Tournaments can be a great way to play against other players in an environment with high stakes but a lot of fun. You can learn a lot from them by seeing which decks are emerging while baring witness to some new ideas and strategies. They are also a great way to see how you stand up to fellow players.
That is why I decided to take part in City Tournament. A City Tournament, or Cities, are smaller tournaments held in card shops or venues where players are put in a Swiss style tournament. Each round players can go up or down in rankings and the best eight players are put into the Top Cut where the top placings are determine. With the last Cities coming up, I wanted to really put myself in a competitive scene and test my wit.
So this week’s TCG Jump is going to recount how Team Plasma and I raided a Cities and went further then we have ever expected. So keep reading to hear how much TCG experience I have gotten with a team that is on it’s last legs but still have plenty of fight in them.
So I decided to take a Thundurus EX-Deoxys EX-Lugia EX Team Plasma deck into Cities. I have been playing this deck since early 2013 but never really brought it into the competitive scene until now. TDL has always done well in friendly play but always lacked something that made it enjoyable to play. The deck got even less play now that the Plasma Engine support has stopped. Because of that, people have forgotten that Team Plasma is a deck that is still around. People may not have expected a Team Plasma deck with threats in the form of Pokemon and Trainers. Because of that, I found another reason to play this deck now more then ever. Then there was the release of Phantom Gate which gave Team Plasma a few new tricks. It was then that I decided to give this deck an update which made it an enjoyable deck to play that can be deadly. Below is the deck list for what I have dubbed: Team Plasma’s Last Stand.
Thundurus EX x2
Deoxys EX x4
Lugia EX x3
Latias EX x1
Professor Juniper X4
Roller Skates x4
Team Plasma Ball x4
Colress Machine x4
Escape Rope x1
VS Seeker x2
Tool Retriever x1
Muscle Band x3
Startling Megaphone x1
Frozen City x3
Computer Search x1
Double Colorless Energy x4
Rainbow Energy x4
Plasma Energy x4
Please note: This deck was inspired by Pooka from The Top Cut’s Extended Format Speed Lugia deck.
The Pokemon line up is pretty normal for a Team Plasma deck. You have Thundurus EX as an early game attacker that can be used to accelerate energy from the Discard either early game or late game. Deoxys EX is used to give a boost to all of your Team Plasma Pokemon thanks to it’s Power Connect ability. This ability gives a boost of 10 damage to every attack from a Team Plasma Pokemon. This makes Thundurus EX hit harder when it punches the opponent’s Pokemon in the face while retrieving Plasma Energy or DCE from the discard.
Lugia EX is the real star of this show as it is your heavy hitter. You want to take knockouts using Lugia EX due to it’s Overflow ability that allows you to take an extra prize when Lugia EX knocks out a Pokemon. This can make games go by fast where you can end the game by simply knocking out two EX Pokemon. All you need is to make sure a Plasma Energy is attached to Lugia to discard in order to use Plasma Gale which does 120 damage and more thanks to every Deoxys EX on the bench.
Some of the unusual players in this deck includes Kyurem and Latias EX. Kyurem is here to help make knocking out on Donphan slightly easier. It can hit Donphan for weakness using Frost Spear which is a cheap attack to use. Simply attach a Rainbow Energy and Plasma Energy in order to start attacking for weakness on Donphan. Kyurem also gets a boost from Deoxys thanks to it being a Team Plasma Pokemon. It can also be used to get rid of any Robo Substitutes which makes it harder for Donphan to hide behind later. Latias EX is in here to take care of any pesky Pokemon that likes to hid behind abilities that prevent my Plasma Pokemon from hurting them. Some of these Pokemon includes Pyroar, Suicune and Aegislash EX. Latias EX can also damage these Pokemon using it’s Barrier Break attack and can’t be hurt by them thanks to Latias EX’s Bright Down. This tactic can also be used to lure the opponent to attack Latias EX with a non-Intimidating Mane/Safeguard/Mighty Shield Pokemon. That then gives me the opportunity to attack them with Lugia EX to take another knockout.
The Trainer line is pretty normal. I run less N because in the late game, I should be low on prizes and the last thing I want to use is an N which will give me a smaller hand. That is why Shauna is in here. This Supporter will give me a new and decent sized hand. Roller Skates is in here to give me the chance to dig deeper into my deck to grab resources that I need to either attack, hit harder or dig deeper into my deck. If I have a bad hand then the idea is to use up whatever I can in my hand and then use Professor Juniper to get rid of what I don’t need and grab a new hand. Many times throughout Cities I found myself not caring if I flipped tails on Roller Skates. It just meant that I didn’t get to draw three new cards. After all, I was going to use Professor Juniper to get a new hand. Add Colress Machine and Team Plasma Ball into the mix and I had plenty of disposable cards to use. I may lose an Energy or two in discarding but I can always get them back thanks to Thundurus EX. There are exceptions to this rule where you may have too many energies in your hand that it would be bad to discard them all. That is when you will want to use Shauna or Colress to reshuffle the energy back into your hand. Keeping track of your energy in this deck is important.
Tool Retriever was one of the most interesting choices made when picking cards for this deck. A friend and I were discussing if Xerosic should be played in this deck to prevent Head Ringer and Jamming Net to get in the way of my Pokemon’s attacks. Xerosic could remove these cards from my Pokemon but that wasted my Supporter for the turn and prevent me from drawing into my deck. It could get around Seismitoad EX’s Item Lock but it could slow down my deck. It was then decided to replace Xerosic with Tool Retriever as it can get rid of any Team Flare Hyper Gear tool while also allowing me to pick up my own tools later in the game. Something that would prove pretty handy in one match.
Another interesting choice in this deck was Frozen City. It is a Stadium card that makes non-Team Plasma Pokemon take two damage counters when an energy from the hand is attached to them. That means that there would be less HP on EX Pokemon when Lugia EX comes in to attack. It was especially handy when M Manectric EX came into play as it put them in the range of a Muscle Band Lugia EX with 3 Deoxys EX Energy Connect Plasma Gale. 170 damage was all I need once they attached two energies to M Manectric EX. Having Frozen City on the field also proved to be painful to my deck as Latias EX isn’t a Team Plasma Pokemon. That means she was taking 30 damage every time a Rainbow Energy was attached to Latias EX.
This deck played just Special Energy. Enhanced Hammer is now back in the format which may make playing so many Special Energy unwelcoming but I figure that most decks only played two of them and this deck runs twelve special energy. It would be almost impossible to get rid of all of special energy on my Pokemon. The only time this could end up being bad for me is a well timed Enhanced Hammer when most of my Rainbow Energy is prized or in the Discard and I have no way to retrieve them with Thundurus EX. If Aegislash EX become a problem them I will play around it as I slowly power up Latias EX manually. Rainbow Energy is important to this deck as it can be used to allow Thundurus EX, Deoxys EX, Kyurem and Latias EX to attack and potentially take knockouts depending on the situation.
Overall, this deck is suppose to be played similar to Speed Lugia. Do little bit of damage using Thundurus EX and Frozen City while powering up Lugia EX on the bench using DCE and Corless Machine. Once Lugia EX is ready then go ahead and Plasma Gale all you want until you win or Lugia EX goes down. Hit fast and hit hard. Sounds like the perfect plan for Team Plasma who is making their last stand in an metagame that has forgotten all about them.
How did Team Plasma stood up against the other decks at Cities? How about we read below to find out. Team Plasma had a lot to go though with so many new and powerful foes that are willing to put it back down into the land of the forgotten.
Round One: Team Plasma vs Donphan
This was one match up that I was worried about. I have played against Donphan using Plasma but never was too successful. Now that I have seen how the deck plays, I knew what I had to do. The game plan was to take out Donphan and get rid of as many walls as I can for Lugia EX to take a big hit out of Donphan.
The best Pokemon to do this with was Kyurem who had Frost Spear. This was a cheap attack that can do bench damage. It does just enough damage to take out Robo Substitute while giving me the opportunity to get damage on Donphan. So my attacks were not completely wasted on taking out things that won’t give me prizes. I was pretty lucky that I drew into Kyurem early game so I didn’t have to worry too much to get it into my hand.
The two things that really came into play in this match up was Lysandre and Tool Retriever. I drew into a Lysandre early on to pull up a Donphan that was hiding in the bench. Now, Kyurem was in the active but didn’t have the power to knock out with full HP Donphan even with Deoxys EX’s Power Connect. I would have needed a Muscle Band attached to Kyurem to take the knock out and two of them were already attached to Lugia EX and Thundurus EX. Luckily I had Tool Retriever which allow me to take off a Muscle Band from Lugia EX and put it on Kyurem. That was one knockout. From there I had gotten a VS Seeker from my Prizes and retrieved a Lysandre from the Discard to pull out the other Donphan to take the knock out.
By the time Kyruem was knocked out, it had taken out two Donphan and a Robo Substitute which made Lugia’s job much easier. My opponent tried to stall with Aegislash EX. This card isn’t normally played in Donphan but was a rather smart addition as can’t take damage from Pokemon with Special Energy attached to it but can still attack thanks to Slash Blast having a Colorless energy requirement. This allows Aegislash EX the chance to defend and attack. Luckily I had gotten another Lysandre to pull one of my opponent’s other Pokemon into the active and take my winning knockout.
Result: Win (1-0-0)
Round Two: Team Plasma vs Bronzong-Dialga EX
This was a match up that I felt confident about seeing that I played a Steel deck as well. I knew that I had to set up my side quickly and take knockouts wherever I can. My first aim was to take out Bronzong so it would be difficult to power up the Metal Pokemon on the bench.
I had a pretty strong start with taking out a Bronzong with Lugia EX. It was around midgame where I started to feel things taper out. I was not getting any Plasma Energy to fuel Lugia EX’s Plasma Gale. My opponent was also beginning to set things up by having Dialga EX use Chrono Wind to keep my EX Pokemon from attacking while also using an usual tech with Scizor. This Scizor had an attack called Steel Slash with the additional effect to prevent EX Pokemon from attacking next turn. So my opponent had all that he needed to stall for time until he can set up another Bronzong. I did have ways to get out of this thanks to Switch and retreating. I was able to keep the pressure on my opponent using Thundurus EX which also retrieved the energy that I used to retreat.
What decided the game was whoever got a Lysandre first. In that case, it was me who top decked the Lysandre to pull down a Bronzong and take the win using Lugia EX’s Plasma Gale.
Result: Win (2-0-0)
Game Three: Team Plasma vs M Manectric EX-Fairies
This was a quick match up. My opponent had opened with a bad hand and I made sure to keep it like that by opting to discard my N to use Professor Juniper. I opened up with Lugia EX and thanks to my Professor Juniper and going second, I was able to fire off a Plasma Gale with my first attack upon his lone Xerneas EX. That EX Pokemon didn’t last long as in my second turn, I had attached another Energy on to Lugia EX to finish off Xerneas EX and take the win.
This is the magic of Speed Lugia. You can easily fire a Plasma Gale in your first turn if you are able to attach a DCE and use Colress Machine twice to attach two Plasma Energy from your deck. It doesn’t happen often but when you are able to pull it off then it can be pretty awesome.
Sidenote: I did battle against this guy again after our initial battle. He put up a much better game the second time and M Manectric EX can be a pain once Aromatisse and Max Potion comes into play.
Result: Win (3-0-0)
Round 4: Team Plasma vs Landorus EX-Bats
By this time during Cities, I was beginning to feel pretty good. My nervous had mostly passed and the Plasma deck was doing pretty good in handling everything that was being thrown at it. Unfortunately, this was also when Team Plasma decided to take a break from dominating.
My opening hand in this round wasn’t great. I only drew into a Colress and the benches were not good enough to use it. I had a Thundurus EX against what would later prove to be a deck running Landorus EX. When I first saw the Zubat and Hawlucha, I thought I had a good chance to take one of these Pokemon out thanks to Thundurus EX’s type advantage. That soon disappeared when I saw Landorus EX and the lack of Lightning Energy or anything useful from my small hand from Colress.
This was the first time I have ever seen a Landorus EX-Bats deck. I thought this was a Wobbuffet-Bats that I had heard about early into the release of Phantom Gate. Though, once Landorus EX enter the field, I saw that I was wrong. This deck works around the same idea but you are building up damage on the opponent’s Pokemon thanks to Landorus EX’s Hammerhead attack while Golbat and Crobat put damage counters on your Pokemon thanks to their biting. Then Landorus EX comes in to use a Land’s Judgement to take the final kill.
It is an impressive deck that makes my Lugia EX’s resistance to the Fighting type moot due to the use of Strong Energy and Fighting Stadium. If you don’t apply pressure back then you will soon finding yourself covered in bites and rubble. I learn that the hard way as my deck just never got it together as I watch Team Plasma go down.
Result: Lose (3-1-0)
Round 5: Team Plasma vs Pyroar-Seismitoad EX
After my crushing defeat, it was time to play another game against a deck that I was expecting to see. I knew that I had to make sure everything run perfectly. That means attacking all Litleo before they become Pyroar with the Intimidating Mane ability and to just keep punching Seismitoad EX with Thundurus EX in order to soften them up for Lugia EX. It would suck to not have access to my Colress Machine but I could deal with manually attaching Plasma Energy.
Luckily, the Seismitoad EX never came out so I was able to avoid the Item Lock. Though, I had only manage to knock out one Litleo but had another one evolve into Pyroar. That was when I had to take out my tech for this situation: Latias EX. Her only purpose in this deck is to break though Pokemon that had abilities which prevented my Plasma EX Pokemon from hurting them while not be afraid of retaliation from them. I was able to play around the Pyroar by taking out the Pokemon who lacked Intimidating Mane such as the other Pyroar with Flame Command.
Eventually it was down to Latias EX in the active. Many turns passed without attacking as I was waiting for my last Rainbow Energy. My opponent tried to stop Latias EX by attaching Head Ringer and using an Enhanced Hammer to get rid of some energy. This whole time I was afraid my opponent would set down another Pokemon such as Seismitoad EX where I may not have the resources to handle it after such a long battle where I drew into my deck searching for my last Rainbow Energy. In the end, I had to use a Professor Juniper to draw my last six cards to grab my Rainbow Energy and have Latias EX lead the final attack against the lone Pyroar. It was a good thing I had Frozen City to soften up Pyroar so Latias EX could strike with the last attack to end the game.
Result: Win (4-1-0)
Round 6: Team Plasma vs Yveltal EX and his Dark Friends
By this point in the tournament, I was noticing that my record looked pretty good. There was a high chance that I would make top cut which was something I have never been in! I was actually considering to do the Intentional Draw where both opponents agree to draw the match with the intend of not ruining their record with a lost. Though, I had the intend to come to Cities to do as many battles as I can and try to avoid doing Top Cut due to how late it will run.
To my surprise, my opponent offered me the ID and I decided to take it. If this meant that I get to go to Top Cut then good. If not and this was just a trick for my opponent to go into Top Cut with no risk then I would have been fine with that. Turns out that we both advanced to Top Cut because we were asked for our decks for another deck check. Though, we did have a match before our decks were taken up for a deck check.
The match was pretty good. I had gotten an early lead thanks to Lugia EX and had taken out an energy heavy Yveltal by using Deoxys EX. I was in the lead but the match could have gone either way by the time our decks were asked for.
Result: Draw (4-1-1)
Top Cut Round 1: Team Plasma vs Florges EX and Fairy Friends
So I finally made it to Top Cut. I was expecting some crazy and impressive decks now that I have made it to this level of Cities. After all, it takes some real skill and creativity to build a deck that can beat all the normal competitive decks. I just came with a deck filled with Plasma Pokemon who have been forgotten. Either way, I was not disappointed as my first opponent in Top Cut had quite a unique deck using Florges EX. I have only heard about this deck but I knew how it works thanks to playing decks similar to it.
Top Cut rounds are best out of three. That means I had to win two matches or be in a good position in my second match to advance. My first match ended up with me winning. I had Lugia EX go in and do what Lugia EX does best. Fire off Plasma Gale and take three prizes by knocking out an EX Pokemon. It really helped that Lugia EX knocked out Pokemon which had plenty of Fairy Energy on them. That meant my opponent had no energy to transfer to a new attacker.
The second match didn’t go in my flavor. My opponent got his deck running and due to my deck’s inability to dish out clean one-hit knockouts, my opponent was able to heal off all damage and attack by moving Fairy Energy off injured Pokemon using Aromatisse’s Fairy Transfer and then using Max Potion. I knew this strategy too well and just couldn’t get my knockouts.
Things came together in the third match where I was able to take the win to advance to the next round. Lugia EX and Thundurus EX came in full force to take knock outs. It was a rather quick battle but that is how this deck works.
Result: Won (5-1-1)
Top Cut Round 2: Team Plasma vs Landorus EX-Bats
I ended up playing against the guy I lost to in Round 4. This was pretty intimidating as I knew how this deck worked after seeing it first hand. I also knew that my deck wasn’t running at all cylinders during that match. So all I had to do was make sure my deck worked and take it from there.
My first match was just like our earlier game. I even drew a Colress to get a small hand in hopes that I would get something better. It didn’t go too well and I lost.
My second match proved my theory correct. Everything in my deck was working just fine. I was able to get my bench filled with Deoxys EX to put Power Connect into effect. Thundurus EX was able to do some damage and Lugia EX was able to do clean up. Overall, I was able to return the pressure and overpower him. Plasma was able to take down the kitty and bats.
The third match was were it all went down. Plasma got a case of the nervous and didn’t preform. It was basically what happen in our first match and in our Swiss match. Team Plasma was taken down by bat bites and Landorus EX. Thus, our run in Top Cut had ended.
Result: Lose (5-2-1)
Sidenote: The person I played in my last round in the Swiss round and the person who had defeated me were both in the finals. The trainer with the Yveltal EX deck had won. That made me feel good as I was able to go toe-to-toe with him in our unofficial match.
This was pretty fun! I had went in using a deck that had been forgotten and went pretty far. Team Plasma was able to stand it’s ground and give one last hurrah against the big decks. I had never imagine that we would have made it into Top Cut and play against so many skilled trainers. Each game I had a plan which was to take out whatever Pokemon I can and if I saw any threats then make them my prime targets. This plan was one that proved successful as it had gotten us beyond my expectations. Even better. all of my Pokemon were able to do something and prove their worth in the deck during Cities. It was truly an experience that I didn’t see coming and great to see all the knowledge and advice I have accumulated finally paying off.
Team Plasma may not have much time in the format with the next rotation threatening the Plasma core but it sure does have a lot to offer in the terms of power. It is quick, flexible and certainly fun. I am willing to stand by Team Plasma as they take their last stand in a metagame that is ever changing.