Monday, October 24, 2011

Battle Road results analysis and Regionals metagame

Which one shall rise victorious?
Hello and welcome to The Deck Out!

Battle Roads season has ended in most countries and it’s a good time to look at the results from the U.S. Battle Roads. What was the most popular deck in the top4 and why? Was any deck dominating like no other or were there only little difference between some decks. That’s what I’m here to find out and analyze. First, let’s take a look at the results from the Battle Roads.

Let’s take a quick look first at the Results (directly from the

Masters Winning Decks :
31 x Zekrom Varients (23 x Zekrom/Pachirisu/Shaymin/Tornadus, 1 x Zekrom/Pachirisu/Shaymin, 7 x Zekrom w/o Pachirisu and Shaymin)
31 x Reshiram Varients (27 x Reshiram/Typhlosion, 4 x Reshiram/Emboar)
14 x Yanmega/Magnezone
13 x Gothitelle
10 x Stage 1's
4 x Kingdra/Yanmega
4 x Donphan and Dragons (Reshiram/Zekrom)
3 x Ross Lock
2 x Magnezone/Emboar
2 x Mew Lock
1 x Kingdra/Donphan/Yanmega

Seniors Winning Decks:
18 x Reshiram/Typhlosion
4 x Zekrom/Pachirisu/Shaymin/Tornadus

Juniors Winning Decks:
8 x Reshiram/Typhlosion
3 x Reshiram/Emboar
2 x Zekrom/Pachirisu/Shaymin/Tornadus

I know that the way the topic’s author lists the decks is a bit off but it doesn’t matter because I’m not here to look at only the numbers but the whole picture. In my opinion the picture is clear: No matter, which age group you look at, there are 2 decks that belong to Tier1 – Zekrom and Reshiram/Typhlosion. I’ll now discuss most of the well-placed decks in a Tier –order.



It would be nonsense to state that Zekrom isn’t tier1 deck. There are few things that make Zekrom SO good:

1) It abuses the Catcher so well that it can win by taking only the cheap prizes

If you’re familiar with LuxChomp, you know exactly what I mean. If Zekrom gets going T1 and is able to draw Catchers in a good pace – every deck will have serious problems with it. Once they lay down a basic, which has under 90 HP, it’ sure to get OHKO:ed the turn after. Zekrom doesn’t forgive their opponents if they have a slow start – it just runs through them in 6 turns.

2) It’s easy to play but not to play against

This has a lot to do with Pokémon Catcher. If the player who is playing against Zekrom is just laying down the Basics on the bench without any thinking, he will surely lose the game. The more you lay down low-HP basics on your bench, the less work Zekrom has to do in order to win the game. Playing only 1 Baby/Starter too much on your bench can cost you the game. When playing against Zekrom you have to count where do they get the prizes, it isn’t a difficult task to do but you have realize that in order to do it!

3) It’s the fastest deck in the format

It’s fast and as we all now it’s THE fastest deck in the format. But what means that you’re faster than your opponent? First, you are killing their set-up Pokémons in a quick fashion. This means that sometimes you’re able to cripple their game so well that they’re completely unable to set-up. Second, the speed of Zekrom also gives pressure to your opponent. This time I mean psychological pressure – it’s as important to make your opponent think that they have no chance to win the game as really win the game. The pressure may sometimes be too much for your opponent to even try to win the game and their playing level goes down instantaneously when you go first and get a T1 Zekrom.

4) It counters its own weakness

Well, this is old info but it’s very important part of Zekrom’s success. Zekrom was somewhere in between tier 2-3 in the format before Tornadus was released. The DCE abusing skill of Tornadus and its Fighting resistance made Zekrom immediately a better deck.  Tornadus meant also the end to the stage1 decks. Stage1 decks were very strong against Zekrom because they could always OHKO them. Donphan hit Zekrom’s weakness, Zoroark hit 120 and Cinccino hit 100. These all were enough to OHKO once Bolt Striked Zekrom. Now Donphan hits more to its own bench that to Tornadus. Zoroark isn’t even near to OHKO Tornadus and Cinccino can OHKO Tornadus only with PlusPower and full bench. The table have turned in Zekrom favor so heavily just because of Tornadus that it’s unbelievable. As I said in my Impact Crater: Emerging Powers – Tornadus was probably one of the most underrated cards in the whole set. I’m pretty sure it isn’t anymore.

Zekrom isn’t even close to a perfect deck and it has its weaknesses

1) Opening with Pachirisu or Shaymin

Zekrom is all about speed and starting with Pokémon which slows down you set-up is automatically a bad thing. In certain match-ups starting with Shaymin or Pachirisu means a straight loss. Zekrom doesn’t forgive its opponents for bad set-ups and it doesn’t forgive itself either. As long as you start with Zekrom or Tornadus you are able to win any deck in the format.

2) Prizes

In my opinion a standard way to play Pachirisu and Shaymin is 2-2. Two is enough in most games and usually both Pokémon aren’t prized. However, sometimes they are. And unless you don’t get a Tornauds start and get a T2 Tornadus going manually AND draw the other Shaymin/Pachirisu quickly from the prizes. One scenario where you are doomed already in the beginning of the game is opening with Pachirisu while the 2nd Pachirisu is prized. Super-fast decks are very sensitive about small things and Zekrom is no exception.

3) Maximum damage of 120 under a trainer lock

Zekrom hits 120, which is huge. However, thanks to Magical Number 130 on Pokémon like Gothitelle, Zekrom has a hard time. Zekrom has no real winning decks that can trainer lock, move damage counters and use 130 or higher HP Pokémon as the main attacker. There is always the chance to outspeed decks like Gothitelle but with a right build Gothitelle has an upper-hand against Zekrom.

4) Disturbing

This isn’t a huge threat at the moment but as soon as N will be released, many people will notice that Zekrom has more problems with disturbing than it first looks like. Some players may have already noticed that disturbing really disturbs Zekrom because decks like Yanmega/Magnezone can win games against Zekrom because of Judge. And in my opinion - that’s against all odds.


Reshiram/Typhlosion is as tier1 deck as Zekrom is. The surprising thing about ReshiPlosion is that it’s a stage2 deck. Shouldn’t they be dead already because Catcher was released? There are some qualities that make ReshiPlosion to survive in the present format even though it’s a stage2 deck.

1) Reshiram as a main attacker

Even though ReshiPlosion is a “stage2-deck” only a part of it depends on stage2 Pokémon. The real issue about ReshiPlosion is not how to deal with Typhlosions but how to deal with Reshirams and Typhlosions at the same time. Reshiram has the 130 HP, which is big even in the present metagame. It is also able to OHKO almost any Pokémon in the format because it hits 120. If your opponent starts to concentrate on killing your Typhlosion line, you’re able to load Reshirams manually and kill their main attackers. If they concentrate on killing Reshirams you’re able to load the Reshirams with Typhlosions – see the problem?

2) It’s cheap

I’m pretty sure this is one of the key reasons for ReshiPlosion’s popularity. ANYONE can afford it. I often tell new players to get their hands on the ReshiPlosion because it’s so cost-efficient. I think PCI has done good progress while printing the best cards in the format like Zekrom, Reshiram, Typhlosion Prime etc. as Promos. This makes competing for new players easier and cheaper and is sure to attract more new and younger players in the game.

3) Discard-heavy supporter draw benefits the deck’s main idea

The best straight draws in the current format are Sage’s Training and Professor Juniper. These both have a huge drawback because they require discarding cards that might be useful. ReshiPlosion is able to use this “weakness” of these cards as a strength. Typhlosion gets the energies from the Discard pile and it WANTS the cards to discard pile. Along with Junk Arm ReshiPlosion is able to get back almost every card of the deck from the discard pile.

4) It can’t be countered

It’s a single type deck with only one weakness. So just play Water and counter it, right? Well, not really. Water is a horrible type at the moment and even though you could OHKO Reshiram with our Water Pokémons, Reshiram is able always to OHKO you back – even without the weakness.  ReshiPlosion may face its first real counter with the Kyurem in the next set but that’s not a problem at the moment.

Conclusion of the Tier 1

There are few more things that have to be mentioned about tier1 in general. First, have you ever noticed that Zekrom and ReshiPlosion work together? Zekrom automatically would make Water Pokémons automatically unplayable if they weren’t already unplayable.

Second, if we look at the age groups, there is something every interesting to be noted. In Juniors and Seniors ReshiPlosion is overpowering all the other decks – even Zekrom. There are 2 things that might explain this:

1) Is ReshiPlosion really easier to play than Zekrom? It might very well be because Zekrom doesn’t have a solution when the start isn’t optimal. It may be that the younger age groups players are finding it difficult to play Zekrom if it isn’t going strongly T1.

2) The price. This is a huge factor especially in the younger age groups. Getting 2-2 line Pachirisu and Shaymin is more expensive than getting 4 Reshirams and 4 Typhlosion Primes. There is a great imbalance between the prices of cards and I’m sure that these affect the metagame more than the prices should affect the metagame. I’m hoping that PCI will do something to correct the imbalances in prices. 

Tier 1½

I can’t go straight to tier2 because it’s would be an insult towards these decks.  The 2 decks that belong to tier1½ are decent decks with surprisingly good tournament placements. These decks are in my book the first “real” decks of the current format because they require more skill to play and to build than Tier1 decks.

Magnezone/Yanmega – still going strong

I think the good results with Mangezone/Yanmega are very surprising. Yanmega has a horrible weakness so it’s no good against Zekrom. Magnezone still needs 2 energies to OHKO Tornadus (unless they have a PlusPower in hand). I also think that when ReshiPlosion and Magnezone/Yanmega set-up at the same pace the match-up is 50-50. Magnezone doesn’t have any very good match-ups in the tier1 and probably it’s best match-up is against Gothitelle and random decks.  However, there must be reasons why Magnezone/Yanmega still holds it place in the top tier, right?

1) Disturbing

Magnezone/Yanmega is the only deck that can abuse disturbing card like Judge very well. This is a key for winning games for the deck. Magnezone/Yanmega can’t take its 6 prizes with only Magnezone and if it wants to get prizes with Yanmega, it has to slow down the opponetn’s game. This can easily be done with Judge while not disturbing your own game thanks to Magnezone’s Magnetic Draw Power. Magnezone/Yanmega is one of its kind in the current format and I hope the release of N will create more decks that are able to use disturbing as the key strategy to win games.

2) Consistency

Magnezone/Yanmega has a built-in draw engine thanks to Magnezone’s Power. It’s a great asset for the deck and without it, it would be unplayable. The only problem is that decks like Zekrom can take away the consistency just by Catchering the Magnemites and Magnetons. This deck will be consistent only after getting the Magnezone Prime into play. Before that the set-up is very shaky.

3) Twins

Stage2 deck needs usually Twins and with Magnezone Twins work very well. That’s mainly because as stated earlier, Magnezone needs only the Magnezone to get the consistency going. There is no easier way to get the Magnezone into play than Twins. After that you will automatically have Magnezone in the game and your set-up is going strong. Twins is a must in a Magnezone/Yanmega deck.


Gothitelle’s success or “success” was a surprise for me. It didn’t d nearly as good as I thought it would do. I wonder if the lack of Tropical Beaches affected this – it’s an essential card for Gothitelle to do very well. Gothitelle is the best version of trainer lock that our format has at the moment so it’s obvious that it still has done ok in the tournaments – even without Tropical Beach.

1) 130 HP + Trainer lock = profit

Here I’m stating the obvious once again. Reshiram and Zerkom can’t OHKO Gothitelle which makes Gothitelle a great card. That is unless they are somehow able to Outrage for 130 but if they are – you’ve done something seriously wrong.

2) The way the metagame has shifted

The more popular Zekrom is getting, the more playable Gothitelle comes. Gothitelle has a very good match-up against Zekrom and is able to balance the game to keep the “too-fast” decks becoming too popular. Gothitelle can be considered as a hard counter to Zekrom.

3) Counters

Gothitelle is good in a certain metagame. Does that mean that it’s bad in a certain metagame as well? Yes. Gothitelle can never become a tier1 deck because once people star teching against it – it will lose immediately. Gothitelle is a good choice in a certain metagame but it can never become a dominating card because of it’s easy to counter. 

4) Tropical Beach

As I already said, Tropical Beach is an essential part of this deck and that it might be one of the reasons it isn’t doing as well as I expected it to do. Tropical Beach is very hard to get because it was only a Worlds Promo and many players don’t want to trade them just because of their sentimental value. I’m fortunate to own something like 16 Tropical Beaches so it isn’t an issue for me but for too many players it is. Thankfully Tropical Beach is really good only in Gothitelle and once Mewtwo EX is released, Gothitelle becomes automatically an unplayable deck. This might decrease the demand for Tropical Beaches, which would be, in my opinion a good thing.

Tier 2

Stage1 decks

I was VERY close playing stage1 deck in the World Championships this year. However in the last week of testing I found out that it has serious problems with ReshiPlosion that can set-up decently. I also thought ReshiPlosion would see a huge increase in popularity for Worlds so I changed to ReshiPlosion as well and was happy that I did so. Why? Since stage1 decks aren’t tier1 material. They weren’t back then before Catcher was released because they needed Reversal heads to win tough games.

Now stage1 decks have Catcher but it isn’t enough because everyone else has a Catcher as well.  I have usually said that stage1 decks are worse version of Zekrom because their game-winning plan is pretty much the same but Zekrom can get itself going by T1 - not T2. In the present format, which is all about prize racing, the one turn means so much.

Stage1s have won some BRs so it can’t be a horrible deck, right?

Weaknesses and Counters

Stage1 decks are the new version of the past “4 corners” –deck. The only problem nowadays is that countering isn’t enough there aren’t EXs in the format. You can’t win by coming from behind. You have to be the first to take the prize and the last to take the prize. This is the stage1 decks’ main weakness – they are able to OHKO usually back but aren’t able to start the prize race.

The second problem is that even though Stage1 decks should be able to counter everything, there are some decks that it has no answes against. One great example would be Gothitelle – stage1 decks are useless against Gothitelle and they have no real way around it. Stage1 decks may even have problems with random decks like Yanmega/Magnezone, which puts it immediately under the tier2 box.

Trainer Lock decks

With Trainer locks I mean Reuniclus/Plume decks and Mew/Plume decks. These are very interesting decks but their main weakness is that sometimes they aren’t able to cope with the speed of the format. I didn’t put them in to the tier3 because:

1) Netdecking

Nowadays it’ easy to find the content about the main decks all around the internet. The decks that control the discussion on the internet control the metagame. Decks like ReshiPlosion gets coverage in every website I’ve ever visited and still it has a high demand. I was surprised that before the Eye on Japan my Zekrom article was the one that raised the most discussion and interest. I thought it would be boring to see deck like Zekrom in a article because it has already been discussed everywhere. Obviously I was wrong.

When it comes to these decks, they have a very little coverage around the World. Sometimes it feels like that if the SixPrizes UG doesn’t write about the deck, it doesn’t deserve coverage. In order to build a working trainer lock deck you need testing and skill to build decks. It should have been impossible to build a deck like Ross built in the 2011 World Championships and somehow he still did it. In my opinion people are getting lazier because of the Internet and it eats the creativity. Ross’ deck became part of the metagame as soon as it got 2nd at Worlds but if he would have posted it on the SixPrizes Front Page under as a none UG member, I’m pretty sure that the deck would have been bashed.

2) Playing

Trainer locks are not only difficult to build but to play as well. Sometimes I feel like the pro players are getting lazier in the game as well. I was horrified when before U.S. Nationals everyone was hyping Donphan/Machamp as the second best deck of the format. Seriously? There were a consensus about these things and anyone didn’t even care disagreeing.

These difficult decks need a good pilot and that’s why they are in the lower tier2 but with the right player these decks would be so much better. I don’t want to sound negative, I just think that these decks have so much more potential than they have gotten attention.

Tier 3 and lower

Rest of the field

As you can see from the results – the metagame is versatile. However, one thing must be remembered – these are only BATTLE ROADS results. Battle Roads are usually small tournaments where only the locals are playing (of course there are exceptions) and the level of the competitive gaming might be sometimes quite low. Battle Roads amount only around the U.S. is so huge that it’s natural that there are some not-so-good decks doing well.

If I were you and tried to learn something from the Results of Battle Roads, I wouldn’t look under tier2. All the decks you need to win are in the tier 1-2 and even if you face a “new” tier3 deck and don’t know how to play against it, your deck does the work for you. If you are able to build a very consistent tier 1-2 you have no real reason to worry about tier3 and lower decks. 

What does this mean for Regionals?

Most Regionals are played still in HGSS-EPO format so this information is very important for players who haven’t yet decided what to play at Regionals. When you think about what you are going to run at Regionals, you have to consider these results and how they affect your metagame.

For those players who have some Regionals in HGSS-NV format, I’ll make a whole new analyze in the Impact Crater: Noble Victors entry.  For now I consider only on HGSS-EPO format.

Tier 1

I’m pretty sure that there won’t be a big change in the tier1 decks. Zekrom and ReshiPlosion cover each other’s bad match-ups fairly well and they both have great match-ups all around the field. There isn’t going to pop-out any secret deck either because the new set is just around the corner and there is no point even try to create something new in a format that is going to change radically in just a few weeks. ReshiPlosion will be the most seen deck in the Regionals as well and the Zekrom will be right behind.

Tier 1½

What I’m really waiting for is the breakthrough of Gothitelle. I expect Gothitelle to win at least one Regionals because players have had time to get it right for Regionals. Gothitelle had some serious problems in the start of the BR season because it was a new deck and no one knew how to build it. Now people have had time to test and tweak it to the optimal state. I’ve already updated my Gothitelle list so be sure to check it out in The Decklist Out. It runs so much better than my original list.

If Magnezone/Yanmega is as good deck as some people have said it is, it might even have a chance it winning Regionals. Personally I don’t see  it happening because the field has much more stronger decks than Magnezone/Yanmega. Magnezone/Yanmega will probably get better when N is released but Judge isn’t enough to kill Zekrom most of the time.

Tier 2

Tier 2 decks are interesting options for competitive tournament play. With right match-ups and metagame they can take the player to the very end of the tournament. Nothing is decided in this format before the game ends so there might be decks that stand especially out. I’m waiting more from trainer lock decks than from stage1 because I’m not just a fan of stage1 decks in the current format – sorry.

Tier 3

If something from this part gets to finals in any Regionals I’m astonished.

Honorable mentions

I’ll add some honorable mentions in the end of the article of the decks that might surprise in the correct metagame.

Note: I didn’t find a suitable tier for these decks so that’s why they are in the end of the article.


Reshiboar functions in a very similar way compared to ReshiPlosion but it‘s less consistent. ReshiBoar is probably a very good option in a metagame which is full of ReshiPlosions. ReshiBoar still has problems with the Zekrom even if Reshiboar gets a decent start. ReshiBoar might surprise a metagame full of ReshiPlosions but somehow I don’t see its consistency winning big tournaments like Regionals.


Magneboar has done better than expected after Catcher was released but it still has serious problems with Catcher. MagneBoar was a risky choice even for Worlds and now it’s an even riskier choice. You have to be fully confident with your decklist in order to play MagneBoar in Regionals.

Tyranitar Prime

I’m being biased here. I WANT Tyranitar to do well. I’m pretty sure that I’m just reaching for the stars with this one…


Sorry if this was a too long update, you can always read it in parts. If you were interested in the decks I mentioned in this blog, be sure to check The Decklist Out! I update those lists regularly and have just updated the lists after some testing. In the future I’ll always let you guy know n Twitter and Facebook when I update the decklists so be sure to like The Deck Out on the Facebook and follow me on Twitter:!/TheDeckOut

I hope you found this info useful and that it helped you to choose your decks for the next tournaments! Thanks for reading and feel free to leave a comment if you feel like it.


  1. Splendid as always Esa, keep it up. Really happy you mentioned Reshiboar anyhow, I'm VERY biased towards it. XD

  2. Zekrom without Pachirisu or Shaymin won 7 BRs, yet I don't see how it works. After all, it has to be pretty good considering it won so many! I may have missed something really crucial, but it could have been with explaining in the article (providing there's knowledge about it).

    Otherwise, splendid article as always. :)

  3. Esa, what are your thoughts on Black Belt?

  4. Aaron: Thanks a lot. I almost forgot to list Reshiboar but then remembered it :S

    Anonymous: I have heard only rumours of the deck but they should have other energy acceletators like Electrode Prime in there that the deck would be competitve. I can't see a manually loaded Zekrom/Tornadus deck competing in this metagame unless their metagame level is very low. Battle Road is always full of surprises so that's why I didn't concentrate that much on the strange parts of the list. I'm pretty sure my Regionals predicitions will be quite right.

    Anonymous: Black Belt is a great card if you can find a decent deck to play it in. At the moment Black Belt suffers because many decks play discard heavy draw cards like Sage's/Juniper. Because of those supporters, Black Belt is ending up to your discard pile more often than into your hand.

    Thanks for comments guys, and keep 'em coming!

  5. This isn't exactly linked to the article, but it is somewhat linked because it has something to do with the regionals format. How would Reshiphlosion handle a t2 Gothitelle and t2/3 reuniclus and the opponent just gives energy to a benched gothita (or evolution. You can't OHKO them and you can't discard energy. Best bet to go with Reshiram and overpower them with damage if possible? Or play a tech Black Belt and just set up and let them take the first prize? Of course this time I wouldn't attack them at all allowing them to killt heir own pokemon. I would jsut sit there and set up and pass and possibly abuse tropical beach that they played down.

  6. I think Reshiplosion just have to set up patiently before it can attack freely. Twins is dangerous in locks after all...

  7. Indeed, first ReshiPlosion must play 4-3-4 Typhlosion line and not to get the first prize. Wihtout Twins, it's not very probable for Gothi to get T2 Gothi and T3 Reuniclus.

    If they do get a god start and start loading benched Gothi, it will probably be better to start hitting 120 and hope that they will run out of resources once they start attacking with the 2nd Gothi.

    Discarding is an option if you know your opponent's deck and you're sure it's worth starting to Flare Destroy them. Once you start Flare Destroying, there is no going back.

  8. Ok in response to the gothitelle early game I have teched in DCL in my Reshiphlo deck for the lock decks matchup specifically. Or a lot are using Kingdra lines. Either way gothitelle can hurt. Otherwise like Esa said. Start nailing 120 and hope or if your me use DCL lol, or flare destroy. It takes a while but they are able to be beaten very very easily though.....I have not lost to a gothitelle yet. Otherwise meta wise I think you are quite right with all of it. I do expect maby a few status effect decks to show up and I made a preliminary Ttar build and it is decent but relies on Electrode prime and if needed DCL. Otherwise the meta has been nailed right on the head. Great article. Keep it up. I love reading these!!!

  9. Volkaryle: Thanks for your input! Glad you liked the article!

  10. « In my opinion people are getting lazier because of the Internet and it eats the creativity. »
    Are you sure you still would like to speak about the Japanese metagame? :)

  11. Haha, in fact it felt really awkward writing that sentence but I just hope they will create support for the innovations. Last season every new deck was just bashed with sentence "yeah, but Luxchomp...". The more creative decklists there are, the more creative the whole field will get. Or at least I hope so...


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.