Michael Weldon — Deck Analysis · Underground [+24] — Mar 14, 2012 — 7,732 viewsHowdy there partners!
While I was in Oklahoma for the State Championships, I began recording footage for the film. I also have experience as a writer on my film blog, as well as screenwriting, which is what I want to do with my life alongside filmmaking.
What to do with your 20 free spots depends entirely on how you feel like you should play the deck and what your metagame looks like. I knew the hardest matchup for my deck was going to be beating itself, Zekeels, which has the best matchups across the board.
From Tom Hall’s list in the ECC (he got top 8), I realized how devastating Super Scoop Up is against ZekEels. I also talked to Pablo Meza of Mexico (a previous Worlds top 4 finisher), who said his 1 Thundurus EPO was the all-star in the ECC, where he reached top 8, and after the tournament he said he is going to be running 3. The last of the most popular ZekEels variants is one that is just teched out to the player’s desire. These are the three most popular lists at the moment and each of them use a different combination of cards to achieve their goals. With Smeargle, it is always a possibility you could run into an awful Sage’s Training or Juniper you didn’t want to hit. This is another potential devastating con to Smeargle, where you Portrait something you didn’t want to see.
The basic premise of this variant is to use Smeargle to fuel your drawing to get out 2 Eels and 2 Zekrom EX.
With Thundurus, it’s always a good idea to have 4 Catcher in your deck because you can turn two knockout whatever you want. After about turn 4 or 5, Thundurus isn’t going to be the all-star like he was in the beginning, you need to upgrade your attacker to something beefier, like say Zekrom BLW? Eviolite and PlusPower are your resource cards, making everything in your deck harder to knockout, while making it easier to knockout your opponent’s Pokémon! With an Eviolite, Zapdos can also be a tank, making Donphan Prime and Terrakion really have to avoid him.
With Zebstrika, you’ll want a lot of PlusPower, and max Catcher to take full advantage of his Item lock and 40 damage. The idea with this deck is to turn 2 a Zebstrika and get a lock on your opponent’s Items. As you can see, I combined the strategies of Tom Hall’s and the Thundurus version into this. The 1 Seeker is something I have been testing and I realized in a small percentage of games, having that card alone will immediately seal the deal for the win.
The week before States I’ve been doing a load of testing on Apprentice, as well as in person at my local league that I run. Optimizing your deck to have the best starts possible and most frequently should be the first and foremost goal of the deck building process.
If you are too hasty with your own Mewtwo EX and attack early with it, they can respond with their own, and if you aren’t able to get another one of yours up immediately, with the energy to KO, you could be done for! To take down Regigigas, you need to first Disaster Volt him with a Thundurus, who will most certainly be blown to bits next turn. To start off, I wasn’t only playing in Oklahoma States, I was recording for my film there as well. The tournament had a great turnout, tons of people showed up and I really enjoyed walking around the event, talking to people and recording for the film. He went first, and after a Juniper (Blitzle in the discard, giving me the information he plays Zebstrika) he draws into Switch, Thundurus, Energy, which allowed him to Charge.
I actually really liked this deck, I thought it was creative and a decent concept in this format.
I feel like this deck can do so much in this format, really punishing Mewtwo Player by getting an RDL off for three prizes! I had been playing with about six different people on Apprentice and of course with my Pokémon pals, in person, but I was surprised at what happened the first weekend of States. So, I figured I could tweak a Zekeels list to beat the mirror, and have a very safe play for States. If you can pick up one Zekrom EX, after it’s been damaged, you essentially take a turn away from your opponent and can get a more commanding lead. I feel like finding a soft medium between each of them is the best idea because each can serve different purposes in their respective optimal settings.
By running a high count of Smeargle, you allow yourself to run less Supporter cards, because he offers you the ability to copy your opponent’s, in their hand.
Sometimes you are forced to take chances with him, hoping to hit a Supporter to keep your turn alive. He can get you out of binds, he can also be a win-more card, when you are in the lead, allowing you to separate yourself even further from your opponent and take a monstrous lead. In this format and this metagame, going off on somebody turn one is a sure-fire way to guarantee a win for yourself. Sometimes you have to land a heads in a turn to make it a good one, or else the turn can instantly turn sour, maybe even worse if your opponent has a Catcher-KO ready. There will be times you can pick up a Shaymin and do some tricky stuff, but for the most part, this is a great resource to have in your deck, especially in the mirror match. More Supporters for the obvious reason; another Catcher because who doesn’t love Catcher? If you see a Professor Oak’s New Theory with your first Portrait, you might be able to get 2 PONTs and maybe a Juniper off in one turn, setting up a perfect board and having all the resources you need in one turn.
Zekrom EX is already a very difficult Pokémon to KO (Terrakion is pretty much the only thing that one-shots it) so having TWO can be devastating for your opponent.
This is what turns Zekrom EX into a ninja, allowing him to zip in and out of battle, in a puff of smoke. Even though he is definitely a great card, he can single handedly end a game for you off of one bad Juniper, or even an untimely N. You won’t be doing a lot of damage early in the match, this can allow your opponent to put heavy pressure on you immediately.


This will be the reason you usually use a supporter, to try and pick up a catcher to get an essential KO on a Magnemite, Tynamo, Yanma, Mew Prime, Cyndaquil, whatever.
With an Eviolite on him, he is a great Pokémon that can 2-shot anything in the game right now. PlusPower is great for the mirror also, making Zekrom BLW able to one-shot the opponent’s Zekrom BLW. Pokégear is great because once you use it, all of your Junk Arms can snag it back up to get you out of a rut, like a bad N or a nasty Judge. With the ability to snipe whatever you want turn two, you can completely cripple and disrupt your opponent’s setup and board presence. This is the worst deck when it comes to not getting a good start, not only does this deck need a good start to succeed, it also needs one to get the gears moving. Going second with Thundurus and Charging is still okay, but if your opponent is able to knock you out turn two, you will be in serious trouble. Since you will get knocked out turn two in the mirror, you can’t open Thundurus going second. I’ll cover some of the main techs and talk about where you could go with this style of ZekEels. He is an amazing Pokémon that can be super clutch against Electric decks; it just requires careful timing and avoiding starting him! He is an amazing Pokémon (even having an entire deck archetype to himself!) because he can single-handedly dominate Eel and lightning based decks. If you can go first and turn 2 a Zapdos, you’ll easily pick off a few Magnemites before your opponent can get anything setup. Originally, I thought he was awful because a Catcher-Disaster Volt is the same thing, if not better than a snipe for 50. Unfortunately, Zapdos is weak to Lightning, the most popular type in the metagame at the moment. Zebstrika’s only weakness is his low HP, and only dealing 40 damage a turn is pretty weak. Pulling up something with heavy retreat and taking away their ability to use Switch can be an amazing play. Once there, you can shut your opponent down while you build up your field, preparing a Terrakion, a Mewtwo, a Zapdos, or whatever the situation requires. I’m sure after week one, you guys saw how popular Zekeels really is, having an advantage in the mirror match is a very, very big deal. With Zebstrika, Terrakion, Zapdos, Zekrom BLW, and Zekrom EX, you will pretty much have an answer to everything your opponents can throw at you.
If your opponent can get a decent attacker on the field in the first couple turns, your Zebstrika will only be able to Disconnect a few times, which is likely not good for you.
Having to use Fighting for Terrakion is a real bummer because that means you have less Lightning in the deck, which means it’ll be harder to get them in the discard pile, which means Eelektrik is not working at his fullest potential. Switch is a great card that can be used offensively or defensively giving the situation, it’s a very very flexible card. Sure, it hurts when he is prized and it will happen, but I can play without him in most situations. I’ve realized a few things about my deck that I think everybody should know about this metagame and this deck in particular. Running high Pokégear counts and PONTs, Junipers, Copycats, or whatever is the only way to withstand the disruption of N.
If you ever draw a Pokégear, play it immediately so you can Junk Arm for it later, if you need to. The game is pretty much determined by who goes first and if they do, if they can see off Chandelure.
It is possible to win this matchup without Eels, but it requires the MeesieMew player to miss a lot of cards and in general get really bad draws. I played this deck all throughout Cities and I was heartbroken that I had to finally put my Zones in the binder (which I promptly traded for a Mewtwo EX). Catchers and Disaster Volts all over Magnemites and Tynamos, they just can’t deal with the Thunder Genie. If you ever pull off a Catcher-Strong Volt on a Typhlosion Prime, they have basically lost the game, for sure. We left about an hour later than scheduled and stopped for dinner, after driving for about 30 minutes. I was happy to see all the regulars and a few new faces, the guys from Arkansas, especially. He, of course, gets his own Mewtwo EX to start and effectively finish the war, because I have nothing in my hand to respond. Naturally, the deck is almost guaranteed to fall behind because it needs Cleffa to keep refreshing its hand until you get an Emboar out.
I was a part of the 6P writing team in the beginning, before Underground was a thing, and I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for the online community. I have posted some photos from the footage I’ve gathered and come early April I’ll have a trailer for the film ready to go!
Hopefully by the end of this article, you will know what’s good or bad in this deck and how to play the list like a professional player. I figured the format would be very clean cut between Zekrom Eelektrik, Celebi Mewtwo, and Durant. The mirror is very straight forward, essentially coming down to who goes first, with the best start. Good opponents can take advantage of this weakness and Junk Arm their Supporters out of their hand, stripping you of the opportunity to draw into cards to keep the train moving.
If you play the right cards and hit the right Supporter in one turn, you can completely flip-flop the board control over to you. It’s an all around great card, you just need to be careful in your execution of Portrait.
In a sense, your opponent can control this as well, stripping their hand of Supporters, leaving only a Juniper.
You’ll also be running 3 Super Scoop Up, so you can pickup your Zekrom EXs and even Smeargles in a pinch.


So, when your opponent damages a Zekrom EX, just hitting 1 Super Scoop Up and picking it back up, effectively negating the last turn, you put yourself at a huge advantage. More Tynamo because they are usually picked off pretty early in most games, and an extra Lightning Energy, to support your constant Volt Striking ability. Next turn, you Dynamotor twice to the benched Zekrom EX, attach a DCE, play switch or Super Scoop Up, and do Strong Volt with a fresh Zek EX. If you are able to get 2 down with 2 Eelektrik, you will be able to get Strong Volts for a couple of consecutive turns.
After you Strong Volt, just SSU him up, play him back down and Dynamotor too him, attach a DCE, and strong volt… again. Juniper, N, and Judge are very popular Supporters being played in many decks in the metagame.
Your best bet is to turn two (with an eel) or turn three a Zekrom EX and kill whatever threats your opponent have going for them. But if you just can’t hit a heads, and take a risk Junk Arming a SSU to try again, hitting a second tails, you are in big trouble. After you pick up a few prizes with Thundurus, Zekrom is a great sweeper to pick up the last few. Dragging up whatever threats or support Pokémon they lay down, only to explode it with lightning from the lightning genie himself, or his pal Zekrom. Your best bet is to switch to a Tynamo and hope to Thunder Wave them, because otherwise, that Thundurus will have a field day, gobbling up your Pokémon. If you run Terrakion, you will want a Super Rod or Revive to bring him back if you run 1 copy.
This makes Terrakion a major target the moment he hits your bench, so be sure to attach to him immediately, or if you have Shaymin, swap some energy to him!
I would say if you know a lot of Donphan, Magnezone, or Mees is in your area, a 1-of Zapdos could be a stellar play! If you go first and turn 2 Disconnect, that means your opponent only had one turn to use Items. Each one of these guys serve a different purpose and can really make an impact on your tournament performance. So, it’s important to be able to get your own attackers ready behind your wall of Disconnect, or else you are done for! It can get you out of a nasty Catcher on an eel to stall, or it can net you a continuous stream of Zekrom EX. Not only is N in decks where it should be, like Ross variants or Magnezone decks, but it’s being played in the things where it has no business being, like Celebi, Eel, and Mew decks! The only deck Mewtwo EX doesn’t have to be in is mew variants, (because they can OHKO Mewtwo EX themselves).
He’s a dangerous card to play down on the bench, because your opponent will be looking to Catcher-KO with their own Mewtwo for two whole prizes! There really isn’t much of a late game in this matchup, it really should be determined by early to mid-game who will be winning this match. You won’t be one-shotting it unless you have Zekrom EX and 3 PlusPower ready to go (which will probably never, ever happen). I feel like Durant is pretty much understood by everybody, certainly the people reading this article, so I won’t go into too much detail on the matchup. With Chandelure in the Lost Zone, you won’t be able to play down Tynamos because they’ll be picked off in a hurry! Birdville Independent School District has one of the best Media Technology programs in the country. He goes and Shaymin’s his energy to Zekrom BLW and for three straight turns picks off my Eels and Tynamos. It doesn’t matter if you have a major threat on the board, just getting a board at all can be a good thing. This means they have to question every Pokémon they put on their bench, because with a Catcher, you can KO whatever you want. Eventually when Thundurus isn’t doing the job for you, you switch over to Zekrom BLW to do the job. Thundurus basically makes the deck; without him it would be much harder to get energy into play and the discard pile.
You won’t be going for Zapdos in most games, but when you have the DCE and Lightning for him turn one or two, he is your go-to guy. If your opponent does something like Eek with Cleffa and stay asleep, sniping for 50 and it not waking up can be a huge deal! With so many options and not a very clear-cut way to get it done, you have to improvise on your feet during your matches. If you go second in the mirror match, Shaymin is what allows you to swing the game back into your favor.
I like the option of having a card that is that strong and there is a potential to be abused with Catcher to force my opponent to pick up something they don’t want. Once you hit Regigigas EX once, he just turned into a hard-hitting beast that can probably one-shot any Pokémon you have on the field, including Mewtwo EX.
Sure, Yanmega and Mew are easy kills with Thundurus, but they also have Terrakion, which will stomp the genie into the ground. We have equipment like the Sony XD camera, an $8,000 HD Camera that scoffs at anything you see in most high schools. Level Ball can also snag him up, whenever you need to use a supporter instead of collector. I witnessed with my own eyes a Thundurus being donked by triple PlusPower Hurricane from a Tornadus.
Pretty much the only time anyone should be playing Eelzone, is if they draw really hot, all day long.
Setting up is the hardest thing for the deck because Zekeels will have Thundurus and Catchers, KOing whatever it wants.



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