Since I can’t seem to find anything at all on xerneas break at all recently. XB paired with giratina (a combo which we all know by now doesn’t work; I would be more than glad to have a rant at anyone trying to defend it) is clearly the wrong direction, however it seems to have a vast majority in popularity over other variants. The deck quickly flumped in popularity from EVO onwards. This can be explained by players testing early on by assuming XB is a non-EX version of Darkrai-EX; testing it with dragons; and results have told that the variant isn’t so great… So, in the interest of enriching the community:
- XernTina- Xerneas break combined with giratina-EX: bcos(“there’s dde synergy”…)
The reason why darktina works and xerntina doesn’t is simple: As a solid EX attacker, Darkrai-EX can get by well against other EX decks due to it having a fast pace and dealing OHKO damage lategame, however it has weaknesses in that it doesn’t have much it can do alone to combat things like vespiquen. Here the ridiculous lategame damage output doesn’t help at all, however vespiquen still has the advantage Darkrai-EX usually enjoys: lategame OHKOs. Other decks like this include, but are not limited to: Passimian, more vespiquen, rainbow road, gyarados, etc. Xerneas Break, on the other hand, takes more setup, (hence weaker to vileplume item lock, there go about 3 MUs). Furthermore, there simply isn’t space in the deck for as much consistency: Xerneas break is a great deck atm due to nest ball now being around, however it’s a very tight list and there just aren’t many/any bad matchups that giratina helps with. e.g. vespiquen should lose to streaming xerneas due to it not reaching OHKO damage in the first few turns. Hence, tina isn’t worth the space.
- Xernite- Xerneas break combined with dragonite-EX and unown for draw power (dragonite can attack too!): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wqP5LRdBjBE
This is more an example of how xerneas break didn’t quite work without nest ball. Unown thined the deck while dragonite-EX abused unown for further deck thining, draw power and recovery of xerneas’. Naturally it’s a Darkintegralgaming list so it is a little on the troll side, however it is much better thought out than xerntina and deserves a mention as part of the heritage of the deck, even if it isn’t neccessary or good with nest ball outclassing the concept.
- XernLax- Some players saw fit to use snorlax-GX’s break attack before SUM dropped, (could be changed to tauros or something else?)
Pokemon(15): . . . Supporters(15): . .Trainer(13): . . . Stadium(4):
4-4 Xerneas . . . . .4 Sycamore . . . . . 4 Ultra ball . . . . 4 Silent lab
2 lugia-EX. . . . . . .3 N . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Exp. share . . . . . . . . . . . .
1 snorlax-GX . . . . 2 Lysandre . . . . . . 2 super rod . . . Energy(13):
2 shaymin-EX . . . .1 Ninja boy . . . . . . 1 fury belt . . . . 9 Fairy
1 jirachi . . . . . . . . 1 Ace trainer . . . . . 1 escape rope .4 DCE
1 regirock . . . . . . 4 vs seeker . . . . . . .2 float stone . . .Total: 60
An alternative, more classical approach would be as follows:
Pokemon(14): .Supporter(15): . . Trainer(13): . . . . Stadium(4):
4-4 Xerneas . . 4 Sycamore . . . . .3 Trainers’ mail . .3 Fairy garden
1 lugia-Ex . . . . 3 N . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Exp. share . . . . 1 Parallel city
1 Snorlax-GX . .2 Lysandre . . . . . 1 super rod . . . . .Energy(13):
2 shaymin-EX . 1 Ninja boy . . . . . 4 ultra ball . . . . . .9 Fairy
1 regirock . . . . 1 Brock’s grit . . . .1 escape rope . . .4 DCE
1 jirachi . . . . . . 4 Vs seeker . . . . 1 Max elixir . . . . . . Total:60
Tauros-GX is another interesting option, however it’s not as effective as snorlax at the last minute, game sweeping OHKO. Nest ball should probably be in both of these lists.
Pure unadulterated xerneas break! Couldn’t find a list so:
4 xerneas break
2 Lysandre (drop one for lele)
1 Brock’s grit
4 vs seeker
4 Nest ball
3 ultra ball
3 max elixir
3 exp. share
1 bursting balloon (choice band)
1 super rod
3 fairy garden
The choice not to play shaymin-EX in this particular list is personal, I don’t feel I need to. However I may find a space for 1-2 copies at some point. What are other takes on xerneas break? I believe pure xerneas break lists are becoming quite strong (known new decks from SM2 don’t seem to be threatening to Xern either), most notably with the newer inclusion of nest ball that now makes the deck viable. Not amazing, viable.
New Tech Cards Explained Section!!
1 of the first choices with xerneas break focused decks is the choice between 4-4 line and 4-3 line of xerneas break.
- The first xerneas doesn’t need to break evolve, so why not play one more of it than the break. However, ideally you need as many of both as you can get to play out all 6 cards.
- Xerneas break isn’t needed early on, so it’s no use having a 4th copy cloggy up your starting hand.
- It’s normally easier to search the basic due to Nest ball. Therefore it’s important to max out on the break.
- About a one-third chance of 1 break being prized if you play 3.
- Need space for other cards.
Regirock (promo) is the highest hp basic with the Barrier ancient trait. This protects it from Lysandre, crushing hammer and enhanced hammer (and the new tool removal); Making it a safe pokemon to hold energy. Ninja boy can combo with him quite effectively but isn’t a neccessity.
Jirachi (promo), aka stardust jirachi, this was something I didn’t fully apprecite at first in xerneas break, but jirachi is very helpful in matchups against Mrayquaza-EX and Mmewtwo-EX, who both require 11 energy to OHKO, making it hard to gain an advantage. Jirachi can stall time to place more energy, deal 10 damage which lowers the neccessary energy to 10 against mewtwo, and prevents your opponent increasing their set up by forcing them to commit another energy.
Klefki - Helps in mega matchups, particularly Mray, Mm2, Mgardevoir, and Mscizor (not relevant but hey). This are all matchups where XB has no discernible advantage and hence this tech improves the matchup.
- Need a turn or 2 of items against vileplume to setup exp. shares and such. Generally vileplume partners, like Lurantis-GX, won’t be OHKOing us. We have 3 vileplume decks in format right now.
- Grants a safer setup against Volcanion. Normally volcanion will power heater to 2HKO your first xerneas, however 4 steam ups into a 140-50 power heater is possible and can straight up take an unstopable lead. Max elixir spam onto a volcanion-EX is also another possibility which is much less likely with shaymin-EX negated by wobb.
- Not especially useful in a lot of matchups across the board. Will become much less effective in general with the release of tapu lele.
- Can lead us into an otherwise avoidable brick scenario. (Not so true after we get tapu lele)
1 brock 1 super rod vs. 2 super rod. 1 super rod isn’t enough, I feel 2 also isn’t quite enough either as 1 may be in a start hand where you have no option but to discard it. (sycamore). The advantage with brock is simply that it not only recycles everything (although I often end up giving up my supporter for turn for 3-4 cards rather than the full 6), but that it can’t really be irretrievably discarded, resulting in the inability to play lategame. A good setup generally holds out when you have to pause for a turn to use brock’s grit.
Trainers’ mail: There are many opinions on this card and it’s effect on consistency. a) not worthwhile over other cards. If you run the numbers it only adds about a 1 in 20 chance to starting with a sycamore. b) it helps with consistency. c) (my view) It helps to order your deck, e.g. taking early game cards out early and leaving lategame cards in the deck. This card improves consistency not only when played, but also afterwards. However, whether it is worth a slot in a deck is still up for questioning due to both effects being of a reasonably small magnitude.
Max elixir is a card that some players play, and some players don’t play. It’s a generally acknowledged fact, or at least it should be, that the more max elixirs you play, the less effective each single one becomes (same with trainers’ mail). However, the more you play, the more reliable the effect is achieved each game. (e.g. talonflame) In xerneas, you want to either hit them early game, before geomancy (the main example for why it isn’t so popular), or the lategame, just after you brock or super rod.
3 fairy garden, 4 fairy garden, or 3 gardens and 1 city?!? This is really about preference.
Tauros-GX can potentially be useful. Unfortunately it isn’t too useful in a lot of the MUs XB needs tech for. The fact that Tauros is designed to trade with other EX/GXs which effectively makes the game simpler for the side using it is great! But a lot of high tier decks can dismantle him: Decidueye Lysandre + snipes over, Volcanion OHKOs, Mm2 OHKOs, Mray OHKOs, vespiquen out-prizes, even golduck beats tauros; in short, tauros is good in some decks, however it isn’t as splashable as you might think in the current format.
I chose not to play shaymin in my list for the same reason I chose not to play them in raikou. I feel there isn’t room for the liability in this deck.
2 prize low hp bench pokemon
takes up bench space (can hold energy)
Playing parallel city to dump prevents it being a liability
Main advantage is the anti-bricking factor
pretty useless in Decidueye/plume MU
Volcanion - The main ways to lose this are: a) bricking b) your opponent going first and setting up for a 140-50 damage power heater t2. (It’s more unlikely they’ll pull it off on their first turn). It’s a little counter-contrary, but after testing, I believe we should strive to go first in this MU. Volcanion can be a little difficult early game with a fury belt, however it’s hard for a volcanion player to use a fury belted volcanion-EX, so 9 energy is all we are ever going to need on board. Burst balloon is very helpful early game for taking down the first volcanion.
When I first noted down the theorymon of this MU, I found the only way to win was to be taking OHKOs by the 2nd volcanion-EX. However, after I got some serious testing done, it turns out it’s very easy to OHKO the 1st volcanion-EX. Testing without shaymin-EX proves that when we don’t brick (and volcanion doesn’t do anything absolutely crazy), we win 6 prizes - 2. This shows that benching a shaymin-EX isn’t dangerous, making the clear case to let shaymin back into the deck.
Turbo darkrai - we resist so 130 = 6x20 (+10), 6 dark energy are required for a OHKO on xerneas. This matchup should be a little harder than volcanion as darkrai like fury belt a little more, however it is our Ko’s that pick up into the lategame and not darkrai’s. Also, our opponent hasn’t got any scary 1 prize attackers to play 7 prizes with. Go first if possible.
Decidueye/plume - This is a MU that can go either way:
If xerneas plays a thick-ish supporter line vileplume can hinder Decidueye as, although it naturally seems favourable for decidueye due to a) large hp avoiding OHKOs, and b) the ability to snipe through exp. share (also grants some neat temporary N protection). However, into the lategame, if decidueye can’t recover KO’d decidueye-GX, then the damage output falls to a point where XB can survive hits and win a prize exchange.
Shaymin-EX ko’s will always be able to sway a game one way or the other. If XB benches one it will most likely meet it’s demise. XB has a slightly harder time punishing Decidueye’s shaymin’s however.
wobbufet - Is a gambit: Decidueye/plume doesn’t focus on plume so it isn’t common to get locked straight off the bat. Once wobb is down decidueye needs 1 energy attachment turn + 2 attacking turns to remove it. This does sacrifice the wobbufet for enough time to setup items and isn’t something that “has” to be done every game. If Decidueye setup plume, their weaker lategame makes up for the early prize sacrifice. If plume isn’t setup, then wobbufet can just sit on the bench and switch in and out with fairy garden. Wobb, at worst, buys enough time to place the energy worth the geomancy that could have been used instead a) without sacrificing a xern, and b) with time to setup a full bench of XB.
Tauros-GX against XB is generally suicide; it doesn’t do enough damage and risks too much.
Lugia-EX can be tricky to deal with when it is OHKOing XB ontop of decidueye snipe damage. It does require 2 dce however and can be outed by a burst balloon (or choice band) or good setup. The biggest risk is a lugia-EX start with 2 quick Dce attachments; this is almost impossible to deal with as the XB player.
This leads on to Decidueye’s winning strategy: only use plume as a mid-lategame trump; win the prize race through the first ko on wobb; or overthrow a weak setup by XB.
XB wins by decidueye not setting up enough decidueye-GX or not being able to maintain Decidueye-GXs.
In testing the MU comes out at a 50-50 (XB using a 4 N 0 trainers’ mail list with wobb)
Lurantis/plume - The plume is more consistent than Decidueye/plume, giving us more trouble t1 wobbufeting. But what this plume variant sacrifices is damage. We can literally sit back and geomancy spam to 11 energy and then start attacking as XB can win from 2-6 prizes down… If XB survives at any level, even with a “brittle” board, 2 attacking breaks can be enough to win a game. In a couple of games, jirachi has even come in clutch! Although I don’t play much in the way of secondary attackers, this outlines the only reason I consider them; jirachi deals damage for a low number of energy.
Mega rayquaza - I’ve always kind of felt like the strategy of this deck had a few holes in it, maybe it’s just the barbaric amount of shaymin played per game (average is probably around 5), or something else altogether; but either way, I’ve never met a Rayquaza player who’s not having fun! (This excludes just after a garb + N)
Jirachi can stall for time and mess ray up very effectively. Jirachi is a failsafe against being overrun, which is the danger when playing against a deck that consistently OHKOs XB. As for other win conditions; shaymin-EX is a constant target.
Lapras-GX - This MU is very tricky as it is near impossible to tech for and can chug out KOs on us like there’s no tomorrow. Try to setup at least 2HKOs and hope they draw poorly.
Stay turned for more matchup analysis