Written by Marc Albright

Introduction

Welcome back, readers! With Orlando Regionals having come and gone, it’s time to shift gears towards the Expanded Format. Philadelphia Regionals is only two weeks away, and I’m going to take an in depth look at a deck I am seriously considering for the tournament: Metal. Metal decks have been discounted by most players as a viable option in the Standard format because Bronzong rotated. While I agree that the rotation of Bronzong from Standard has made it almost impossible to play, our little buddy is still with us in Expanded and has much to offer! Not only do I think that Metal is a strong and viable option for the Expanded format, but I think that it has a legitimate shot at dealing damage in Philly. In this article, I want to explore my personal favorite version of the deck as well as break down the different matchups for each version and some basic deck strategies.

The Skeleton

First, I want to develop a basic skeleton that we can start with when building any Metal deck. There are several cards that, regardless of which version you decide to build, you will want to include in your deck. Check out the Skeleton List Below:

Skeleton (49 Cards):
Pokémon
4 Bronzor (NXD 75)
3 Bronzong (PHF 61)
1 Bronzong Break (FCO 62)
1 Aegislash-EX (PHF 65)
2 Genesect-EX (FCO 64)
1 Keldeo-EX (BCR 49)
2 Shaymin-EX (ROS 77)
1 Hoopa-EX (AOR 36)
Trainers
4 Professor Sycamore
1 N
1 Colress
2 Lysandre

4 VS Seeker
4 Ultra Ball
2 Float Stone
2 Battle Compressor
2 Muscle Band
Energy
12 Metal Energy

Four Bronzor is an absolute must in the deck and there are several versions legal in the Expanded Format. My personal preference is Bronzor NXD 75, who boasts a beefy 70 HP, helping him avoid some easy knockouts early in the game. He also has the benefit of a retreat cost of three, so if you chose to play Heavy Ball in your deck, he is searchable with it. If I had to choose another one, it would be Bronzor BKT 95. This version still offers a reasonable 60 HP, but its attack is what makes it good. For two colorless energies, Payback does 10 damage plus 60 more damage if your opponent has only one prize card left. This attack could be used to take a surprise late game knockout in a pinch.

BRONZONG: As my friend Greg Sweeney (a Metal enthusiast) has often told me, “Any card that lets me break the basic rules of the game, in my mind, is overpowered. Why would I not play it?” This mentality applies to Bronzong PHF 61 perfectly. Its Metal Links Ability allows us to attach one Metal Energy from our discard pile to one of our benched Pokémon once per turn. There is no version of this deck where I wouldn’t plat at least three copies of this card as it is the core strategy of the deck.

BRONZONG BREAK: While some may not agree with my inclusion of Bronzong Break, I feel like there isn’t a version I wouldn’t play it in. Its Metal Rain attack is just nutty! Including a copy of this card finally gives metal something it has been lacking for a while: the ability to inflict bench damage. This card’s attack allows you to finally clean up those few Pokémon you couldn’t quite put away with your other attackers, it also has the potential to instantly snipe a Shaymin EX for four energy.

AEGISLASH-EX: Aegislash-EX’s Mighty Shield Ability is key in many matchups. This card can provide an early game wall against any deck that relies on special energy, as well as strike with a very effective attack in Slash Blast. I would include at least once copy of this card in every version.

GENESECT-EX: Every Metal deck should include at least a couple Genesect-EX. This is typically the main attacker that you want to be using in most situations. He has the potential to hit for massive damage while at the same time protecting himself from Mewtwo-EX and Yveltal-EX by discarding its energy. This card also features a very versatile ability in Drive Change. Drive change allows you to, once per turn, remove any tool card attached to Genesect-EX and return it to your hand. This can help get Genesect-EX out of the active spot by allowing you to remove any other tool you may have attached, then dropping a Float Stone if you can’t seem to find Keldeo-EX.

KELDEO-EX: Keldeo-EX is an obvious inclusion to this deck. Your main strategy being to get your attackers back onto the bench to continuously reuse Bronzong’s Metal Links. Keldeo-EX offers you the most space efficient way of doing this. Instead of playing a high count of switch cards, you can consistently Rush In and retreat with Keldeo for the same effect.

In addition to the cards I’ve already gone over, there are several other cards that are key to the construction of the deck. They are all common so I’m going to work under the assumption that you know what the cards do. I want to just quickly go through a list of them and discuss the counts, but I won’t go into what the card does to save you some time.

SHAYMIN-EX: If you have it, play it. Set Up is one of the strongest Abilities featured in the game right now. I envision most versions of Metal playing around two to facilitate your early game set up.

HOOPA-EX: Hoopa-EX’s ability Scoundrel Ring helps you achieve your early game setup by getting you any three Pokémon EX you need. Generally, this will look something like 1 Shaymin-EX plus Keldeo-EX and your attacker of choice.

PROFESSOR SYCAMORE: Being one of the most powerful and consistent draw cards in the game this is an easy inclusion at four.

COLRESS: With our return to the Expanded Format, we get back Colress. He is still one of the most explosive draw cards in the game so he warrants inclusion. For the skeleton list, I will list him at 1, but don’t be surprised if his count goes up in the final lists.

N: The comeback king himself. N has just too much potential for allowing comebacks to not be included. Every version should play at least one.

LYSANDRE: The ability to dictate the game with Lysandre is the only reason needed to play it. One to two copies should be solid.

ULTRA BALL/ VS SEEKER: While both do very different things, they are both key to the consistency of the decks function. As such, you should be playing both cards at the max count of four.

FLOAT STONE: This is the card that allows you to cycle attackers with Keldeo EX. It also helps you get an active Genesect-EX out of the active spot in a pinch since you can remove it afterward to conserve it for Keldeo-EX. I would play at least two.

MUSCLE BAND: Muscle Band helps you hit a lot of good numbers in this deck. It helps Genesect-EX reach the 180/220 marks for one less energy than a Fighting Fury Belt would. I would never play just one copy of this card so two copies are a good place to start.

BATTLE COMPRESSOR: In my opinion, Battle Compressor is one of the most broken cards. It allows you to simultaneously thin your deck and accelerate your energy.  It can also help add consistency in conjunction with VS Seeker. Unlike Vespiquen or Night March, it isn’t as vital to your overall deck strategy so I think we can get away with playing one or two in this deck.

METAL ENERGY: While your counts might vary slightly depending on which version of the deck you plan on playing; you generally want around 12 Metal Energies in the deck.

FILLING IN THE BLANKS

The version of this deck that I want to explore in full is an Aggro Genesect-EX version with Max Elixir. This deck is essentially hoping to overwhelm your opponent with early game knockouts using Genesect-EX. With the inclusion of Max Elixir there is potential for you to achieve a turn 1 Rapid Blaster which can be devastating to your opponent’s overall strategy and even provide you with some potential donk scenarios. Without further ado, here is the list:

Metal:
Pokémon
4 Bronzor (NXD 75)
3 Bronzong (PHF 61)
1 Bronzong Break (FCO 62)
1 Aegislash-EX (PHF 65)
2 Genesect-EX (FCO 64)
1 Keldeo-EX (BCR 49)
2 Shaymin-EX (ROS 77)
1 Hoopa-EX (AOR 36)
1 Magearna-EX (STS 11)
Trainers
4 Professor Sycamore
2 Lysandre
1 N
1 Colress
1 AZ
1 Pokémon Ranger

4 VS Seeker
4 Ultra Ball
3 Max Elixir
2 Trainers’ Mail
2 Float Stone
2 Muscle Band
1 Computer Search
1 Battle Compressor
1 Super Rod
1 Startling Megaphone

2 Sky Field
Energy
11 Metal Energy

The overall goal of this deck is to consistently stream Rapid Blaster as soon as possible. Your ideal board would look something along the lines of Keldeo-EX, two Bronzong, and one Genesect-EX on the bench, with another Genesect-EX active. This set up leaves you with one flex bench spot without Sky Field in play. If you can achieve this game state, you should be in a very strong position from that point forward. You’ll notice that while I still included Battle Compressor, I’ve chosen to play only one. I also kept the Metal Energy Count at 11. Both card counts are the direct result of including Max Elixir into the list. With Max Elixir, you want more energy in your deck so Battle Compressor becomes a little counter intuitive. It is still worth including, as a scenario may arise when you’ve used all of your Max Elixirs and need energy in the discard for Metal Links. Super Rod is here because it allows you to recover pieces of your Bronzong line as well as help give any late game Max Elixirs a higher percentage of hitting. Sky Field is to help you achieve your early game set up. Trainers’ Mail is here because it adds consistency and a way to search for your Max Elixirs. This deck is built to go from turn one, so I’ve tried to avoid any unnecessary frills in the deck and have streamlined as much as possible.

KEY MATCHUPS

Greninja 55/45

There are a few ways you can approach this matchup. The first is to exploit Greninja’s difficulties of getting a second Pokémon on the bench and donk them. A lot needs to break in your favor for this to work so I don’t recommend banking on this strategy in every game. Lucky for us we have included both Magearna-EX and Pokémon Ranger in our list which gives us a fighting chance. Once you have Magearna-EX established and you get a metal energy onto your Bronzongs they are no longer affected by Shadow Stitching. If your deck is functioning at full strength through the means of either of these two cards, you will have a fighting chance.

Yveltal/Maxies 50/50

            This matchup comes down to whether your opponent can get out Archeops before you can establish one or two Bronzong. If you can get a couple of Bronzong on to the field this should generally go your way. Genesect-EX has the benefit of discarding its energy when it attacks if you choose to. This makes it much harder for Yveltal-EX to revenge KO you. Energy management is key in this matchup. You want to avoid colossal damage from Yveltal-EX, but you don’t want to over extend yourself by discarding energy unnecessarily. This becomes especially true because at some point in the game you will have to deal with a Darkrai-EX. With the Darkrai-EX’s 180 HP, you’ll need four energy on Genesect-EX to OHKO it. If they get a Fighting Fury Belt on it, it’s going to take five energies to OHKO.  A good Yveltal player will know that it’s difficult for them to trade with Genesect so they will target down your Bronzongs and put you in a situation where you are forced to discard energy that you won’t be able to recover. This is where Max Elixir can save you as it allows you to recover should this situation occur. Your goal should be to steal an early knock out on Yveltal-EX or Darkrai-EX and then transition to a two-hit strategy against whatever attacker your opponent goes with. Once you get down to two prize cards, it becomes much easier to either Lysandre a Shaymin EX, or capitalize on back-to-back non-EX knock outs.

Trevenant 60/40

Facing down a turn one Trevenant is never an easy thing, but this list has some tech in it to help ease the pain.  The MVP in this matchup is Magearna-EX if you can find it early. Its Ability can turn Silent Fear into a much less dangerous attack. Setting up under item lock can be difficult, so try to be mindful of who you are putting down on the bench. This is especially true if you are unable to establish Keldeo-EX with a Float Stone. You also don’t want to fill up your bench and then not have any room for Magearna-EX, who is key in this matchup. By having Magearna-EX’s Mystic Heart Ability active, you can force the Trevenant player into using Tree Slam. While this might not seem like much, forcing them to dedicate the extra energy to be able to damage is huge. This opens the door for you to run them out of energy in the later stages of the game. Aegislash-EX helps with this too. If you can get it into the active position, it forces your opponent to avoid playing Mystery Energy on their active and can add another layer of protection for you. Your goal should be to get two Bronzong down as soon as possible and get a Metal Energy attached to them. Even if you must dedicate one or two of your early Metal Links to them, the long-term value justifies it once you have Mystic Heart protecting them from Silent Fear.

Rainbow Road 55/45

            This matchup seems like it should be an easy one, but it can be a lot closer than you might imagine. While you do boast the advantage of hitting Xerneas for weakness, they can easily set up another Xerneas and retaliate. Max Elixir can help you keep up with the early game speed of Rainbow Road making way for Aegislash-EX to be your go-to attacker early game. Aegislash-Ex’s Ability, Mighty Shield, allows you to potentially stall your opponent for a short time. At some point your opponent will likely get a Xerneas with all Basic Energy, either by using Ninja Boy or manually attaching on the bench. They can also use Ho-Oh-EX to hit you for weakness after using its Ability. Before this happens, you will want to have a Genesect-EX ready to go on the bench so that you can respond immediately. Since Sky Field is the only stadium you play, you won’t have any way to regulate the amount of Pokémon your opponent has on the bench. You will want to try to prey on your opponent’s Shaymin-EX if possible to keep up in the prize trade. Bronzong Break’s Metal Rain attack can come in clutch in this matchup especially if you attach a Muscle Band to time. With a Muscle Band attached you can KO an active Xerneas for two energy while still placing damage wherever else you need.

Mega Rayquaza 30/70

            This is generally your toughest matchup. By not playing any stadiums other than Sky Field, you have no way to control their damage output. You also don’t have any way to OHKO M Rayquaza-EX, outside of a seven energy Genesect-EX. Yikes! Aegislash-EX can provide you with some time to try and pull the game out by picking off Shaymin-EX or other targets that are softer than M Rayquaza-EX. Your opponent will probably be playing multiple copies of Hex Maniac so this is a fragile strategy, but it is your best option. If your opponent hasn’t set up multiple backup attackers, you can attempt to N their hand size down after they have taken a knock out or two and hope to steal a game this way. Outside of these shenanigans, it is difficult to pull out a victory here.

Volcanion 30/70

Volcanion is another uphill battle. Your opponent will obviously have the type advantage and can deal out massive damage with the non-EX Volcanion.  While loading up a Genesect-EX on the bench, you can use Keldeo-EX with a Muscle Band attached to take out their baby Volcanion. You can then KO their Volcanion-EX when they’re finally forced to KO your Keldeo-EX. If possible, try not to carelessly discard your Startling Megaphone, as Fighting Fury Belt can put a damper on your strategy of using Keldeo-EX to knock out baby Volcanion. This strategy offers your best overall chance of squeaking by with a win.

Seismitoad/Bats 50/50

Honestly, a big part of how this matchup plays out is who wins the coin flip. Playing the Bronzor with 70 HP shines through since it’s harder to take them out with bat damage. If you can get multiple Bronzor to stick, you can start to take control of the game. Getting a Muscle band attached to a Genesect-EX before you become item locked can have a significant effect on the game as well since it lets you hit the magic numbers of 180/220. You should stall with an active Aegislash-EX while building up a Genesect-EX on your bench.  Metal Rain can also be helpful in this matchup if you ever get down to two prizes.

OTHER POSSIBLE INCLUSIONS

Cobalion STS 74

If you want to feature a strong non-EX attacker in the deck, you need look no further than Cobalion. For one Metal Energy, Cobalion’s first attack allows you to prevent all damage done to it by the attacks of your opponent’s basic Pokémon. This gives you a secondary wall option alongside Aegislash-EX. Its second attack, Revenge Blast, does 30 danage plus 30 more damage for each prize card your opponent has taken for just two Metal Energy. Revenge Blast has the potential to swing for massive damage and can help you make big comebacks. If you expect to see a lot of Rainbow Road in your metagame, Cobalion would be a strong inclusion.

Hex Maniac

You could make the case for Hex Maniac that it improves every single matchup. The reason I didn’t include it in the list is because it never felt as useful as some other options. One copy of this card can strengthen your matchups against Greninja and Yveltal/Maxies, and it can help you to close the gap against Volcanion.

Bronzong FCO 61

Bronzong is only necessary if you choose to not include Magearna-EX in your decklist. The Ability Metal Fortress prevents all effects, including damage done to your benched Pokémon. This Ability provides you with the same protection from Shadow Stitching that Magearna-EX does, but it takes it one step further by preventing damage as well. The real strength of this ability is seen in the Trevenant matchup where it stops not only Silent Fear, but also the bench damage done by Tree Slam. It can also provide some fringe benefit in the Yveltal/Maxies matchup if your opponent feels the need to attack with Darkrai-EX’s Night Spear.

IN CONCLUSION

I hope that this article has helped put Metal on your radar as a deck to consider for Philadelphia Regionals, as I think it has the potential to capitalize on an unsuspecting metagame. I want to wish everyone good luck if they plan to attend this regional and thank you again for taking the time to read Some1sPC!

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2 COMMENTS

  1. i like cobalion in this a lot, especially when your opponent uses hex, or when you can’t set up bronzongs in the early turns. Having tyrantrum-ex in this deck is certainly tempting (jolteon ex, fury belted exs), but it seems too difficult to attack with when there isn’t DDE. I always have trouble beating yveltal/maxies because with BKT yveltal they can soften up my attackers and stop my mobility. How do you deal with BKT yveltal if that matchup is 50/50 as you said?

  2. I do agree Cobalion is nuts and would be an awesome inclusion in the deck. I just couldnt seem to find the space for him. Tyrantrum is another card that me and my buddy Greg tossed around extensively. The reason I didnt mention him in this article is once you get into the realm of adding Tyrantrum you are really talking about another deck entirely. As for the Yveltal /Maxies match up BKT is the main threat in my opinion hopefully you can use Aegislash to regulate his damage out put and keep it at just 60 to the bench. Smart benching is really the only way to avoid getting crushed by the splash damage, only put something down when it is absolutely necessary. I also think that it is fairly easy to build up a Genesect within 1-2 turns with Max Elixir that can take out Archeops in combo with Lysandre. You essentially put your opponent on a one turn clock to get him back out or then you have the full scope of your deck available to you then.

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