by Jason Klaczynski
You know, I've written a lot of Arithmetic deck lists. The only difference is that this time the deck is sickeningly powerful and now competes for arguable the best unlimited deck- period. Sorry about the Super Battle Zone article. It was only hours later I found out it was changed to modified. But hey- it's good to keep up with unlimited. Now, I haven't had much experience playing unlimited with Aquapolis, but over 4 years of playing it gives me a general idea that this deck is going to work. Let me explain the story.
Arithmetic, most of you know, started off in the days of Gym Challenge, with the release of Rocket's Zapdos. It was a fast deck, with Electabuzz, and Rocket's Zapdos, with a high vulnerability to Clefable, and especially something like Hitmonchan/Clefable. It was a speed deck- a deck that Oaked twice first turn, got some lightning in the discard, and began with Plasma. It would build and then use Defender to manipulate the Electroburn damage. When Neo came out, the deck was weakened. It took a while for people to realize that Cleffa had changed the game. Although Rocket's Zapdos had gained Metal Energy and Sprout Tower (perhaps defense against Wigglytuff and Clefable), an old Arithmetic should go 1/5 at best against a modernized Slowking/Sneasel, usually with quick wins if it does win.
So Arithmetic kind of just sat there- it lost to Slowking, we figured it'd lose to much more of the new type of decks. But we began to see some type of pattern in the decks... with the release of the Pokémon Tower promo I literally would just sit up at night when I was bored and think about decks, write down decks, mess around with decks, and of course, I knew - we knew - that it would work best in a basic energy deck. So was it Typhlosion? Perhaps. That deck barely had room for the trainers we'd take out by adding Pokemon Tower (Item Finder), but what I was more interested in was good old Rocket's Zapdos. I kept imaging how strong Pokémon on Tower could be - just the idea that your opponent could not play Item Finder- and their Recycle Energies would be sent to the discard and stay there. And the reason the Recycle Energy manipulation is so strong is because decks that rely on Recycle Energy do not play many energy - why should they? So this was a very powerful concept. It meant that Steelix would not hold against Arithmetic because the Ecos would be overpowered by Towers and when the Steelix was stranded for even a few turns, the Zapdos got going with metal energy and the consistent 60 damage won. Steelix was popular at the time. I knew Slowking relied heavily on Item Finder and Recycle Energy - but was it enough? If they beat the Tower with Slowkings, oops, and even if you did play the Tower first, they'd Healing Fields it, evolve, and control it from there. So I finally decided Muk was the way to go. Igglybuff was garbage - it would be to easy to Zzzap them with a Rocket's Zapdos active, as it's only way to one hit KO a baby was PlusPower (and against Slowking, and a(n often focused) Pichu, this simply isn't cool. So I went with Muk... you can look at my old "Arithmetech" article explaining the Arithmetic variant I had revived. I won consistently with the deck. I almost never lost. I beat Steelix, I beat Slowking, I beat any deck that relied on a power- like Typhlosion, Brock's Ninetales, Meganium, whatever, I beat Wigglytuff and Chansey decks- the decks that relied so heavily on low energy and Recycle Energy- the same way I beat Steelix. Only Snechu was good against Arithmetech.
The deck was extremely consistent. It always pulled out of games. But eventually, it's weakness was discovered. The high retreats of Zapdos and Muk always drove me nuts, and I even had played 3 Switch, 1 Double Gust, 1 Balloon Berry and 3 Double Colorless Energy to combat it. But Slowking, and Murkrow, are simply amazing cards. It became Slowking's best option to use every Gust to bring out the Muk- and Mean Look- especially if I don't have a KO option with Switch. Gust, Switch, Gust, Switch... then sacrifice the Brock's Mankey to bring out Muk, and what eventually happens is that the deck nearly runs out of ways to get Muk back to the bench, and they drop a Chaos Gym, and it loses. Oops. Now, this was a very advanced strategy, but I want to be able to beat even the best of players. I didn't play Arithmetech for a while, but now, something has brought it back. It's Warp Energy. It's amazing. You can't argue that it isn't simply better than Full Heal Energy. I'm going to play 4. Slowking cannot stop energy- this weakens Murkrow so much. And once you play that Warp on the Muk, you have an energy to help pay for it's retreat if it is Gusted again, or an energy to use with SER if you need it.
But there's more. Juggler. This card was obviously made to encourage - or perhaps beg - the basic energy decks to come back to unlimited. I expect it back. I expect it to work well in modified decks too, like Meganium. The discarding of lightning works well with Zapdos (not as well as you may think though because it can often hurt losing energy, but this is fixed by playing a high amount of lightning). Town Volunteers is better than Nightly, too.
Check this deck out. And think to yourself of popular decks... what beats this? My friend suggested to me that a deck like "Wigglytuff/Scyther/Boost Energy" would be effective against the deck, and I suppose that's a possibility, but I don't know. We'll see.
3x Rocket's Zapdos
Yes, it is low basic, but you shouldn't mind opening with most of these basics. Grimer can actually be a better opener than Rocket's Zapdos- it's the retreat the gives your opponent control of the game. With 4 Tyrogue, and 3 Cleffa (yes, I've never played a line like that in any other deck), you'll open with a Tyrogue or Cleffa more than half of your games. The Tyrogue is anti Sneasel. Against decks like Snechu, with both Energy Charges, EcoGyms, and maxed out on Sneasels, Darks and Rainbows, you might not be able to win with removal, and may resort to things like Smash Punch, then Plasma with a PlusPower to KO a Sneasel for a winning advantage.
10x Lightning Energy
4x Warp Energy
2x Metal Energy
I haven't tested this energy much, I know it would become important to save the Warp Energy against Slowking. My main concern is if 10 lightning is enough to productively use Juggler, basically, is it enough so that you can discard 2 often, and if you do discard 2, will you still be in a good situation?
3x Pokémon Tower stadium
3x Energy Removal
3x Super Energy Removal
3x Computer Search
3x Gust of Wind
3x Gold Berry pokémon tool
3x Juggler supporter
2x Professor Oak
1x Double Gust
1x Focus Band pokémon tool
1x Town Volunteers supporter
Here's the interesting part. 4/4 or even 4/3 removal is unnecessary. Either a deck loses to a 3 gym 3/3 removal line or it beats removal period. I don't think unlimited is about maxing out on Computer Search anymore, because of Copycat, although this deck only plays 1 (which I'm not even sure if it is supposed to be there... actually, wait, I took it out as I wrote the deck list), and this is, of course, because of Juggler. Notice the 2 Lass. This deck does not rely on Lass/Eeeeeeek. It can allow most decks to develop as much as they want and still lose because they are shut down completely by either the Tower+Removal or the Muk. The Focus Band? Well, maybe you should play 2, and then 2 Gold Berry, or take out a Copycat, or something? The reason I'd suggest 2 is because it gives you a significant advantage in Tyrogue against Tyrogue, or just Tyrogue against Sneasel. The PlusPowers, and I think 2 is the right amount, are actually for the Zapdos. You're often in a position to gamble, trying for the baby KO with a Plasma, using PlusPower. My favorite position to use this in is when I'm holding both, and if it fails, I'll try it against next turn.
Let me remind you that this deck could be slightly editted, and once it's changed enough to keep up with the current environment, I'll write up on it again. I want you guys to try this deck. Try your own ideas with it. Just don't play Electabuzz- that's a popular mistake. Even with Warp Energy, a 2 retreater that is so vulnerable to Tyrogue can never work, and that goes for modified too. Remember though, this deck can beat nearly anything- that's why it's so good. I am not exaggerating the strength of this deck. It does take practice to win against good decks with it, though. This deck is now a dominating force in unlimited because of other deck's vulnerability to Pokémon Tower (nearly every deck), Energy Removal (some decks more than others, but every deck is hurt by it), and Muk. And Muk is sometimes completely useless, yes, I know. Just use it for your Computer Search, then.
So if you are playing in an unlimited tournament, I would actually recommend this deck. And if you have questions or ideas, you should all know my AIM by now- onettness, and I'll talk to you about it.
Since I do not write often anymore, I'll leave with a few other notes...
1) Pokémon Fan Club belongs in nearly every deck. Ironically, Arithmetic plays zero for several reasons, mainly the fact that it already relies on Juggler, especially during the first few turns, and this is when Pokémon Fan Club is used productively. If you don't use it early, you'll fill your bench with what you need, naturally, in a matter of turns.
2) Aquapolis Scizor is definitely amazing. Don't let the Card of the Day ratings fool you, this thing is a beast. It has replaced Steelix in unlimited simply because it can do much more damage, Scyther is much better than Onix, and it's first attack is great against Slowking. It also has a 2 retreat instead of 4. The 30 HP difference is significant, as it allows a Beat Up with two dark a reasonable KO chance, but this is to a metal-less Scizor, too, mind you, and with EcoGym Sneasel is not often in a position to make this knockout. Scizor should rely on PlusPowers to KO Sneasel and even benched baby Pokémon. (PlusPower and two metal give you a 75% chance of KO'ing an undamaged Sneasel, preventing a following Beat Up, which would on average, knock out a Scizor, even if it had just used Gold Berry). In modified, it's questionable over Steelix, but definitely an option. This is mostly because of the fact that there is no good Scyther.
3) Modified is left with a pool of playable decks, including Genesis Feraligatr/Parasect, Expedition Feraligatr/Forretress, Ampharos, Entei/Magcargo, Donphan/Noctowl/Murkrow, Expedition Blastoise/Steelix, Kabutops/Steelix, Kingdra, Poliwrath, Aquapolis Exeggutor, Genesis Meganium and even more.
Seeya guys. Hope you enjoyed it.