Kingdra/Greninja Victoria Regional Report by Michael Kan
Hello everyone, my name is Michael Kan and for those who do not know me, I am a player from the state of Victoria, Australia. Of recent times Victoria has had a Pokemon Trading Card Game Regional Championship and as such I will be discussing the deck which I chose to play for this tournament which fortunately saw a top 8 finish.
This season my preferred deck of choice has been the Blastoise/Keldeo EX/Black Kyurem EX deck whereby I have found some success with the deck. However I didn’t feel like the deck could go deep this time so I ultimately considered other options. In the end I decided to play a Kingdra/Greninja deck for the tournament.
This is the list I used for the Victorian Regional Championship.
4 Froakie (KSS)
2 Frogadier (KSS)
4 Greninja (XY)
3 Horsea (PLF)
1 Seadra (PLF)
3 Kingdra (PLF)
2 Sigilyph (LTR)
1 Voltorb (XY)
1 Electrode (BCR)
3 Professor Juniper
4 Ultra Ball
4 Rare Candy
3 Level Ball
1 Super Rod
1 Computer Search
3 Tropical Beach
10 Water Energy
The deck has a rather simple strategy in using Water Shuriken from Greninja to set up a discard pile for a Dragon Vortex from Kingdra. Placing water shuriken damage on the right Pokemon at the right time often allowed the otherwise weak Kingdra to achieve some impressive knockouts on Pokemon with exceptionally high HP including the likes of Yveltal EX, Keldeo EX, Darkrai EX, Genesect EX and Lugia EX.
While the strategy for this deck is fairly simple, there are many things to consider while playing, with the most outstanding thing to consider every turn, being how much damage can be done with Greninja’s ability and Kingdra’s attack. This was particularly important as Kingdra is a Stage 2 Pokemon thus automatically making it difficult to get into play, and making getting multiple Kingdras into play a very difficult feat. The Kingdra line is also not the most generous of Pokemon lines especially for a main attacker therefore in considering how much damage could be done in a turn, it would probably be a good play to only attack with Kingdra if it is to score a knock out on your opponent’s active Pokemon or if there is a slim chance of being knocked out during your opponent’s turn, that way the low amount of Kingdras are used most efficiently. In turns where you can’t afford to attack or if you simply can’t attack, you can retreat to a Sigilyph which cannot be touched by Pokemon EX due to its safeguard ability.
Another important thing to consider is appropriate use of the bench. Generally I always wanted to have 2 Greninjas in play at some point in a game and furthermore I would always want at least two spots free for Kingdra lines so that if a Kingdra was to be knocked out I could immediately replace it with one that is on the bench. Other than ensuring that at least 2 Froakies and 2 Horseas are benched early, a lot is dependent on what you draw or what match-up you are playing against. For example when versing a deck that contains many Pokemon EX, it is a standard play to retreat to a Sigilyph within the first ew turns of the game which in turn gives up one of the available six Pokemon zones.
I wouldn’t consider Kingdra/Grenininja a standard choice of deck nor would I consider it a safe deck, however as I am not going for a Worlds invite like many other players in the Country, I feel like I can think twice about the choices of decks available to myself. As mentioned earlier, I would typically play Blastoise at tournaments and overall, I felt like Kingdra/Greninja had very similar match-ups to Blastoise decks, but this deck provided a potentially beneficial surprise factor, something which an established and successful deck like Blastoise could not provide. Moreover I found the match-ups for this deck to be quite tolerable aside from the match-up against Garbodor variants which I would certainly hope to avoid if I went with Blastoise anyway. With mostly tolerable match-ups I felt that I could justify risking Kingdra/Greninja in a large tournament like the Victorian Regional Championship. On a separate note, departing from this match-up nonsense, the deck is rather fun to play automatically making the deck more appealing than the likes of Blastoise, Rayboar, Darkrai/Yveltal, Virizion/Genesect, Garbodor, Plasma, Aromatisse or variants of any other meta game decks.
Overall I don’t believe that too much is strange with my Kingdra/Greninja deck list however the readers of this write-up may find particular aspects strange so I will address what I feel to be relevant.
Firstly I run a more generous Greninja line than the Kingdra line as I always want to get 2-3 Greninja into play throughout a game due to its ability being useable every turn whereas Kingdra’s worth in a game is largely dependent on how much damage it can do whereby Kingdra’s damage potential is significantly increased as a result of getting multiple Greninjas into play.
The Sigilyphs in the deck may be strange, especially with the lack of psychic energy. Sigilyphs are purely in the deck to wall Pokemon EX. While most decks have options to overcome the problem of Sigilyph, it could take a turn or 2 to set up an out to safeguard, the opponent could also whiff ways to overcome Sigilyph in the early turns of a game thereby giving the deck some free turns to establish some kind of set up. On a separate note, Sigilyphs are run in preference to Suicune which also has the same ability, due to the option of searching for Sigilyph with level ball.
The Electrode line is included in the deck list for some draw power. The small amount of cards which Electrode draws can be effective in the late stages of a game where both players are likely to be playing N for low amounts of cards. Additional water energy may be drawn off magnetic draw to be used for Greninja’s water Shuriken ability.
In the trainer line up I run a significant amount of Ultra balls and Level Balls as there are many different Pokemon which I need at different times. This in turn minimises the chance of intolerable hands consisting evolution Pokemon which don’t evolve from basic Pokemon already in play. At a total of 13, I feel as though I have included a sufficient amount of supporters which is important as to ensure that the deck always has options throughout a game. The Ace Spec, Computer Search can also search for a supporter if needed thus increasing the amount of cards which are essentially supporters. In the need for a deck to always have options, the 3 copies of Tropical Beach are twofold in that they allow for additional and much needed draw power to assist in setting up an inconsistent deck like Kingdra/Greninja and on the other hand, the Tropical Beaches also replace other popular stadium cards such as Virbank City Gym, Frozen City, Fairy Garden and Skyarrow Bridge.
I opted to not run a single copy of Professor’s Letter as I didn’t feel that I could justify removing any other card from the list. Professor’s Letter would have definitely been a great card to run in this deck.
In terms of Energy cards, I included 10 basic Water Energy in my list. I felt that 10 Water Energy was generous enough to consistently draw water energies for constant Water Shurikens and Dragon Vortexes. I wouldn’t want to run less than 10 Water Energy in this deck, at the same time additional Water Energy would be useful but not necessary due to the fact that Kingdra’s Dragon Vortex attack returns all Water Energy into the deck.
For those who are interested, this is how my day went. I apologize in advance if people didn’t want to be mentioned so if you have any problems please feel free to contact myself or leave a comment.
Round- 1 Sean T with Aromatisse/Klinklang
Sean was playing an interesting deck and what I consider to have been a decent meta-game call for the day. Klinkang thrives on versing decks dominated by Pokemon EX, unfortunately for Sean though, my deck contained no Pokemon EX which made Klinklang less useful in this match-up. The natural lack of aggression from Sean’s deck and the limited options for Klinklang/Aromatisse arising from the nature of this match-up ensured that my deck saw full set ups and wins in both games, with Kingdra’s Tri Bullet being very useful at knocking out Spritzees. My opponent played well nonetheless but was very unfortunate to verse a bad match-up this round.
Round 2- Anderson R with Klinklang/Cobalion/Cobalion EX/Registeels EX
Much like the first round my opponent was unfortunate to verse what I would consider a bad match-up for a Klinklang deck. Nonetheless my opponent is an up and coming player who I believe made top 32 at last year’s National Championship and played the match-up well despite the natural disadvantage of Klinklang in the match-up. I was able to win 2-0 with little threatening the setup of multiple Kingdras and Greninjas, the lack of damage achievable by Anderson’s metal Pokemon was also unfortunate for him as Kingdras were often able to attack twice before being knocked out.
Round 3- Christopher K with Darkrai EX/Yveltal EX/Boufalant/Keldeo EX
Overall I find the Darkrai EX/Yveltal EX match-up to be tolerable however it is definitely winnable for either player. I was able to win this match 2-0 by getting 3-4 stage 2’s out very fast in both games and walling with Sigilyph which netted some much needed extra turns in the early stages of a game. Essentially in both games I would be drawing plenty of water energy to use Greninja’s water Shuriken and to discard by other means such as Professor Juniper or Ultra Ball which allowed for some very significant knockouts. Christopher played this matchup well with a noticeable play in both games being the avoidance of benching Sablye which would have been a free prize from Greninja’s water Shurikens later on.
Round 4- Julie K with Blastoise/Keldeo EX/Black Kyurem EX/Black Kyurem
Unfortunately I have to verse a fellow team member but being the nice person she is, Julie makes the decision that given the apparent match-ups on other tables, it is a lot easier for Blastoise to win 2 more rounds than for Kingdra/Greninja to win 2 more rounds so my opponent concedes the round. Fortunately though Julie ends up winning 2 more rounds and makes top 8 so major congratulations. We decide to have a game anyway and I lose very close game with the opponent’s N absolutely crippling my hand late game. A top deck and an Electrode’s Magnetic Draw unfortunately don’t get there and my Kingdra is knocked out for game by Keldeo’s Secret Sword attack.
Round 5- James G with Yveltal EX/Garbodor /Darkrai EX
This round I versed a match-up which I hoped not to verse for the entire duration of the tournament however, it is at a point where it doesn’t matter too much as I was under the impression that I only had to win a single round to make top cut. My opponent played the match-up very well and there was little I could do under Garbotoxin from Garbodor, needless to say I lost a very quick 2 games thus ending my fortunate undefeated streak at the Victorian Regional Championship. James ended up making top 4 at this tournament so congratulations to James for that great performance.
Round 6- Shane Q with Blastoise/Keldeo EX/Black Kyurem EX/Black Kyurem
I find Blastoise to be a fairly good match-up however the game can become very awkward if I cannot deal with a Keldeo EX fast enough. My opponent gets a fast Blastoise however the surprise factor of Kingdra/Greninja may have been significant as my opponent attached Water Energy to a Black Kyurem EX via Blastoise’s Deluge ability. With my opponent having committed to the Black Kyurem EX, he naturally ended up attacking with it which wasn’t a difficult knock out for Kingdra due to it dragon typing. The first game ended with Greninja’s Water Shuriken eventually knocking out the Blastoise’s my opponenet got into play and Kingdra getting a significant knock out. In game 2 I was able to establish a great set up and constantly attack with Kingdra while walling with Sigilyph when I couldn’t attack. Eventually I knock out both of my opponent’s Blastoise’s and Dragon Vortex for game on a Pokemon EX. Great games and well played.
Round 7- Jake C with Thundurus EX/Deoxys EX/Kyurem/Genesect EX/Palkia EX
As I had secured my spot in the top no matter what happened in this game, I intentionally tied with my opponent. We did end up playing some Pokemon however the games were laid back and casual as there was no purpose to play. I believe that I won game 1 by my opponent decking out and game 2 my start was slow which eventually led to a loss. Game 3 was just strange with my opponent unable to get a Virizion Ex out of the active spot, likewise it took a very long time for a Kingdra to get into play, needless to say the game never finished with both players at 6 prizes when time was called.
I ended up making top 8 at 3rd seed and I would end up versing my opponent from round 7 again in top 8.
Top 8- Jake C with Thundurus EX/Deoxys EX/Kyurem/Genesect EX/Palikia EX
Game 1 of this round didn’t go too well and I lost within 3 turns so we quickly moved to game 2 where I elected to go first. Game 2 went much better where I was able to establish a good setup. Multiple Greninja’s ensured that I could constantly deal with whatever Jake attacked with and eventually Jake ran out of effective attackers as everything decent against Kingdra/Greninja in this deck required 3 energy to attack, I ended up taking 6 prizes and the second game. I went second in game 3 and couldn’t get much benched on the first turn. A Froakie ended up being knocked out on my opponent’s next turn which resulted in my opponent gaining a very significant lead. Throughout the game I am constantly behind and I do not establish a good setup until it is too late. At one point I get a significant knockout on a Kyurem leaving Jake with a single Rainbow Energy on a Thundurus EX but in my opponent’s next turn he ends up making a very great play with Scramble Switch and a Colress Machine to get a Kyurem to use Blizard Burn out of nowhere. This play leaved me with absolutely nothing and a limited amount of turns to achieve anything. With all Kingdras in the discard pile however, I just couldn’t win this game and I lost a few turns later. Jake ended up making top 2 at the Victorian Regional Championship so major congratulations to Jake for that performance and thanks for the very well-played game.
This concludes my discussion of my Kingdra/Greninja deck and my mini tournament report. For those that have read to this point I hope my publication has been interesting, entertaining or I at least hope this publication achieved what you as the reader were hoping to gain from reading this. I invite people to comment or contact myself if they feel any part of this write-up is lacking in detail or any other aspect. Furthermore if people have any other questions in anyway related to this write-up please do not hesitate to ask.