Written by Chris Taporco

Introduction

Some people wait a lifetime, for a moment like this. My spirit Pokémon, Scizor, is actually relevant in the format! If you didn’t already know, Scizor has been my favorite Pokémon since its reveal (which feels to be a lifetime ago) and I couldn’t be happier to write about it. I can still only imagine how Dylan would feel if Goomy ever became relevant, but that’s neither here nor there. Back to Scizor: Outside of the fact that it takes an autoloss to Volcanion, Scizor offers a lot of control and decent damage output to make it a contender against the top decks in this format.

Table of Contents

I.     The Two Hit Wonder – The Skeleton List
II.    Emphasizing Control –  A Look at the Potential Card Choices
III.  The Sushi Master Approach – Utilizing Octillery
IV.   The Rat Pack Approach – Utilizing Raticate and the Final Build
V.     Matchups
VI.   Conclusion

The Two Hit Wonder

When M Scizor was first announced, its attack, Iron Crusher, showed plenty of potential. Having the ability to hit for 120 damage and discard either a Stadium or a Special energy from your opponent’s Pokémon demanded that this deck be paired with control oriented cards. It also dictated that you were going to play the 2HKO game against most EX based decks, so being able to discard a Special Energy from your opponent’s Pokémon aided to this KO strategy by slowing them down. Additionally, with a format that is heavily influenced by stadiums such as Sky Field and Parallel City, having the ability to just discard a stadium at a whim is priceless. So without further ado, let’s take a look at our Skeleton List:

Skeleton List: 44

Pokemon(9)

  • 3 Scizor EX BKP
  • 3 M Scizor EX BKP
  • 2 Shaymin EX ROS
  • 1 Hoopa EX AOR

Trainers(27)

  • 4 Professor Sycamore
  • 2 N
  • 1 Lysandre
  • 1 Olympia
  • 4 Ultra Ball
  • 4 VS Seeker
  • 3 Trainers’ Mail
  • 3 Scizor Spirit Link
  • 2 Mega Turbo
  • 1 Super Rod
  • 1 Switch/Escape Rope
  • 1 Float Stone

Energy(8)

  • 8 Metal Energy

3 Scizor EX, 3 M Scizor EX, 3 Scizor Spirit Link

The piece de resistance, the creme de le creme, the main event: A 3-3-3 M Scizor line is the minimum line you should run in this deck. It’ll take at least two M Scizor to help ensure you can keep up with board state and win the game, so running a 3-3-3 line will increase your chances of drawing into the pieces you need and help account for prizing. Some players tend to run a 4-3-4 line to ensure they can start Scizor, get a Link ASAP, and start attaching energy so they can be ready to attack by turn two. This strategy is perfectly sound and I would love to run that think of a line; however, the more I tinkered with the deck, the more I wanted room for more tech cards to support Scizor’s win condition. The most I would consider is a fourth Link, but space is tight in this deck and the fourth Link will sometimes be cut for another tech option.

2 Shaymin EX, 1 Hoopa EX

Consistency is key and there is no better Pokémon (currently) at providing consistency than Shaymin EX. Additionally, Hoopa EX pairs amazingly well in any Pokémon EX based deck. This is especially true in Mega decks as it allows you to set up the multiple Megas you’ll need to win the game while still being able to grab you a Shaymin EX should you need it.

4 Sycamore, 2 N, 4 Ultra Ball, 4 VS Seeker, 3 Trainers’ Mail

Again, consistency is key. The combination of these five cards ensure that we will be able to get to the cards we need to in the deck. That’s quite frankly the only explanation these cards need.

1 Lysandre, 1 Olympia

Normally I would run two Lysandre in a deck that executes a 2HKO strategy, but this time around there were other tech options that I preferred so I dropped down to a single copy. It hurts me to do such a thing since I’m from the school of thought that ‘One is none’ in regards to Lysandre. When a card that gives you the opportunity to win the game is dropped to one copy in a deck, it’s done so for the sake of consistency and tech options to mold appropriately to the meta. Olympia on the hand, is perfectly fine at one. Having the ability to retreat multiple times via VS seeker can come in handy when your opponent attempts to Lysandre stall you. You’ll also find that clearing away 30 damage from the Pokémon you retreated can potentially ruin numbers your opponent had planned to KO said Pokémon.

1 Switch/Escape Rope, 1 Float Stone

While on the topic of switching Pokémon is fresh in your mind, I want to tackle these 3 cards next. If I had the space, I would definitely have a single copy of each card in my deck; however, we don’t have the luxury in this deck and we have to choose between Switch and Escape Rope. So why is Float Stone not a flex point? A single copy of Float Stone opens up the potential of promoting a Pokémon with free retreat after one of your Pokémon is knocked out. This luxury cannot be overlooked because you do not know how your setup for the turn will end up; so having the option to switch out Pokémon freely based on the outcome of your turn is priceless. So why not just run two Float Stone and not deal with Switch or Escape Rope? In a word, Yveltal BKT. With such a strong presence in the format, you need to account for its ability to negate tools. In doing so, we end up with a bit of variety in our switch cards through Switch or Escape Rope. Picking between the two can be a bit of a chore, but I usually use the following rule: Use switch if I want to deal with the active threat and use Escape Rope if I want to remove the active threat from its Active position and put pressure elsewhere. You’re bound to run into situations where you need one card over the other, but since we’re forced to choose we have to go with which card we like more. I tend to prefer dealing with the active threat rather than dancing around it, but I understand how that can backfire at times just like how Escape Rope can backfire when you need to switch your active Pokémon without switching your opponent’s. At the end of the day, it comes down to preference.

2 Mega Turbo, 1 Super Rod

I used to think that Mega Turbo wasn’t a staple in this deck or only opted to run one. After further testing, I found that I was dead wrong. Being able to potentially load up a M Scizor in a single turn is valuable in the Mid or Late game, especially when you miss an energy attachment on a previous turn. Lastly, we have Super Rod to round out the Skeleton List. There will be times where we need to discard parts of our Scizor line or Energy and we will need to put them back into the deck. Super Rod is more than enough for these occasions so that we don’t have to use a supporter for the turn with cards such as Brock’s Grit or Karen.

Emphasizing Control

There are many cards you can pair with Scizor to emphasize control, but some of those cards are misleading and ultimately lead to sub-par build. On the other hand, there are definitely cards that should be included in an effort to control your opponent and slow them down enough to execute your 2HKO game plan. Let’s take a look at some of those cards:

Crushing Hammer

This has been a default choice by many who choose to run Scizor. The logic is that it supports the energy disruption strategy built into M Scizor’s attack therefore it must be good, right? Wrong. While this card is powerful, it relies on a coin flip, and in a deck that can struggle with consistency, it’s a sub-par card choice that I believe is outshined by Team Flare Grunt or Raticate. Additionally, the main strategy of this deck shouldn’t be energy denial. You have to find the middle ground that aids in building your board and putting pressure on your opponent with Iron Crusher and Stadium control. You simply do not have the space to run four crushing hammers in this deck without sacrificing consistency, and if you’re not running four hammers than you’re losing out on the cards full potential. I’d always opt for consistency and utility over a coin flip.

Enhanced Hammer

Some may ask why you run this card when Iron Crusher already discards Special Energy from your opponent’s Pokémon. The answer is because Iron Crusher only affects the active Pokémon and in order to keep pressure on your opponent, you’ll need to be able to disrupt energy on their benched Pokémon too. By disrupting energy this way, you’ve effectively stolen a turn from your opponent since most Special Energy is attached via manual energy attachment for the turn. By stealing a turn, you’ve bought another turn of setup for another M Scizor. Additionally, you’ve furthered your potential for a heavy hitting Shadowy Bite.

Team Flare Grunt

Having a sure fire way to discard a Basic Energy away from your opponent’s active Pokémon  can swing a game in your favor, especially when combined with Crunch or Iron Crusher. It’s a great way to punish a greedy Yveltal-EX Evil Ball or Yveltal BKT that is applying pressure to your bench. Getting off a Team Flare Grunt and Iron Crusher can effectively turn the tide of the game and put your opponent two turns behind in energy attachment and force them to get lucky with Max Elixirs. Basically, utilize Team Flare Grunt on turns where you can afford it as the supporter for the turn so that you can disrupt your opponent’s game plan.

Jirachi

Jirachi has always been a Pokémon of preference and also a Pokémon whose usage will be determined by the amount of Special Energy in a format. With the release of Pokémon Ranger and Magearna EX, Jirachi has seen less play since he can just be ran over by these two cards. Outside of these two cards, I still feel that that Jirachi can have an impact by regulating Special Energy and buying a turn. He helps the setup of your M Scizor and also aids in loading Shadowy Bite. Overall, he shouldn’t be overlooked because he can steal games from those pesky Rainbow Road and Vileplume Toolbox decks running around.

Raticate

This has to be one of the most useful cards to come out of Evolutions. Not only does Rattata’s Mischevious Fang ability remove tools from your opponent’s Pokémon, Raticate has two attacks that synergize perfectly with Scizor. Crunch can be used when you have a bad start to help slow down your opponent early game while you’re setting up, or mid to late game to take away the dwindling energy at your opponent’s disposal caused by all the energy disruption utilized in this deck. It also affords you the option to deal with pesky 130 HP attackers while disrupting your opponent’s energy attachments by dealing 10 damage; setting you up for the KO with Iron Crusher (Assuming Rattata already dealt with the Fighting Fury Belt). Shadowy Bite provides the OHKO ability that this deck is missing. Through the use of Crunch, Iron Crusher, Team Flare Grunt, and Enhanced Hammer, you can set up a game ending Shadowy Bite and steal the game from your opponent.

Garbodor

Plain and simple, Garbodor is powerful in a format with tool removal. It is now even more powerful in a format with extremely limited tool removal. It is the epitome of control in regards to Pokémon Abilities. It can completely shut down the likes of M Rayquaza, M Gardevoir, Greninja, Volcanion, and Rainbow Road; all of which have a huge impact on the current format. Utilizing Garbodor in a deck of this nature can put your opponent in a corner by not only disrupting their energy and hitting for heavy damage, but also shutting off any potential game breaking Ability. This card should be highly considered as a point of inclusion when deciding how you want to emphasize control over your opponent.

Silent Lab

Running Garbodor means that you have to dedicate a lot of space to ensure you can consistently establish it on the board. This means running at least a 2-2 Garbodor line in combination with at least three Float Stone. That’s seven dedicated spots in a deck. You could argue that Float Stone isn’t really a dedicated spot since it offers retreat for all Pokémon, but if you recall from my earlier section on switch cards, there’s added benefit in running a variety of switch cards. Silent Lab fixes this issue by only being a Stadium and potentially taking only three or four slots, removing the clutter of an evolution line, and still negating Abilities. Although it may only negate Basic Pokémon Abilities and have the fragility of being a replaceable Stadium, it’s potential to shut down the likes of Shaymin, Hoopa, or Dragonite make its inclusion a huge factor. When combined with a turn of hand disruption or Energy disruption, playing down a Silent Lab can force your opponent to make sub-optimal plays.

Parallel City

Limiting your opponent’s bench, means limiting their Shaymin EX and limiting the amount of Pokémon they can set up. This card also disrupts any deck that relies on Sky Field (M Rayquaza, M Gardevoir, and Rainbow Road) which means your opponent will need more resources to fight back against you in order to hit appropriate numbers. It’s a form of control in a sense that it forces your opponent to build their benched Pokémon. This is important to us because we need to put our opponent in a position to attach energy to their active so that we can manipulate it with Team Flare Grunt or Iron Crusher.

Delinquent

This card has quickly become one of my favorite tech Supporters in the current format. Making your opponent discard three cards from their hand when they have 5 or less cards is devastating regardless of whether they had a Sycamore or N to replenish their hand. You’ve effectively limited their options before they need to play a Supporter and that means you’ve potentially taken away momentum. When combined with cards such as Red Card, Silent Lab, or Garbodor, Delinquent can put your opponent in an extremely tough situation to get out of while facing down a M Scizor that’s ready to slice and dice.

Red Card

If you’ve ever had Red Card played against you, you know how annoying disruptive it can be to your strategy. Forcing your opponent to only four cards on turn one when they started a single Pokémon instantly puts them in a pressure situation. They’ll need to hit a Draw Supporter or Ultra Ball into Shaymin EX to get out of it. If we’re running Silent Lab, we can put our opponent in a position where only a draw Supporter will get them out of their current situation or else they’ll need a counter stadium on top of an Ultra Ball; basically a perfect storm of cards.

The Sushi Master Approach

Before Raticate came out, I was working on a build that would help me increase consistency while still maintaining as much control as possible. I figured Sushi Master (aka Octillery) would give me the ability to draw through my deck without having to rely heavily on draw Supporters and allow me to play more tech Supporters. Since Octillery would let me draw cards without spending a supporter for the turn, I had more options to play powerful tech options such as Team Flare Grunt, Delinquent, Hex Maniac, and Pokémon Center Lady. This concept worked out extremely well but was still missing a decent secondary attacker that Raticate would later provide. With that said I want to quickly go over the build I tested because I still think there is potential despite Raticate being the better build.

Scizor Sushi Master

Pokemon(12)

  • 3 Scizor EX BKP
  • 3 M Scizor EX BKP
  • 2 Remoraid BKT 12
  • 2 Octillery BKT
  • 1 Shaymin EX ROS
  • 1 Hoopa EX AOR

Trainers(39)

  • 4 Professor Sycamore
  • 2 N
  • 2 Team Flare Grunt
  • 1 Delinquent
  • 1 Pokémon Center Lady
  • 1 Lysandre
  • 1 Olympia
  • 4 Ultra Ball
  • 4 VS Seeker
  • 3 Trainers’ Mail
  • 4 Scizor Spirit Link
  • 3 Red Card
  • 1 Mega Turbo
  • 1 Super Rod
  • 1 Switch
  • 1 Enhanced Hammer
  • 1 Float Stone
  • 3 Silent Lab
  • 1 Parallel City

Energy(9)

  • 9 Metal Energy

There’s not really much to go into with this build outside of the cards I already discussed. I went with a 2-2 Octillery line to ensure I could establish an Octillery consistently. Also, since Octillery was the primary Pokémon draw engine in this deck, I dropped to a single Shaymin EX. Since we’re using Octillery, there is no room to run Garbodor. Because of this, I opted to run three Silent Lab to allow Octillery to still get his ability while creating inconvenience on my opponent’s end. The two Team Flare Grunts ensure I could really mess with my opponent’s active Pokémon and force them to build on their Bench. Pokémon Center Lady is another powerful tech Supporter that I’ll go over more in depth later in my Raticate build, but for now, just know that this card is how you can consistently win the 2HKO battle. To round out the tech Supporters, I went with a single Delinquent. I’ve become a huge advocate for hand disruption recently, and this deck sets the stage perfectly for such a strategy to work here. You’ll see that I’ve added in three copies of Red Card to complement Delinquent and satisfy my need for hand disruption. The last thing I should address about this deck is the up in Energy from eight to nine and the drop in Mega Turbo from two to one. At the time I was testing this build, I really wanted to ensure that I never missed an Energy attachment for the turn and nine Energy felt like the sweet spot to me. As great as Mega Turbo is, you still have to get to your Energy first. Although I still feel this way about missing energy attachments, Mega Turbo has proven to be the better mid game card overall due to its potential to load a M Scizor up in a single turn.

The Rat Pack Approach

It’s crunch time. With the release of Raticate, Scizor has found its partner in crime. Scizor now has potential OHKO power and can play the seven prize game effectively. It has gained a secondary attacker that can take out Basic Energy and gained the Ability of Rattata to strip tools from your opponent’s active Pokémon (yet another form of control). I’ve already gone into Raticate previously so I won’t waste your time; let’s just dive right into the list:

Scizor Raticate

Pokemon(14)

  • 3 Scizor EX BKP
  • 3 M Scizor EX BKP
  • 2 Rattata EVO
  • 2 Raticate EVO
  • 2 Shaymin EX ROS
  • 1 Hoopa EX AOR
  • 1 Magearna XYPR 165

Trainers(37)

  • 4 Professor Sycamore
  • 2 N
  • 1 Team Flare Grunt
  • 1 Delinquent
  • 1 Pokémon Center Lady
  • 1 Lysandre
  • 1 Olympia
  • 4 Ultra Ball
  • 4 VS Seeker
  • 3 Trainers’ Mail
  • 3 Scizor Spirit Link
  • 3 Red Card
  • 2 Mega Turbo
  • 1 Super Rod
  • 1 Switch
  • 1 Enhanced Hammer
  • 1 Float Stone
  • 3 Silent Lab
  • 1 Parallel City

Energy(8)

  • 8 Metal Energy

There are the familiar suspects that I’ve already talked about in depth here. The discussion points will first revolve around some cute plays you can do with Rattata and Raticate. I’ll then discuss why I’m so hyped about Pokémon Center Lady in this deck. Lastly, I’ll tackle why the new Magearna Promo is in this deck.

Raticate can serve as a deck out strategy that Scizor couldn’t execute effectively before. With a combination of Rattata and Raticate, you can trap an opponent’s Pokémon Active by removing a Float Stone they had initially felt safe about. This kind of play can buy you another turn of setup and slow down your opponent significantly. Additionally, if you already a have a Raticate setup when you play down Rattata, you can potentially Crunch away an energy from the Float Stoned target. Rattata also helps set Raticate up to OHKO by removing Fighting Fury Belt and ensure that you only need three Special Energy in your opponent’s discard to score the KO via Shadowy Bite.

In a format that is starting to be overwhelmed by Yveltal/Garb, the 2HKO game is very much a thing. This cat and mouse game involves trying to place damage on your opponent’s main threats before they can place damage on you in order to stay ahead on the prize exchange. Because of this I have opted for Pokémon Center Lady over the fourth Spirit Link. This card can single handedly turn the tides of a game if your opponent manages to tag you damage first. You’ve now forced a 3HKO strategy, or at the very least, have forced them to c, you’ve set yourself up to take advantage of board state and the prize trade.

Lastly, we have the Magearna Promo. Its attack Prism Wave allows you to do 20x the amount of different types of Pokémon your opponent has on their bench. This makes Magearna the ultimate Rainbow Road counter. Despite already having the upper hand in that match up, you will want to ensure your victory against it since its rise in popularity will almost guarantee that you’ll run into it. Being able to take set up a one energy, one prize attacker will let you play the seven prize game against this matchup and let you run away with the match indefinitely.

Matchups

Yveltal/Garb

This is a toss-up. You need to focus on establishing two M Scizor as fast as possible and start regulating their DCE to off BKT Yveltal. Speaking of which, Silent Lab is big in this matchup since it will shut off Fright Night and allow you to Mega Evolve with a Link and not end your turn. Another key card in this matchup will be Pokémon Center Lady. As stated earlier, Pokémon Center Lady can change the tides against a deck that aims to 2HKO your Pokémon. For most situations, Yveltal is trying to do exactly that. They are trying to set you up for a two-three hit KO so playing Pokémon Center Lady for this match up will really throw off the numbers they had initially planned. A late game Shadowy Bite set up by smart plays can tip this matchup slightly in your favor.

M Rayquaza

Yet another toss-up. If they run Magearna, then they can sabotage your entire game plan since you will need to regulate their DCE quickly to accomplish your 2HKO strategy. There will be turns where you Team Flare Grunt and Iron Crusher to completely strip the active of energy and let you take the KO the following turn unless they hit the Mega Turbo and another DCE. You also will be able to constantly throw their Sky Field at them and force them to have a Stadium every turn to KO M Scizor. Additionally, Silent Lab and Parallel City will play a big role in this match up as Silent Lab will shut off Hoopa, Shaymin, Magearna, and Dragonite while Parallel City will limit their bench to the point where they can’t hit for much damage. If you can also find a Red Card to play to play when playing one of your Stadiums down then you’re going to find yourself in a favorable position barring they don’t draw Sky Field.

M Gardevoir

You are their auto loss. You will have to draw extremely poorly and miss many turns of energy attachment to lose this matchup. Simply set up two M Scizor by utilizing Hoopa and proceed to roll them from them from there.

Rainbow Road

Yet another favorable matchup for us. We already inherently win this match up due to type advantage, but after throwing in the Magearna Promo, being able to discard Sky Field at a whim, and playing our own copy of Parallel City we all but seal this match up away in our favor. Just don’t draw poorly and all will be well.

Greninja

They have the slight advantage here. They’re forcing you to play a six prize game and if they gain any momentum, they just out right win. M Scizor only hits for 120 and we have no way to OHKO a Greninja, let alone a Greninja BREAK. Since we chose the route of Silent Lab, Greninja will be able to out damage us and we won’t be able to keep up with a consistent stream of them. Hope that they can’t gain steam and you can turn two Iron Crusher to apply as much pressure as possible. Utilize Rattata to remove Bursting Balloon to avoid taking damage on your M Scizor. Be warned, that using this strategy will result in you giving your opponent an easy prize via Rattata, but in this case, it’s definitely worth the risk to steal them of any momentum.

Volcanion

Well we all know this is our auto loss. It’s nearly impossible to trade damage with them, so I tend to set up a deck out strategy from the get go that utilizes Rattata and Raticate. Lull them into a position where you try to hide behind a Hoopa or a Shaymin while you try to set up Raticate. By this point in the game they should have energy spread across the board and a few Tools attached here and there (hopefully float stone). Once you see a float stone go down, you begin to strike with your deck out strategy. You’ll want to Lysandre a Float Stoned Volcanion EX and Bench a Rattata to strip it of its Float Stone. Ideally, you’ll want to already have a Raticate established to promote and Crunch away energy, but sometimes the world isn’t fair and we’ll just have to hope the Volcanion will be stuck active for the turn so we can follow up with a Crunch. Although this strategy is basically testing the retreat of a deck that runs tons of switch cards, you’ll never know what can happen when you let you lull your opponent into a position where they used up a bunch of resources to KO your Scizor and Hoopa. N will be your best friend here and allow you to simplify your hand as you take all the energy off their board with more Lysandre and Rattata plays. Realistically you’re at a heavy disadvantage in this matchup, but you can play your way out of it so long as you play smart and play to the deck out strategy.

Vileplume Toolbox

You’re at a disadvantage here in a sense that you probably won’t be able to use items. Luckily for you, this deck doesn’t hit hard and you should be able to either setup M Scizor or Raticate before they can KO anything relevant. Once established you’ll be able to disrupt all the Special Energy they end up attaching manually. Also, you have Magearna Promo to help take out Regice easily. Just don’t draw dead or miss your supporters and you’ll find this matchup is extremely manageable.

Mirror

On paper this matchup can go either way, but I feel that we have the slight advantage here due to Pokémon Center Lady. Since this matchup become all about 2HKOs, its normally settled by the first to place damage and how many M Scizor you can build. Pokémon Center Lady puts a damper on that game plan and lets you singlehandedly flip game state around by forcing your opponent to play a 3HKO game. Also, by utilizing Red Card and Delinquent effectively, we should be able to disrupt our opponent from setting up multiple M Scizor and edge out the Victory.

Conclusion

With the right supporting cast, Scizor can propel itself into the spotlight of any major tournament. It has good matchups across the board, and in a match up based format, this characteristic will allow this deck to see continued success. All in all, Scizor is a great deck that can reward skillful play and let you play a control deck that isn’t completely cancerous to a format. I hope that this article has shed some light on what Scizor can potentially accomplish and that you’ll pick up the deck for whatever event you choose to attend next.

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