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Counter Play: Janine's Attack Team

Welcome to Counter Play, a series where we look at ways to counter current threats in the meta game! There are a lot of strong decks currently running around the game. With this in mind, the idea of one deck being prepared to tackle them all while still maintaining consistency sounds a bit ludicrous. Suffice it to say there's some weird and bad ideas out there that make this attempt. What if however, we actually could craft a deck that currently has ways to counter every threat it comes against? Something that works with serious synergy to make all of the gears turn to achieve victory? We think we've found that deck in Janine's Attack Team while even keeping it at a reasonable price. Without further ado, let's take a look at the deck and break down step by step how it counters meta decks! 

Gligar UNB 98Pika/Rom: The lightning powerhouse deck of the format does have weaknesses that can be exploited! What if we could knock out every Pikachu & Zekrom-GX in a single blow for potentially a single Energy attachment? Meet Gligar from Unbroken Bonds! If you play Janine (see where this deck gets its name) during your turn, Shinobi Strike will do 120 damage. With weakness that gets you the knock out! However, three Colorless Energy does seem a bit to get played. We do include Double Colorless Energy but what if there was a faster way?

Combining Gliscor UNB 99 and Shining Celebi we can use Triple Acceleration Energy to pull off the attack in an instant! It not only knocks out the big guns but does enough damage to get Zapdos TEU 40 an easy hit away from falling as well. With PokeNav for added consistency, it looks like we've got the solid counter! 

So how do we get and recycle Janine as needed? Mysterious Treasure can search out both Tapu Lele-GX and Mewtwo UNB 75 to either snag one from the deck or out of the discard as needed. With up to six full plays of Janine you'll have enough to easily take the prizes you need. Plus you could always include Pal Pad as a tech to have even more.

Baby Blacephelon/Blacephelon-GX: It's time for the return of the Janine Machine! This time it comes in the form of Tentacool UNB 40. If Janine is played on that turn Bubble Jutsu does 60 damage, enough to OHKO Blacephelon UNB 32! It does leave a little HP on Blacephelon-GX but it's more than easy to clean up 20 HP right? 

This isn't the only potential way this deck can shine however. Tentacruel TEU 61 can not only prevent all damage from Ultra Beasts, sorry clowns, but also stops all damage from Naganadel LOT 108 while getting an OHKO with its attack Paranormal. Remember us saying how the cleanup of Blacephelon-GX is a breeze? It's also easy to snipe out any Naganadel in one shot with Marshadow UNB 81! It barely takes any effort to dispatch in this deck while keeping the same tools for recycling Janine as before (Mewtwo can even OHKO Naganadel if you're desperate). Plus if they do tech in Turtonator DRM 50 your Gligar will crush it with a single hit. So which deck comes next?

Tentacruel TEU 61Malamar Decks: Oh boy can we crush some Malamar decks! Tentacruel and Mewtwo both can knock out Malamar FLI 51 in a single hit but it's the attack Paranormal that makes things interesting once again. What major attackers do Malamar decks tend to power up? Necrozma-GX, Dawn Wings Necrozma-GX, and Ultra Necrozma-GX. What do they all have in common? They are Ultra Beasts that won't be able to do damage! If they do attempt to use Giratina LOT 97 you simple dispatch it with a single blow. Talk about effective! Even Marshadow from earlier can set up a 2HKO if needed. Consider Malamar decks toast!

Zoroark Decks: This is where things get a little bit tougher, but not impossible. Gligar can dispatch of the Zoroark-GX but what of its supporting cast? You can manage two hit knockouts against Lucario-GX with both Mewtwo and Tentacruel, but truthfully this is not as explosive as the other counters. You'll still win the prize trade this way however, so it can still do the trick especially if you're sniping out their main draw power in Zoroark-GX. This still leaves Lycanroc-GX GRI 74. Yes Gligar can manage a 2HKO but we wanted to offer up another alternative. Consider including Ditto Prism Star and Tangrowth UNB 17 for much more damage depending on your needs 

Reshiram & Charizard GX: We have to admit this is where things get truly dicey. If you teched in Shrine of Punishment it's possible for Tentacool to manage some two hit knock outs, but it wouldn't be easy. To win this with just how fast the opponent can put down damage it comes down to speed, a bit of luck, and winning the prize battle. If you use Tentacool and possibly Gligar to deal 120 a turn your opponent should be losing three prizes before you do. If you can keep that lead going you can win the game. This won't be a hard counter and win by any means, the fight will be far more brutal. Still, we do think this deck can win. 

Pyukumuku UNB 53If that isn't good enough for you however, we have a few more ideas at techs that could be played with. We're going to do a quick list of them from we consider worst to best. For these to work, your Psychic Energy would have to be replaced with Rainbow Energy. Also remember these can easily be searched out with Brooklet Hill With this in mind let's take a look!

  • Bruxish BUS 38 - Its attack Synchronize can manage a 2HKO if the damage it does to Pokemon on the bench can add up. It's still slow and takes a lot of Energy to use, however. 
  • Shining Volcanion - It takes a lot of Energy but Quad Smash with the right coin flips can manage a OHKO. Not perfect, but worth considering.
  • Frost Rotom - It's rare to attack with a Rotom without trying to use its ability, but in this case we actually can attach Energy to attack! Frost Crush, if the opponent has the likely four Fire Energy attached, will be able to do 180 damage an attack making a 2HKO a breeze.
  • Pyukumuku UNB 53 - Let's be real, this one takes some luck but is marvelous. Winning a game of Rock-Paper-Scissors can lead you to deal 240 damage! You'd only need to win one game for a 2HKO, but combing this with Tentacool could easily lead to some kills. It's honestly worth considering and has just the right amount of madness to make a counter deck shine!

Going Rouge: There's no way to defeat every deck ever with a single deck that might spring up in a tournament, but this deck can take on some of the more common rogues as well. QuagaNadal decks, with Naganadel in the name, have several weaknesses that we've already shown can be exploited. Alolan Exeggutor has regained some popularity recently which isn't as easy to beat but not impossible. Strike at their weaker Pokemon like Mr. Mime TEU 66, Marshadow SLG 45, and Shuckle LOT 16 while trying to snag the 2HKOs you need against their main attacker. Hoopa SLG 55 styled stall decks won't stop you, Gligar hits super effective against Regigigas, and in general you attack for low Energy counts making control decks have a harder time. This deck can still do well even against some surprises so let it!

We hope you like this epic deck but we're ready to hear any complaints! Did we miss a major deck that needs to be countered? Are there some cards that could make this even better? Sound off in the comments below or tell the deck builder herself @LiteralGrill on Twitter. Until next time, stay lit trainers!

- Linnea 'LiteralGrill' Capps

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