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Stage 2 Addict — Nidoqueen in a New Age

Hello again readers, I’m back with you today with my favorite type of article to write. Many of my friends and at this point – even acquaintances – know that I have a borderline obsession with making “bad” cards work. This has led me to build and play a lot of decks that I probably shouldn’t have, but it has also brought me no small amount of success in the past. Occasionally, my Twitter has some of the decks that I build and don’t turn out great, but sometimes things are actually decent enough to warrant writing an article on.

Full disclaimer, if your goal is to beat the entire meta, this might not be the article you want to read. Part of deck-building is accepting bad matchups and that had to be done for today’s deck. Despite that, there are a number of top decks that actually fall prey to rogue decks such as todays. As usual, ADP gate-keeps a lot of the single prize decks that could otherwise be decent.

A little bit of context is also necessary for why I’m back on my Stage 2 addiction. I recently played in the Professor Cup, which had a very interesting format that excluded at multi-prize Pokemon and limited your deck to two types, one of which was assigned. Naturally, this format was a breeding ground for creativity and I saw a lot of decks that made me think about how they could translate to the Standard format. Some of them couldn’t, while others actually stood up to the meta pretty well. The biggest issue with that format was that consistency was very limited, due to the lack of Dedenne-GX and Crobat V. Ironically, the deck I’m talking about today doesn’t play either, but also has loads of other consistency.

NidoqueenInteleon (058)

I’m sure some people saw what this article was about and asked “How could this possibly be good? ADP is in format!” Yes, ADP is a very rough matchup, but the rest of the format has a lot of things in common. Technically this list can KO ADP turn two, but it’s not realistic to consistently find that many Basics on turn one.

Nidoqueen has seen very fringe play multiple times since its release, but almost always with Meganium LOT. That’s not legal anymore, so it’s time for the next best thing, which just so happens to be Inteleon. While inherently slower, there is something to be said about having both Drizzile and Inteleon as support Pokemon to set up the rest of your attackers. Unlike the spiritual predecessor of Inteleon and Drizzile, Ninetales-GX, both Inteleon and Drizzile are capable of grabbing any Trainer card rather than just Items.

PTCGO Code

##Pokémon - 27
4 Sobble SSH 55
4 Drizzile SSH 56
3 Inteleon SSH 58
4 Nidoran♀ TEU 54
2 Nidorina TEU 55
4 Nidoqueen TEU 56
2 Ralts CEC 80
2 Gallade CEC 244
1 Litten UNB 27
1 Incineroar UNB 29
##Trainer Cards - 25
4 Professor's Research CPA 62
2 Boss's Orders RCL 154
2 Bird Keeper DAA 159
4 Rare Candy SSH 180
4 Quick Ball SSH 179
3 Great Ball CPA 52
3 Evolution Incense SSH 163
1 Vitality Band SSH 185
1 Tool Scrapper RCL 208
1 Switch SSH 183
##Energy - 8
4 Twin Energy RCL 174
4 Triple Acceleration Energy UNB 190

Card Choices

Time for a lot of explaining, even though I barely understand everything going here, despite building the deck.

One Litten and One Incineroar

Much like my future complaint in the reasoning behind Vitality Band, Incineroar is the best way to boost damage in this format. This should probably be bumped up to a thicker line to help guarantee finding it, but space is really rough in this deck. Initially this was an Obstagoon line, but as soon as a remembered this was a card, I cut Obstagoon and added this. With Incineroar, Nidoqueen caps at 290 damage, which is enough to KO any TAG TEAM.

Litten (27)Incineroar

Two Ralts and Two Gallade

One very common theme throughout this format is a weakness to Fighting-type Pokemon. Gallade is able to OHKO a Pikarom which is nothing to scoff at. However, that’s not the best thing about Gallade. Nidoqueen is very Energy hungry and you can only play four Triple Acceleration Energy. Gallade can attack for a Twin Energy and it moves that energy to one of your Benched Pokemon. The turn after you use Gallade, you don’t need to find a Triple Acceleration, but rather another Twin. Gallade is also very good at KOing Pokemon like Crobat and Dedenne without wasting a Triple Acceleration.

RaltsGallade

Four Sobble, Four Drizzile and Three Inteleon

When was the last time you saw someone play four of a Stage 1 Pokemon that wasn’t an attacker? It’s been ages. This is the lifeblood of the deck. Jirachi is almost certainly a better overall support Pokemon, but unfortunately Jirachi cannot evolve, thus making it bad in Nidoqueen.

Sobble (055)Drizzile (056)Inteleon (058)

Four Nidoran, Two Nidorina and Four Nidoqueen

Unlike in the past, there’s no Meganium to substitute for Rare Candy. This means that at some point, you’re probably going to need to evolve the slow way. On top of being the main attacker, Nidoqueen has a very good Ability that searches out Pokemon. Once you’ve set up one or two, the rest of the deck basically sets itself up.

Nidoran FNidorinaNidoqueen

One Switch and Two Bird Keeper

In case nobody noticed, the draw Supporters in this format are extremely limited, despite Professor’s Research being the best discard and draw in the game. The issue is the lack of powerful shuffle-draw, something that has been essential to Rare Candy decks being successful for many years. Instead of shuffle draw, you just have draw. Bird Keeper doubles as draw support and a switching card, which makes it decent enough in this deck. I’m still playing one copy of Switch because there will be times where you need to play a different Supporter.

SwitchBird Keeper

One Vitality Band

Support for non-V Pokemon has become so terrible that +10 damage is actually the only option to increase damage output. Lovely isn’t it? Nidoqueen caps at 210 damage after your opponent has taken a KO, so in order to OHKO a Zacian V, you need to play Vitality Band or have Incineroar in play. In all honesty, I think there should probably be a second copy in here, but space in this deck is really tight.

Vitality Band

One Tool Scrapper

Many times, have I questioned the viability of one Tool Scrapper to remove Metal Goggles. That question was never asked in this deck, because Drizzile and Inteleon allow for instant access to it.

Tool Scrapper

Matchups

ADPZ: Unfavored

As I mentioned previously, sacrifices in the matchup department were made. ADP is easily the biggest issue that this deck has, but if you manage to dodge it or get lucky enough to beat it then Nidoqueen is a very strong contender. This matchup is entirely determined in the first two turns, unless both players don’t set up at all. If ADP announces Ultimate Ray, you probably lose. If they don’t and you managed to KO it, then you have a very real shot at the game. It’s not unfeasible for this to happen, but it’s not nearly often enough for me to even make a claim at this being even slightly unfavored. On the bright side, Mawile-GX is actually only capable of helping you by benching things for you to evolve during your turn.

Arceus & Dialga & Palkia GXZacian V

Lucmetal: Slightly Unfavored-Even

This matchup is very, very weird. Between Incineroar, Vitality Band and Tool Scrapper, you’re guaranteed at least one OHKO on a Zacian. In my experience, this matchup is more of a war of attrition than anything else. You do have a finite amount of Triple Acceleration Energy, which means Gallade needs to play a role in the match. Assuming Incineroar is in play and your opponent is reducing by 60 damage, you’re doing 90 damage, which unless they heal, is more than enough for Nidoqueen to come in and take a KO. Your biggest issue in this matchup will be Lucmetal itself. It reduces damage by 80, but it also only hits for 150 damage, which is 10 short of a KO on any of your Stage 2s.

Lucario & Melmetal GXZacian V

Pikarom: Slightly Favored

Conceptually, this matchup should be really good. However, it’s Pikarom and it seems that no matter what it plays against it somehow manages to steal games. On the bright side, Crushing Hammers should hardly matter and Gallade is capable of KOing any TAG TEAM with the help of Incineroar. The games I’ve played of this matchup have all gone well, but Pikarom excels at Reset Stamp nonsense. The silver lining here is that as long as you have a Sobble or Drizzile in play alongside a Nidoqueen, you should always have a way to get out of Reset Stamp. Another boon is that Pikarom only hits 150 damage with Full Blitz, forcing them to use other Pokemon to attack or use Tag Bolt GX.

Pikachu & Zekrom GXRaichu & Alolan Raichu GX

Blacephalon: Even-Slightly Favored

Streaming Stage 2s is deceptively easy with the help of Inteleon, which means that you’re basically the same deck as them, but don’t play any V or Pokemon-GX. At one point or another they’re going to need to bench Oricorio-GX, Dedenne-GX or maybe Zacian V. It just has to happen. When it does, it’s fairly simple to search out a Boss and KO it, putting you in the Prize lead even if you didn’t take the first KO. It’s also important to note the shift that recent Blacephalon lists have gone through, to favor Cramorant V and Reshizard. The more often they’re forced to attack with a multi-Prize Pokemon, the more likely you are to win.

BlacephalonReshiram & Charizard GX

Centiskorch, Lightning Mew3 and Eternatus: Favored

All of these matchups are incredibly easy for you as long as you set up in a timely fashion. They all rely on big three Prize attackers that are easy to two-shot and you’ll likely win the prize race. Centiskorch is probably the hardest out of these matchups because Zacian is slightly less effective. Against Mew3 and Eternatus, it hits for weakness, so 300 damage with Incineroar in play. That’s nothing to scoff at. Nidoqueen also hits Mew3 for Weakness, so please don’t lose that matchup without dead drawing. Eternatus can get a bit weird because of how fast they are, but as long as you don’t drop three Prizes before you even attack, you’re fine.

Centiskorch VMAXMewtwo & Mew GXEternatus VMAX

A Different Take

PTCGO Code

##Pokémon - 26
4 Sobble SSH 55
4 Drizzile SSH 56
3 Inteleon SSH 58
4 Nidoran♀ TEU 54
2 Nidorina TEU 55
3 Nidoqueen TEU 56
2 Torchic DAA 22
2 Blaziken DAA 24
1 Litten UNB 27
1 Incineroar UNB 29
##Trainer Cards - 24
3 Welder UNB 189
2 Professor's Research SSH 209
1 Brock's Grit HIF 53
1 Boss's Orders RCL 200
4 Rare Candy UL 82
4 Quick Ball SSH 179
3 Evolution Incense SSH 163
2 Switch PRC 163
2 Great Ball BCR 129
2 Giant Hearth UNM 197
##Energy - 10
6 Fire Energy 2
4 Triple Acceleration Energy UNB 190

I was angry with Zacian decks, so I scrolled through a bunch of Fire types to see what I could do. As it turns out, there’s a Blaziken that’s almost the same thing as Gallade but requires Fire Energy in order to attack. What was I to do other than turn Nidoqueen into a Welder deck? It’s actually not as bad as it sounds when you first hear it. Unlike your typical Welder deck, there’s a guaranteed way to find Welder with Drizzile and Inteleon, so it’s far less inconsistent than it seems on paper. The issue with the deck is that it has no answer to Chaotic Swell. You’re heavily reliant on Giant Hearth finding Fire Energy and you’re also more reliant on Blaziken as an attacker.

Blaziken

Despite Blaziken taking only two Colorless Energy to attack, I’ve foregone Twin Energy in favor of more Fire Energy and four Triple Acceleration. There was a world where I was only playing a split between Twin and Triple Acceleration Energy. I justified this to myself by saying I could Welder to Nidoqueen and attach Twin Energy. That created a reliance on Welder that I wasn’t comfortable with and was scrapped. At this point it probably doesn’t matter if I attach Triple to a Blaziken or Nidoqueen with two Fires attached anyways. Everything will OHKO you, so even though Triple discards itself, odds are that it ends up discarded anyways.

I don’t think that this version is worth playing in any capacity unless ADP happens to be banned and Lucmetal will likely be more popular (Limitless in the month of January anyone?)

Final Thoughts

Congratulations! You reached the end of the Stage 2-addicted writer’s article. If you’re here, you either didn’t dismiss the deck as total nonsense or you skipped to the end for some inexplicable reason. Either way, thanks for reading today and maybe consider trying out this deck. It might be a little inconsistent at times, because you know, 27 Pokemon, but it’s quite a bit of fun and deals with a lot of powerful decks very well.

That’s all I have for you today, so I’ll see you next time, hopefully with something new and exciting from the release of Shining Fates.

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