From Alpha to Omega - Nicklas’ report featuring Primal Groudon-EX
Hello and welcome to my tournament report and deck profile, where I will cover the recent Regional Championship I attended in Lumby, Denmark, where I came in second. For the tournament, I chose to play Primal Groudon-EX.
Deck Profile: Primal Groudon-EX
Primal Groudon-EX PRC86 was a card that received quite a bit of hype with the release of the Primal Clash expansion. Groudon has the ability to passively shut down your opponents trainer cards that are targeted at it, with the Ancient Trait "Omega Barrier". This effect makes Primal Groudon-EX a fantastic card in a format where cards like Crushing Hammer, Enhanced Hammer, Hypnotoxic Laser and Lysandre really mess with your side of the board.
However, Groudon at first glance screams unplayable, but it has a lot of other stuff going for it, apart from the "Omega Barrier". It packs a whopping 240HP, that makes it really hard to knock out, and it has the attack "Gaia Volcano", which deals 100 damage for 3 Fighting Energy and a Colorless Energy - but if you discard a Stadium in play it deals 100 damage extra, which adds up to a total of 200 damage. 200 damage is ridiculous, because that takes care of practically every regular Pokémon-EX.
Primal Groudon-EX is also a Fighting type, which gives it the obvious advantage of playing Strong Energy, which says you deal 20 extra damage to your opponent's Active Pokémon. Now this allows Groudon to stack multiple Strong Energies on it, so it can take out the Mega Pokémon-EX in one hit as well, and with the addition of "Omega Barrier" it protects those Strong Energies from being removed with Enhanced Hammer. Amazing, right?
While Groudon has all those incredible things going for it, it does have it's really bad sides. For instance, the Fighting archetype really lacks some serious Energy acceleration. Therefore, Primal Groudon-EX will be very slow to power up, and that makes the deck weak against fast, Non-EX decks, such as the massively hyped Flareon / Empoleon deck, that won the recent Florida Regional in the USA. Furthermore, it is prone to take a beating from the aggressive Landorus-EX BCR89 / Crobat PHF33 deck, which has done well all tournaments since the middle of the City Championship season.
So what made me choose the deck, given it has bad matchups against the two most popular decks? I’ll post a sample list below and explain how I managed to swing those matchups in my favor:
Ok. So first off I’ll start explaining the different Pokémon.
Primal Groudon-EX: The Groudon line is self-explanatory. A 3-3 line is consistent and not too thick and allows a few to be prized, because usually you will only attack with two Primals during most games, and sometimes even only one.
Terrakion BCR151: I do not even know where to start with this card. It is simply just amazing. The card packs 130 HP for a basic non-EX which is really nice, but what makes it particularly good in this deck, is because it’s not an EX. This allows us to swing the Flareon PLF12 / Empoleon PLF117 matchup immensely. Why? Because we can use the Tool Silver Mirror that makes Plasma Pokémon unable to damage it. This is amazing against Flareon, because it and its partner Leafeon happen to be Plasma Pokémon. On top of that, its two attacks "Retaliate" and "Land Crush" happen to be able to fit the perfect numbers against Flareon and Leafeon PLF11. The both have 100 HP, so if you put a strong energy on Terrakion, then you can Retaliate for 110 after they KO’ed one of your Pokémon or use Land Crush for 110. Just awesome - and even if they manage to put down their Stadium Training Center, which gives them 30 more base HP, you can either put down another Strong Energy or replace the stadium with one of your own.
Now you may think they can just attack with Empoleon. Sure, that can make things a bit more difficult, but luckily, for us, Empoleon cannot one-shot Terrakion, due to the 130 HP. Note all you have to do, is not put down more than four Pokémon in play, and not even Muscle Band will help Empoleon to one-shot the beast. Just amazing. It is really this Pokémon can almost turn the match-up into an auto-win, so to speak.
Landorus FFI58: This Pokémon is just a great starter and has some Energy acceleration, which this deck kindly welcomes, but I am not going to run too many, because the water weakness makes it susceptible to Seismitoad-EX FFI20 and Empoleon. If it were not weak to water, I would run more of it.
Hawlucha FFI63: This little guy is just great. It is a free retreater, has resistance to Fighting, so it can wall against Landorus-EX / Crobat, and it is capable of finishing off EXs, which makes him a great addition to this deck.
Landorus-EX BCR89: Landorus-EX is just too good not to use. It can put early pressure on in most matchups, and what makes it exceptionally good is that it can help you a great deal against Flareon and in the mirror match against other Groudon decks. Hammerhead allows you to set up all kinds of KOs for your other attackers. Against Groudon, it puts you into a position where you do not have to commit too many Strong Energy to your own Groudons and against Flareon, it allows you to one-shot the Eevees early on and put 30 damage on Empoleon, which makes it so easy to KO with a Retaliate that gets boosted by Strong Energy. A great addition to the deck.
Mr. Mime PLF47: Two Mr. Mime!? What? Well, this is my techs against Landorus-EX / Crobat PHF. They will only expect you to run one Mr. Mime, which can trick them into navigating the early damage from Bats towards it. And when you put down the extra Mr. Mime, then they’ll have wasted a lot of early damage on it, which allows your Primal Groudon-EX to run amok and take 2-4 prizes, depending on the situation, until you Scramble Switch into a new, fresh one. I just love this card.
Now for the Trainers:
Korrina: I run 4 Korrina, because it can search out most of your Pokémon, and you can combo into Primal Groudon-EX, by searching out the Groudon Spirit Link and Primal at the same time. It can also be used to find the Silver Mirror and Terrakions at once in the Flareon matchup. This card has infinite potential in this deck.
N: I only run 3 N, because though it may be awesome early game and if you get behind, then it’s really hindrance having too many of them, if you’re the one in the lead and you start drawing too many of them, when you need that clutch Stadium every time, when needing to KO an EX.
Professor Birch's Observations: This card is underrated. People fear too much only drawing four cards, but in this deck, that can sometimes suffer from bad draws and sit still for a couple of turns, then having this Supporter in your back pocket is just awesome. It is also one of the best mid game Supporters in my opinion. You do not want to discard too much on Professor Juniper all the time, and you are not in the position to play Colress. N is not really an option either, because you might lower your hand size or help your opponent. Birch is your man. Possibly drawing seven cards while conserving resources is just so good. That is the reason why I run two of them in the deck.
Silver Mirror: As explained many times before, this card just comboes so well with Terrakion in the Flareon matchup, that it is nuts. It is what makes and breaks that matchup.
Battle Compressor: Battle Compressor has so many fancy and good uses. It can get rid of dead cards in certain matchups and it combo’s incredibly well with Landorus and VS Seeker. A nice little touch to the deck.
Scramble Switch: The ACE Spec of the deck is going to be Scramble Switch. This card is just born to be paired with slow Pokémon such as Groudon and Terrakion. It allows you to change into fresh attackers and with Primal Groudon having that Omega Barrier, then you shall not fear a hurt Groudon being targeted by Lysandre after the Scramble Switch.
Now for a quick tournament report, just to show you how well my list did.
Round 1 vs. Anders H (M Gardevoir-EX) - (0-0-1)
In the first round I was paired against a M Gardevoir-EX PRC106 deck. This matchup is what I consider an auto-win, because you control the pace of the game. You have more HP, which makes it incredibly difficult for Mega Gardevoir to KO you and you can pull off the first Lysandre, which is a ridiculous advantage. However, this person had teched a Heracross-EX FFI4 into his deck. I take the first game convincingly, but the second game he surprises me with the Heracross EX and my early aggression backfires. In game 3 I get an massive lead, but due to him being an overall slow player I am one prize short off taking game 3 home as well. Oh, well. Annoying way to start out the day.
Round 2 vs. Søren L (Flareon) - (1-0-1)
First Flareon of the day. My good friend Søren piloted it. He is a world’s level player and won our Nationals last year. I knew I was in for a rough time, so timing and resource management was key. I win game one convincingly, because he was not prepared for my Terrakions with Silver Mirror. With Scramble Switch, I was able to put him in a lock where I had a fresh attacker when he thought he was about to gain momentum.
In game 2 things start to shake up. He now knew what he was up against so he brought out his own tech of the day: Target Whistle. What!? This was not good… This allowed him to bring up Pokémon from my discard pile that he could hit and actually take prizes off. That meant my regular Groudon and my Landorus-EX was the main targets of the Whistle, and even though I tried to fill up my bench with other stuff, I could not keep up with the well timed Whistles and Lysandre. Rough. He takes the game six prizes to four. In game three, I was prepared for the whistle. I was going to do my best not to put unnecessary stuff in my discard pile, but I happened to get a golden turn 1. I get two Terrakions in play with Silver Mirror, Energy on the Active, and a Silent Lab. The Silent Lab made him unable to get any supporter to begin with by shutting down his Jirachi-EX, and I could steamroll him with Land Crush quickly, thus taking six prizes with just one Terrakion. Amazing, but very unfortunate for Søren. Things looked bright again.
Round 3 vs. Stephan S (TDK) - (2-0-1)
Stephan is another good friend of mine. He has won our Nationals three times and qualified for Worlds at least five times. He is a great player. Well, there is not much to say about this game. He tried his luck with TDK, but not having any Xerosic or Startling Megaphone in his deck, made this a complete auto-win for me. He even tried to charge up his Jirachi-EX to attack with, but it did not really work. I just used Lysandre, and took it out with Land Crush. Impossible match-up for him to win. But if he did have his outs I was confident I could pull it home. He only has 1 Megaphone and I had 2 Silver Mirror, which just meant I had to play them wisely.
Round 4 vs. Steffen E (Yveltal-EX / Seismitoad-EX / Garbodor) - (3-0-1)
Ok. So Steffen is yet another good friend of mine, but he moved to the Netherlands where he now lives. He is also a long time player, and certainly one of the best players I know personally and has been competing at Worlds several times. He chose to play Yveltal-EX XY79 / Seismitoad-EX / Garbodor for this tournament. I was confident in this matchup. It was yet again one of those matchups, where I control the pace, and can open up with the first and the best Lysandre of the game, for a big KO. The game was quite uneventful and I win the match by taking two fast games in a row.
Round 5 vs. Simon E (Yveltal-EX / Seismitoad-EX / Garbodor) - (3-0-2)
Simon is one of my very best friends, and perhaps Denmark’s best player. He has so many achievements under his belt and has been competing at worlds for so many times. This round we both chose to ID, in order to secure our spot in top cut, but I knew he was playing the same deck as his brother Steffen I faced in the round before.
Top 8 vs. Gavin G (Seismitoad-EX / Slurpuff) - (Win)
In top 8 I met Gavin from Sweden. Perhaps one of the nicest guys I have yet to face! He’s really coolheaded, but at the same time a lot of fun. He was playing a speedy version of Seismitoad-EX / Slurpuff PHF69 with Acro Bike in it. I took the series 2-0, as Seismitoad-EX just has such a poor matchup against Primal Groudon-EX, due to Seismitoad EX really relying on those disruptive trainers such as Hammers and Lasers. I did like his deck a lot, though! The extra speed was quite nice, because he ran a Mewtwo-EX LTR54, which can dish out quite a bit of damage to Groudon with X Ball.
Top 4 vs. Jens K (Night March / Empoleon) - (Win)
In Top 4 I faced probably my hardest matchup of the day, piloted by yet another of my good friends: Night March / Empoleon. The deck is so speedy, and Silver Mirrors does not help me at all. I feared this match-up a bit, but I was confident Groudon could take those big KOs on Mew-EX DRX46. What did happen, though, was that I ended up mainly relying on Terrakion, Silent Lab, and Landorus-EX, in order to win the game. Jens did make some crucial misplays, but I end up winning two games in a row.
Finals vs. Peter H (Virizion-EX / Genesect-EX) - (Loss)
I don’t want to talk about this game too much, haha. Because there is not much to say. He was playing Virizion-EX PLB9 / Genesect-EX PLB11, and managed to get past a meta-game that was filled with tons of Yveltal/Garbodor, Seismitoad/Slurpuff, Night March/Empoleon, and Flareon/Empoleon. I was not expecting a VirGen deck to do that well, or anyone even to try and play it, for that matter. But he did, and even though I had Silver Mirror and Silent Lab, it was just too much. He could just hit most of my stuff for weakness and break through the mirror with G Booster. It was too much.
Well, that concludes my deck profile and tournament report. I really feel Groudon can be big in this metagame, if you build it right. The power to KO Pokémon in one hit, and block your opponent's trainers is simply amazing, and Groudon has so many ways to be build. I am really looking forward to develop this archetype and get my last points for my worlds invite with it.