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Have you ever done something you really regret? Well I didn't really regret my last article, but it wasn't that great and had a spelling error that was not corrected. But I thought it would be best to write this article to supplement my last, which I didn't get a huge return from. So in a sense I am killing it twice, error wise and content wise I guess, bare with me. However really in the corner of my mind I knew that the feedback would be limited for the last article. In fact, it was so limited I only got one email from a moderately concerned player who respects a ban list.
It was a mediocre email at best, but more power to you and thanks for reading. I decided since my last article was more a dive straight into the technical aspects of the game, or more attack. I should write an article that could be generally based to all players from six to whatever. For most new unlimited players that I see in that age, they do the simple three stop process of the game. Make a deck and post it on a forum or talk about it at a league, wait for a while then get bashed and quit unlimited and go back to playing with Ex guys. Really it is four, but to prevent this and my clerical error I decided it be high time someone really write an article about the best of the best or at least something to playtest.
That, the best of the best that is, is without a doubt Vileplume EX. Vileplume EX is a house, a hoss, Geordie Tait, David Simon, Croconaw88, Rand0m, and The Rock, well you get the picture. This guy is so frustrating that I would say it gives over 1/2 of the metagame a headache. But this is far beyond common knowledge, this guy shuts off all trainer cards which should clue you in that he is knocking half your deck out with a single power. That my friends, is pure power at it's best. I would say that in any given game that you cannot play Professor Oak because of a big fat Ex guy, odds are you not going to get out ahead of that game.
Dealing with Vileplume Ex is so limited as well that it suggests play of Magby, Pichu, and Muk. While there are still answers out there I dont think much have been brought up to the community in general. Magby is more splashable as well as Pichu with a colorless attack, Muk more dedicated to true control of the critter and all powers making him a complete counterpart of the build. As it evolves we see some more answers like I said. But for now, its those lone four. So I think it be best we discuss how to truly abuse Vileplume Ex.
I know what new players are thinking, "Stage 2 EX? I thought this format was all speed? People don't even use this guy in modified." Well here's the truth, a well built Vileplume is going to beat you so bad you will have to buy new sleeves. This thing completely disrupts every gameplan available and all the staples that move it. When I got back into the game I was introduced to it through the internet, and I had a heart attack. So without further pandering here is the core.
4 Rare Candy
4 Double Colorless Energy
A quick note here, a core is pretty much the cards that are mandatory for the deck. You can test with others to truly make the deck, but these are simply staples for the deck. While it isn't necessary I think that for this deck it would be a good idea to max out on Computer Search and Item Finder. If your not already boasting the max amount of Professor Oak. You need to establish your trainer lock by getting the first turn Rare Candy on Oddish for your Vileplume Ex. Four of said card should be fine but you can always tune it up if your having problems within your draws or what have you.
The strategy is very simple and should be easy enough to pull off. Oddish is played and then a Rare Candy to Vileplume Ex. A good start is to drop an Energy on Vileplume and then follow it up turn two with a Double Colorless Energy or vice versa. Cleffa first turn is not always the best set up, you have a Lass times ten with Vileplume Ex and need it to be active to block trainers. You should not have any problems just getting it in play, and you can almost disregard card advantage to do so. Your more than likely going to be following it up with better card quality over advantage since your opponent will likely be sitting with a fistful of trainers.
The breakdown is pretty simple as well. At most you will have three cards in hand turn one and be set at a disadvantage of three. (-3 Pure Card Advantage, see www.starcitygames.com - Rakso's articles on PCA/CA and Tait's articles on the same. Actually there is a lot of good ones at SCG) Worst case scenario you have to use a Computer Search which would leave you almost handless. But good technical and logical playing will always leave you with at least three cards in hand. The key part of this paragraph is to understand that a simple Lass will make this deck scramble to try and get Vileplume Ex in play. Which is the main downfall of this whole deck.
Lass is the worst enemy of any unlimited deck. But for this deck it literally blows it over. You cannot withstand wasting a turn to try and get back on your feet and set up Vileplume Ex. A single turn is devastating and could lead to a Gust of Wind and a knock out on your lone Oddish. Life gets tough after the intial Lass. But you should have faith in your safety net of Cleffa and hope your going to be able to get back on the road. A single Lass looks something like this when it come down to PCA..
You: 5 Cards, Oddish active, Cleffa Benched.
Lass, and Eeeeeek.
-3 or 4 cards. You have -5 or 6 PCA.
In turn you just lost one whole turn of play, and they Time Walked all over your face. One of the other problems, or more things I hear about beating this deck is always Pichu before the Vileplume Ex. This never sat right with me since the idea is so un-realistic. It works somewhat, but is also a six turn clock that doesn't tick fast at all. The pure poison of the deck is Lass and Magby. As stated above, Lass is a Time Walk and Magby is a break from the lock. These are cards you just have to play through, Lass cannot be stopped first turn but Magby can be killed with some lucky double sided coins.
On to the bright side of things, here are just a few cards that will work wonderfully with the deck. First is Gust of Wind in fours, which is already an established powerhouse. Since Vileplume Ex dishes out big damage on turn two, you can pretty much Gust of Wind at will and start killing off the big hitters of the game like Sneasel and other deck counterparts. Especially if you see a Magby touch play, your going to have to hope they can't get an energy and a retreat in or it's curtains for a whole turn. Second is PlusPower which can work if you find you want to one hit KO a Sneasel or other 60 HP critters. While there are so many more that can be used, you'll think of them as you play the deck, you should really just do that and play it and modify. Because my ideas are aggressive and fast, you might wan't to go to the control road and build in some anti-Magby or just get more protection from the Lass.
As for some common matchups, first things first. I see this deck just not having a problem at all with Sneasel and Slowking. The established trainer control deck. Sneasel needs a perfect batting average or six heads to get a solid knock out. Slowking tries to gain card advantage and control but your doing what they wan't to do with one card. You stop trainers turn one and produce a fatty turn two and just mop up. I just don't see the percentages coming up in the Slowking deck's favor. The only chance this deck has is by teching a lone Magby to try and beat Vileplume Ex, that and the ever prevelant Lass first turn.
Against Clefable and Muk, you have a problem. But not much via the deck has a retreat cost on everything but the Cleffas. Go figure that you would have a hard time with the deck that is built to beat Vileplume Ex. Muk will shut you down, but this deck isn't going to combo off a Rocket's Trap on you, the trainers that only hurt the deck are Lass and Energy Removal. The standard Super Energy Removal or teched Energy Removal will hurt, and it will get rid of your whole setup. But I think it can pull through by just stalling the Clefable with Cleffa and slowly build up a good setup on Vileplume Ex and lay down the law on Muk with Gust of Wind.
Against Snichu you have no problems that could really arise. It's the same ordeal as named above, they have to either search for one of the peices of beating you and exhaust the hand or just go aggro and play a Pichu with an energy if they go first. If you go first, they have to go with Pichu while you go for the kill on Sneasel or Pichu. The six turn clock is not always the best and if you do go fist Lass no longer does anything. Not to mention the removal line the deck uses becomes less useful when they can't play them. Since this deck is intially a Sneasel deck and therefore a turn two deck, you should not have a hard time just going to town with a Vileplume Ex.
If you do not see how good this card is by now, then you should really just sit down and proxy or make the deck. Play it and then further understand how outrageous it can be. The top decks in the format become somewhat less of anything when all of there trainers are denied. In a sample game all that matters is just getting the Vileplume and then ripping apart everything.
This deck deck without a doubt is something that new players should not only look out for, but also try out. Since it's not that hard of a strategy to figure out, new players can play it and not really worry about card advantage but true playing technique. Not to mention the deck is fast and will help you understand the ropes of the format.
Well until next time..
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