoad EX started to set up the item lock. Eventually I got three Metal energy on to Dialga EX which I had drawn into and put him in the active. Once I did that, I started to Chrono Wind to stop Seismitoad EX in his place and the item lock. I was able to do this a few times while setting up Klinklang. After that, all my opponent had left was Surprise Bite, Sneaky Bite and Hypnotoxic Laser to do damage. Thanks to Keldeo EX, the poison damage wasn’t a problem. Eventually my opponent was able to get enough damage on Klinklang from all the Surprise Bite and Sneaky Bite but it was too late. I had taken enough prizes to win the match.
The second game was more of the same. I had set up Plasma Klinklang and do damage with Aegislash EX. My opponent was able to take down Klinklang but I was able to take more knockouts. I even used AZ to bring up a heavily damaged Aegislash EX to power up another Aegislash EX using the discarded energy. Overall, my opponent spent so much time and resources to knockout Klinklang that he couldn’t handle the rest of the deck.
Result: Won (3-2-1)
Round Seven:Vs Night March
I do not know why I fought so much Night March but I made sure to play this game just like my previous one. That means setting up Klinklang and putting Aegislash EX in the active. I was going to make it difficult for my opponent to take knockouts. Thought the difference between this game and my previous Night March match up was that this player was much more competitive minded. He straight up wanted to take the win from this round and I was going to make him earn that win against my army of metal.
I set up my Klinklang and made sure to have a good Aegislash EX ready to attack. Just like my previous Night March match up, my opponent wanted to knock out Klinklang and he did. Then after that I proceeded to knock out the Pokemon that had basic energy attached to it. I did this a few times until he had nothing left but Pokemon with Special Energy attached and just Aegislash EX. Match one went to me.
Our second match was pretty much a repeat of the first. Klinklang went up and got knocked out by one of his other Pokemon. This match was much closer as my opponent made sure to take good care and count the number of basic energy he had left in this deck. He was successful enough to take out both of my Klinklang which put me in a nasty spot. Though the pressure had gotten to my opponent as he played a Professor Sycamore and accidentally discarded his Dimension Valley. That stadium would have been useful as he drew his last basic energy to attach on to Mew EX to knock out Aegislash EX. Though it was useless because he accidentally threw away his last Dimension Valley. So he couldn’t cheapen the cost of Night March from Joltik. After that, my opponent conceded and I won the round.
Result: Won (4-2-1)
Round Eight: Vs Metal Rayquaza
I was on a winning streak and satisfied with how my deck was preforming so far. At this point I wanted to see how far my deck could go by qualifying for Day 2. If I wanted a chance at that then I would have to be successful against another metal variant: Metal Rayquaza.
This deck wants to attack with Colorless M Rayquaza and quick to power up using a combination of Double Colorless Energy and Metal energy from Bronzong’s Metal Links ability. I knew that my key to survival was to slow down my opponent using Aegislash EX to prevent him from attacking with a M Rayquaza EX with a DCE. Meanwhile, get Klinklang up so I can make M Rayquaza EX useless in this match up. The problem is that this deck and also power up a M Rayquaza EX with just Metal energy thanks to the combination of Battle Compressor and Bronzong.
The first match was certainly long. I was able to get Klinklang up and prevent my opponent from using M Rayquaza EX. An Aegislash EX was powered up and I even got Dialga EX ready to attack. Though my opponent had Metal backup in his deck with the likes of Heatran and Cobalion EX who can cut though PlasmaSteel using Steel Bullet. I was wary of both as I watch them get set up on the bench thanks to Metal Links. During this time, I lost Dialga EX, spread damage around my opponent’s EX Pokemon thanks to my opponent switching Pokemon in order to avoid a knock out from Aegislash EX and power up a different Aegislash EX with five Metal Energy in order to knock out the Heatran with one swift attack.
Eventually my opponent made a move and took out Klinklang. This was something I didn’t want to happen but I made sure to take out his M Rayquaza EX that had three basic energy attached to it. This Pokemon was previously damaged by Aegislash EX and I had enough Metal energy on another Aegislash EX to knock out the Pokemon. After that, my opponent had a bench filled with Pokemon that all had DCE attached to them and my opponent had used up all his VS Seekers and Lysandre to take out Klinklang and trap Bronzong in the active. My opponent tried to stall for time but he knew it wouldn’t do him any good and decided to scoop.
We started our second match and I made sure to get Plasma Klinklang up. Apparently that was all I needed to win the match. My opponent decided to concede the match because he knew there was no way to take out Klinklang and take six prizes with the little time that was left in the round.
Result: Won (5-2-1)
Round Nine: Vs Trevenant-Gengar
I had made it to the final round. If I win this match then maybe I could make it into Day 2. Though I would have to get passed one of my deck’s toughest match ups.
Trevenant-Gengar works by getting a Trevenant with the Forest Curse ability out on turn one using Wally. That way the item lock will be up early and I can’t use my items. If I can’t use my items then I will be unable to set up Klinklang and Brozong quickly using Evosoda and Ultra Ball . It also shuts down my ability to use Keldeo EX to use Rush In and retreat using Float Stone. Meanwhile, as I try to keep my Klink alive long enough to evolve into Plasma Klinklang, my active Pokemon is getting poisoned and knocked out by Gengar EX using Night Corridor. This exactly happen in my first match and I lost.
Things went much better in my second match. I was able to get a Keldeo EX with a Float Stone attached before the Trevenant’s item lock was set up. Between using Rush In-retreat combo and Steel Shelter, I was able to keep the poison off Aegislash EX and minimize damage. I also was able to get Klinklang and a few Bronzong up which made Gengar EX unable to harm my Aegislash EX and result to poison damage. With everything set up, I was able to quickly power up an Aegislash EX to cut down all the Trevenant my opponent set up. After that it was time to slice up Gengar EX. I even used AZ to bring up damaged Pokemon so they won’t be hurt by future attacks. It was the changes that I made to the deck that gave me a better chance against a deck that use to give me so much trouble.
We tried to do a third match but time was about to be called and we both knew there was no way we could finish a third match.
Result: Tie (5-2-2)
I didn’t make it into Day 2 but I fulfilled my goal for Nationals which was to win four games using my Klinklang-Metal deck. In reality, I did better by winning five games. The suggestions that my friends gave me which led to changes in the deck really helped me out. It also gave me options against my deck’s harder match ups that I didn’t have before and otherwise would be harder for me to counter. This really made the metal in my deck even more durable and help us last longer in each battle. That way all our gears were going and made it harder for our opponents to win. The longer our gears spun, the better the chances for us to win and it clearly was shown in our matches.
We may not have made it to Day 2 but another PlasmaSteel Klinklang deck made it into the Top 8 at Nationals. The deck was different from my own but I am glad to hear that one variation of my deck made it that far up. It made me feel even better that I decided to play my deck at Nationals.
I was able to take my experience of playing Plasma Klinklang and apply it all to this high level tournament. This deck was two years of dedication and hard work. PlasmaSteel proved to be a type of metal that doesn’t bend and always stays strong.
In the end, the deck preformed to what I expected and more! Overall, I was glad to play one of my favorite decks at Nationals to have fun and do so well with it. In the end, isn’t that what Pokemon is all about?