Tonight, I'd like to share with you my thoughts on Xerneas Break: where it's going and how it'll look with the new Ultra Prism set incorporated in the standard format. Now I know what you're thinking: "Stop raving about Xerneas!" But hear me out guys, I honestly think that this deck can do well in the current meta, and as of right now it's my number one deck choice going into the North Carolina Regionals next month. So let's take a moment or two and take a look at what exactly is in the deck (as well as some possible tech ideas), and also talk about how to play the deck in the current meta.
What's in the Deck?
Xerneas x4 STS 81
Xerneas Break x3 STS 82
Mr. Mime x1 BKT 97
Oranguru x1 SUM 113
Tapu Lele GX x3 GRI 60
Counter Catcher x2
Max Elixir x4
Pal Pad x1
Rescue Stretcher x1
Super Rod x2
Ultra Ball x4
Fairy Garden x3
Choice Band x3
Exp. Share x2
Double Colorless Energy x3
Fariy Energy x12
Giratina x1 PR-XY184
Necrozma GX x1 BUS 63
Mewtwo EVO 51
Purpose of the Deck:
Ideally, you want to be able to Geomancy every turn with at least two other Xerneas’ on the bench. If you’re unlucky enough to have the natural Brigette in hand, using Wonder Tag to pull in two Xerneas’ and an Oranguru is not a bad thing. While in most decks players won’t have a Lele sitting on their bench with energies on it, it’s actually beneficially for this deck. Also having Oranguru on the bench with energies can come in handy when you’re in a pinch and need to lay down some damage. Even a Mr. Mime with a few energies isn’t so bad since he’ll be saving your bench from all those pesky Koko promos and Buzzwoles (never attack with him though….just don’t do it).
For the first 3-5 turns of the game, you’ll want to have a Xerneas active with just 1 energy, and Geomancy as many times as possible. This means you’ll probably lose one or two of them before you’re actually using Life Stream to take big OHKO’s, and that’s okay. They’ll only be taking 1 prize for each of your lost Xerneas’, whereas you’ll (most likely) be taking two prizes off a GX/EX (Volcanion’s the only relevant EX in standard right…right?).
This is where counter catcher comes in handy. Being down a prize or two, you’ll be able to bring up that pesky Lycanroc, or Zoroark, or whatever else their saving as their late game big hitter, and KO it.
With Cynthia replacing Sycamore, you’re not losing as many resources early game, allowing you to hit late game energies, Choice Bands, and Guzmas that you would have otherwise had to dump early on with a Sycamore. Two Brigettes is also a strong yes, because trust me, if you miss your turn one Brigette because you only run one, and it’s prized, it’s going to be a long, long game (or a super short one since you’ll have no bench).
Now let’s talk about those techs:
1) Mewtwo. If you find yourself struggling to beat Espeon or Buzzwole, then Mewtwo is the card for you. Simply keep this bad boy in your hand and wait for them to throw three energies on either Espeon or Buzzwole, then, once they take a KO on your active Xerneas, toss Mewtwo onto the bench, attach DCE and a Choice Band, then free retreat your active with Fairy Garden. Boom, winning.
2) Giratina Promo. Greninja should, for the most part, be a great match up for you. You’re not really using abilities, except for Oranguru, and the first half of the game you’ll just be Geomancing anyways. The tricky part is making sure they can’t get energies into their hands for the constant Giant Water Shuriken chain. As long as you’re able to KO their Starmies, or early Frogadiers, I don’t see the match up being too rough, but if you’re honestly struggling against the froggos, then slap this bad boy into the deck. Bam, autowin.
3) Necrozma GX. Now, this guy is purely a “how aggressive do you want to be” kind of card. If you expect to hit GX and EX heavy decks all day long (Buzzwole/Lycanroc, ZoroPod, ZoroRoc, Etc.) then this card could come in handy. Simply throw him down on the bench, attach 1 fairy energy onto him, and wait. Once their bench has 3-5 GX/EX’s, attach a DCE and release the Black Ray (it’s kind of like a death ray, but with less death)!
If I were to swap a card out of the deck for any of these techs, I would most likely drop the third Lele, but if I really decided I needed to keep that third one, then I would drop the Pal Pad.
Six Meta Matchups:
This deck is arguably the best deck in standard right now, and as such the matchup might seem intimidating, as it should! With Acerola about to help Golisopod consistently hit you for 120, with Zoroark able to draw into everything the deck needs to win, it’s going to be a tough match up. But fret not, you can win this! If they are playing Tapu Koko Promo, it’s very important to get Mr. Mime on the bench your first turn. This will prevent their Golisopods from ever KOing you in one shot (one Flying Flip and they’ll be able to one shot your Xerneas’, two Flying Flips, and your Xerneas Breaks are done for). Sure, they can Guzma around it, but we are playing a Rescue Stretcher and two Super Rods, so it will be relatively easy to get back onto the bench.
Another great thing is that Zoroark will never be able to OHKO your Xerneas’ even if your opponent has used Flying Flip (yay reistance!). Although the draw engine of Zoroark may make it seem to be our likely target, Golisopod is who we should be going after. Ensuring that we can take their Pods out before they can chain Guzmas and Acerolas will significantly reduce their damage output.
The biggest thing to be careful of, however, is Parallel City. Knowing that most ZoroPod decks play one or two, and have the ability to get them back with Puzzle of Time, I would recommend putting energies (spread out of course) onto only 2-3 pokemon on your bench (preferably your Xerneas’, and if you have to, your Leles). This way when clearing the bench you should be able to minimize the amount of damage your Life Stream will be losing.
With these things in mind, simply keep your choice bands and DCE’s in hand until you’re completely ready to take that OHKO on their Golisopods and Zoroarks, and make sure to leave one Lele on the bench for your late game win condition.
Essentially, you want to play this out like your ZoroPod matchup. You won’t have to worry about Koko Promo for the most part (some players occasionally tech it in, they are a rare breed indeed). Essentially try to KO their Lycanrocs before they can attach a Strong Energy and OHKO with their second attack.
This matchup has been the hardest for me to overcome (damn you Strong Energy), but it is doable. Only play Lele if you really have to, and simply stick to Geomancying as many times as you can while working around Blood Thirsty Eyes. As long as you can take out their wolves, the foxes shouldn’t be too much of a problem.
3) Buzzwole and friends
Again, another deck where Mr. Mime is your best friend. Keeping him in play will severely hinder their ability to set up KOs with Jet Punch, and this allows you to keep that damaged Xerneas actively grabbing energies for you for a few extra turns.
Mr. Mime is especially important since the deck might be running Lycanroc, so being able to keep damage off your bench will hinder them from making easy Blood Thirsty Eyes plays.
If they are running the Garb version of the deck, simply keep your tools in your hand, and you’ll be fine. Not being able to Instruct each turn isn’t the end of the world, so you can just sit their and Geomancy to your hearts content. (Ever KO an opponent’s trubbish for game at 360 damage? Feel good man).
4) Volcanion and friends
This has honestly been the easiest matchup for the deck in my opinion. Sure, they can accelerate energy just like you with Kiawe, Nitro Tank GX, Power Heater, and Max Elixir but these all come with draw backs such as ending your turn or not being able to attack the following turn. On top of that, Turtonator drops its energies after it attacks, and you don’t really care about shell trap since your just going to Geomancy anyways. Add this to the fact that they are losing two prizes when you take a KO as opposed to them only taking one for KOing you, there shouldn’t be any real reason you lose this matchup.
Another tough match up for the deck, but still winnable. Most lists are starting to find they can grab a turn two Vikavolt, so you’re essentially trying to beat their resources, not their Pokémon. Sure, being able to hit you for 180 each turn can lose you the game, but if you’re able to spread your energies out, take out their Vikavolts ASAP, and keep Ning them while they are at 3 or less prizes (keep those Energy Recyclers out of their hands!), it is possible to take the win.
Only play down Mr. Mime if you see them with a Koko Promo, and make sure you have a Guzma in hand so you can KO that Vikavolt when you get the chance. If you have the chance to KO a Charjabug or Grubbin early on at the cost of Geomancying, go for it. Better to delay or deny their energy acceleration then have to constantly play each turn around it.
6) Metal Decks
Honestly, I don’t think weakness to metal right now is a bad thing. Sure there will be a ton of Necrozma GX running around, but they still can’t OHKO you with their first attack (yay 130 HP!) unless they have a FFB or Kukui (boo those people!). Their second attack will take a KO on most Pokémon anyways, so simply going after the Magnazones should be the play here. Geomancy a few times, and, just as with Bulu, go after the energy acceleration ASAP.
Metagross and Solgaleo will probably be tougher to play around, seeing as they simply have high HP counts and most likely run Max Potions or Accerolas, so going after Lele’s and the basics/stage one’s would be the route to go.
As for Alolan Dugtrio (BDIF right?) it simply comes down to who can keep the attack going longer. Sure, Dugtrio can easily KO you with their ability to get energies in hand, but if they can only get 2 or 3 on the bench you should be fine. Attack with Lele can also be an option since they’ll only have 60HP, and three energies is relatively easy to get onto a Lele.
All-in-all, I think the deck is sitting in a great spot right now. Xerneas just hasn’t gotten that much love since one of my close friends in the community used Gumshoos GX to sneak a peek at player’s hands and make it all the way to day two at the Hartford Regionals. I’m confident going into the North Carolina Regionals this deck will be in a strong position to shine, and you’ll more than likely see me playing this 60 (or close to it) in Charlotte (unless I think of some other crazy deck idea to play between now and then…which I probably will, but who knows).