What’s good with it Some1sPC readers?!? My name is Russell LaParre and I’m back to bring you a detailed article on a deck I’ve grown to love, Vikavolt GX. Before I get into the deck, I wanted to discuss my outlook on the “oppression” of Garbodor GRI in the format and why it dominated Seattle Regionals. I’d like to give a special shout out to my European friends, Complexity Card Gaming’s Benjamin Pham and Galaxy Card Gaming’s Nicklas Danielsen, for helping me make the final picks for my list for Seattle. Goncalo Ferreira’s League Cup winning list also had a heavy influence on how I went about building the deck. Let’s get started.

I.Garbodor’s Dominance of Seattle
II.Vikavolt GX/Vikavolt
III.Vikavolt List
IV.Matchups
V.Conclusion

Garbodor’s Dominance of Seattle

If you didn’t already hear, Garbodor had an overwhelming presence in Day 2 of Seattle Regionals, comprising 22 out of the top 32 spots. From what I’m hearing from veteran players of the game, no deck has ever been that dominant in the Pokémon Trading Card Game. With such a dominant impact, many players’ initial reaction is to think “we need to ban Garbodor. It’s ruining the format.” I’m actually part of the few people who believe it’s perfect for the meta, so let me explain why.

While Garbodor’s high percentage of the Day 2 meta is off-putting for those who favor a diverse format, I believe it was piloted by the best players in the tournament in a highly skillful format. Along with being piloted by a majority of the top players, the deck made up almost 55% of the Day 1 field. After the first couple of rounds, we all knew Garbodor was going to dominate Day 2. So, two parts so far: a high percentage of the field was Garbodor and it was piloted by the best players. The final piece to Garbodor’s “oppression” is the general player base’s inability to adapt to the evolving meta.

Without trying to sound like an elitist or a jerk, I don’t believe the middle tier of competitive players properly adapted to the oncoming storm of Drampa GX/Garbodor. Whether it was due to a lack of play testing, testing against non-optimal lists, or just ignoring the strength of the deck altogether, I think players just kept building decks filled with Items and didn’t respect the power of Trashalanche. The next few weeks of Regionals and League Cups will properly show the evolution of the meta and how these players will adapt to the new era of Garbodor. I think the knee-jerk reaction for players will be to play less Items in their list and throwing Lycanroc GX in random decks just for the sake of OHKOing Drampa GX. While I don’t disagree with the former, I think Lycanroc GX, while strong, doesn’t just instantly beat any Garbodor deck. Drampa GX/Garbodor did have the best showing of the variants but there are plenty of ways to build Garbodor to adapt to these changes.

With Garbodor out of the way, it’s time to get to Vikavolt!

Vikavolt GX/Vikavolt

At the release of Guardian’s Rising, I said to myself “Vikavolt GX is going to be a threat.” Let’s take a look at it and Vikavolt SUM to get a better understanding of how the deck functions.

Vikavolt-GX – Lightning – HP240
Stage 2 – Evolves from Charjabug

To start, let’s talk about Vikavolt GX’s insane HP and superb typing (for this meta). Right now, the only thing in the meta that can OHKO Vikavolt GX (without having an absurd number of items in discard) is Volcanion EX via Steam Up, Lycanroc GX, and Mega Rayquaza EX. Lycanroc can hit it for weakness but that deck hasn’t really picked up steam and should fall lower into the playability tiers as Tapu Bulu GX is released. Volcanion EX has almost disappeared from the meta due to Garbodor and we can hit Mega Rayquaza EX for weakness, so it’s a favorable matchup if we’re able to set up. Its innate tankiness really helps it against a majority of the rogue decks that look to OHKO anything that has 220 HP or less with the help of Choice Band.

[L] Charge Beam: 50 damage. Attach 1 Energy card from your discard pile to this Pokémon.

Charge Beam is an insane 1 Energy Attachment attack for Vikavolt GX. This is going to be the attack you opt during the early game after you’re forced to use one of Vikavolt SUM’s Strong Charge attachments to your active to retreat. Note that you can grab any Energy Card from your discard pile to this Pokémon so I can plan out some attacks where I’m looking to attach Double Colorless Energy and plan out a stronger attack the following turn.

[L][C][C][C] Super Zap Cannon: 180 damage. Discard 2 Energy attached to this Pokémon.

This is your Go-To attack against the field. 4 Energy may seem like a hefty cost but after establishing a Vikavolt in play, it’s really easy to get it going. You can also discard a Double Colorless Energy to pay its cost to retreat. This is the best option to play when against Garbodor BKP. I’ll dive into that a bit later on.

[L][C][C][C] Gigatron GX: Does 60 damage to each of your opponent’s Benched Pokémon. (Don’t apply Weakness and Resistance for Benched Pokémon.) (You can’t use more than 1 GX attack in a game.)

Gigatron GX is hilariously useful in our current format. While some of you may be thinking “Okay how does the 60 help your numbers?” Well, most of the time it doesn’t unless you’re against another Stage 2 deck like Decidueye GX or Solgaleo GX. My list, in particular, plays Wide Lens, so I can take instant OHKO’s against any benched Shaymin EX for game ending attacks.

Weakness: Fighting (x2)
Resistance: Metal (-20)
Retreat: 1

There’s not much to note here but 1 Retreat plays a huge role into why Vikavolt GX is so successful. Its basic form, Grubbin, has 2 retreat cost, Charjabug has 3 retreat, and finally, Vikavolt GX has 1 retreat. This lets you absorb a gigantic attack, then subsequently retreat into another Vikavolt GX while you heal up with Rough Seas.

Vikavolt – Lightning – HP150
Stage 2 – Evolves from Charjabug

Ability: Strong Charge
Once during your turn (before your attack), you may search your deck for a [G] Energy and a [L] Energy and attach them to your Pokémon in any way you like. Shuffle your deck afterwards.

Strong Charge is the reason we play this card. Its ability to attach to 2 different Pokémon plays a significant role in how we’ll pilot the deck. The decisions required by this ability can make this deck incredibly difficult to pilot. In order to fit all the cards you’d like to make the deck run efficiently, you’ll need to keep your Grass/Lightning counts to a minimum. Doing this means any Energy you prize, have in hand, or need to attack during the early turns makes it more difficult to gauge when you’re going to attach the following turn.

[L][C][C][C] Electrocannon: 150 damage. Discard 3 Energy attached to this Pokemon.

You shouldn’t be using this attack that frequently, but is it an option to OHKO an opposing Pokémon EX or GX. (if you attach Choice Band) The 3 Energy discard is just too costly to make it worth attacking and possibly getting it KO’d.

Weakness: Fighting (x2)
Resistance: Metal (-20)
Retreat: 3

This Pokémon’s 3 Retreat is ridiculously tough for the deck to deal with. For its retreat alone, we should be playing a switch card like Float Stone or Olympia.

With the 2 main Pokémon out of the way, let’s fly into the decklist.

Vikavolt GX

Pokemon (18)

  • 4 Grubbin
  • 3 Charjabug
  • 3 Vikavolt GX
  • 2 Vikavolt SUM
  • 1 Alolan Vulpix
  • 1 Shaymin EX
  • 1 Spinda PRC
  • 1 Tapu Koko GX
  • 2 Tapu Lele GX

Trainers (30)

  • 3 Professor Sycamore
  • 2 N
  • 1 Lysandre
  • 1 Hex Maniac
  • 1 Brock’s Grit
  • 1 Teammates
  • 1 Ace Trainer
  • 1 Brigette
  • 4 Ultra Ball
  • 3 Rare Candy
  • 3 VS Seeker
  • 2 Choice Band
  • 2 Field Blower
  • 1 Super Rod
  • 1 Wide Lens
  • 1 Float Stone
  • 2 Rough Seas

Energy (12)

  • 3 Grass Energy
  • 5 Lightning Energy
  • 4 Double Colorless Energy

 

 

4 Grubbin/3 Charjabug/3 Rare Candy

We obviously want to play 4 Grubbin if we’re going to try to achieve a combination of 4 Vikavolt GX/Vikavolt on board. The big thing I wanted to discuss here was 3 Charjabug and 3 Rare Candy. While it may seem a bit strange to not play 4 Rare Candy, I realized after testing this list out that you’re not in a large rush to hit your Vikavolt. With Garbodor also running the show, I wanted to use a max of 2 Rare Candy in games against it. Please test out this line before switching over to 4 Rare Candy. You’ll notice how much more consistent getting your Vikavolt online becomes.

3 Vikavolt GX

Since I already broke down Vikavolt GX in the beginning, I wanted to note that playing 3 copies of Vikavolt GX is perfect. You’ll usually never need more than 2 on board but we want to play the 3rd copy so we can get away with prizing 1.

2 Vikavolt SUM

Almost the exact same reasoning as Vikavolt GX, we want to play 2 to avoid prizing the 1 copy. I don’t remember ever having 2 Vikavolt on the board at the same time.

2 Tapu Lele GX

Tapu Lele GX has multiple uses in this deck. I’m considering adding a 3rd copy of it over Shaymin EX for sheer consistency. Wonder Tag helps us fish out the best opening Supporter turn we can get, which is Brigette for Alolan Vulpix and 2 Grubbin. The other use it has in the deck is an absurd sweeper against decks that can’t manage a 170 OHKO on turn 2. Multiple times during testing I’ve made a turn 2 Vikavolt and used Strong Charge to load up a Tapu Lele GX with Grass and Lightning, then with a Choice Band and Double Colorless Energy I could OHKO their Drampa GX.

1 Shaymin EX

We obviously want Shaymin EX here for consistency, but it doesn’t have the same impact as it has had in past metas. I wanted to play a copy so I can afford to use Teammates for 2 cards I want, then Shaymin EX to replenish my hand with Double Colorless Energy. I’ve used Sky Return + Choice Band a few times to setup a KO with Super Zap Cannon, but you shouldn’t be attacking much with Shaymin EX.

1 Tapu Koko GX

I’m in love with the 1 copy of Koko. I’ll say the main reason I added this card in the deck was my Friday night testing against Israel Sosa’s Waterbox list. I noticed that the only reason I lost games were due to Lapras’ Ice Beam GX. I thought about adding in an Olympia to help out, but realized Tapu Koko can just go active with Aero Trail and instantly OHKO Lapras GX with Tapu Thunder GX. While this game plan worked flawlessly, Tapu Koko GX offered some other options for the deck. It can easily OHKO Garbodor, isn’t weak to Lycanroc GX, and is an attacker that doesn’t need to discard Energy. I’m trying to keep this in my list for Madison Regionals.

1 Alolan Vulpix

Playing only 1 copy of Alolan Vulpix was probably my riskiest decision of the deck. You pretty much always want to use Beacon on your first attacking turn. It helps you establish so much of your setup that it can single-handedly snowball the game in your favor. You can grab more setup pieces for Vikavolt or even Tapu Lele to setup a turn 2 Teammates and rush the board. It holds a lot of value in the deck, as each Pokémon has a high impact on your complete game. I originally had 2 in my list, but cut the 2nd as I heard Dylan Bryan’s magical quote ring in my head: “Don’t play an extra copy of a card just so you don’t prize it. Unless that card is absolutely detrimental to your setup.” While Alolan Vulpix does help a bunch, it isn’t exactly necessary for the deck to function. With that in mind, I opted to play 1.

1 Spinda PRC

I only included this card to counter Gyarados. There were a bunch of Gyarados decks played at Seattle but I never ran into one. I’ll cut this card for Madison Regionals.

3 Professor Sycamore

It’s important for us not to discard Rare Candy or any of our Energy cards in the early stages of the game. For this reason, I only wanted to play a maximum of 3 Professor Sycamore so I didn’t have to lose to my own opening hands.

2 N

I regret only playing 2 N. I originally had 3 in the list and turned the final copy into an Ace Trainer. While Ace Trainer was phenomenal, the 3rd N would’ve helped some rough mid game moments quite a bit.

1 Lysandre

I broke one of my golden rules only playing 1 Lysandre in this list. I always like to include 2 Lysandre but the damage output this deck has is just insane since you can OHKO anything that’s active. I can honestly say that after playing 9 rounds with only 1 copy, I didn’t miss the 2nd.

1 Ace Trainer

This was an addition that Benjamin and Nicklas showed to me and I instantly agreed. Since we play Alolan Vulpix and usually sacrifice it as a single prize early in the game, we can use Brigette to get our Grubbin, then Beacon and turn 2 Ace Trainer with Tapu Lele the following turn. I’d keep at least 1 copy of this in the deck as long as I keep playing Alolan Vulpix.

1 Brigette

Brigette is the card I added after looking at Goncalo’s original list. It’s insanely strong in this deck as you want to fill your bench full of Grubbin ASAP. I never wanted a second copy as sometimes you’d prize Brigette but can play around it by just searching out N or Professor Sycamore and drawing into your Grubbin.

1 Brock’s Grit

This card may be underwhelming at times, but it’s absolutely critical towards success against non-EX or GX decks. Since our main attacker discards 2 Energy to attack, we’ll need to refuel Energy almost 2 times a game in order to keep Vikavolt’s Strong Charge available. I’d always play at least 1.

1 Teammates

This card spot was originally a Skyla but Nicklas and Ben convinced me to play Teammates instead. Teammates was absolutely insane throughout the tournament. I made multiple turn 2 Vikavolt after using Teammates for 2 Rare Candy and even used Teammates to search Double Colorless Energy and Wide Lens for game ending Gigatron GX. I wouldn’t play this deck again without it.

1 Hex Maniac

While this deck doesn’t have much use for turning off abilities, I wanted to play a single Hex Maniac to beat any Volcanion EX, Greninja, and Decidueye GX I would run into. If we’re able to get a turn where we Hex Maniac, take an OHKO on an EX or GX, then get another Hex Maniac, the game usually ends. This is a fringe card that can be easily removed.

4 Ultra Ball

This is the standard now. We want to search out any Pokémon in our list and it’s not worth playing Nest Ball and Level Ball with Garbodor being so dominant.

3 VS Seeker

We only need 3 counts of VS Seeker since we play 2 Tapu Lele and we don’t want to play a high number of Items to pump Garbodor’s Trashalanche.

2 Choice Band

Choice Band lets Tapu Lele GX, Vikavolt, and Vikavolt GX OHKO a majority of Pokémon in the meta with ease. I believe we’ll see a rise in play of Lurantis GX, Ninetales GX, and Lapras GX, so playing at least 2 Choice Band so Super Zap Cannon can OHKO is useful.

1 Wide Lens

The MVP of the weekend. Wide Lens is the surprise factor for all opponent’s to dread. Combined with Gigatron GX, Wide Lens can double damage against Shaymin EX, forcing OHKO’s across an opposing bench if they have any benched.

2 Field Blower

We’ll need 2 Field Blower in the list so we can remove any Float Stone on Garbodor with Garbotoxin. It hinders our ability to use Strong Charge which will come in handy when we need to sweep them with Vikavolt GX.

1 Super Rod

Similar to Brock’s Grit, Super Rod was added so we can refresh our discard Basic Energy quickly. Playing a copy of this is necessary for the deck to function well.

1 Float Stone

I know most of you are thinking, “What?!? Only 1 Float Stone?” While it’s kind of crazy, you don’t need a lot of retreat aiding cards in the deck since you can load any Energy spent to retreat back onto your Pokémon via Strong Charge. A single Double Colorless Energy is sufficient enough for us to retreat into Alolan Vulpix and Beacon with ease. The only reason I would want to play another Float Stone is to make sure Vikavolt doesn’t get trapped active via Lysandre.

2 Rough Seas

Rough Seas is included in the list to help fight against decks that need to 2HKO our Vikavolt GX, mainly Greninja and Decidueye GX. Any Water Shuriken or Feather Arrows to the bench can be easily healed via Rough Seas and since your stage 1 of Vikavolt, Charjabug, is Lightning it also receives the benefit from Rough Seas.

4 Double Colorless Energy/5 Lightning Energy/3 Grass Energy

As I said earlier, this is a tight Energy list. We want 4 Double Colorless Energy so we can retreat our active Grubbin on our opening turn with ease, as well as attack with Tapu Lele GX and Vikavolt GX quickly. 5 Lightning Energy is included so we can hit with Vikavolt GX and search it out via Strong Charge even if we don’t have any more Grass Energy in deck. 3 Grass Energy is extremely tough to work with and I would want to increase this count to 4 in the future.

Tech

2 Alolan Vulpix

If you don’t want to live the reckless life of only 1 Alolan Vulpix, throw in another copy so you can consistently get to it with turn 1 Brigette.

Alolan Ninetales GX

After testing Ninetales in the original list, I felt it wasn’t as useful against my expected meta as I’d like. I felt like you rarely ever get 3 attacks off with it and it took away the consistency you wanted to hit Vikavolt pieces. For this reason, I cut it from the list to focus on another Charjabug and Trainer card for tech. I wouldn’t add it again unless I felt compelled to start attacking the bench more.

Tapu Koko SM30

Even with free retreat and the ability to hit the bench for 20 damage, I don’t think it’s necessary for this deck to play Tapu Koko. It doesn’t really help Vikavolt GX’s damage output against most of the meta and will only get its Double Colorless Energy removed via Righteous Edge. If I were to add this card I’d play 2 copies and go back to playing a 2-2 line of Alolan Ninetales.

Tapu Bulu GX

Tapu Bulu GX helps this deck have a fighting chance against Lycanroc GX and can significantly increase the matchup against Greninja. If you add this to the deck play another Grass Energy and another Float Stone as you never want to open this Pokémon. Its ability to keep the Energy attached to it on board lets us sweep with it early then transition to using Vikavolt GX when you finally get setup.

Skyla 

Even after I dropped Skyla from the list for Teammates, I still find myself wanting to Skyla for Rare Candy almost once every 5 games. Instant Rare Candy, Choice Band, Rough Seas, or Float Stone is just an amazing option for the deck to have in the early game. When paired with Tapu Lele GX it has a quick way to find it our hand and plan out future turns. I’m looking to add it back in the list.

Max Potion

Max Potion is another card I’d like to fit in the deck as I find myself wanting to heal Vikavolt GX from all damage and reload it with a Strong Charge and Double Colorless Energy in any of my close games. The problem with this option is it’s hard to find the space to add this in the deck without wanting another consistency card like Skyla or N instead.

 

Vikavolt GX Updated with Tapu Bulu

Pokemon (17)

  • 4 Grubbin
  • 3 Charjabug
  • 3 Vikavolt GX
  • 2 Vikavolt SUM
  • 1 Alolan Vulpix
  • 1 Shaymin EX
  • 1 Tapu Bulu GX
  • 2 Tapu Lele GX

Trainers (30)

  • 3 Professor Sycamore
  • 3 N
  • 1 Lysandre
  • 1 Hex Maniac
  • 1 Brock’s Grit
  • 1 Teammates
  • 1 Skyla
  • 1 Ace Trainer
  • 1 Brigette
  • 4 Ultra Ball
  • 3 Rare Candy
  • 3 VS Seeker
  • 2 Choice Band
  • 2 Field Blower
  • 1 Super Rod
  • 2 Float Stone

Energy (13)

  • 4 Grass Energy
  • 5 Lightning Energy
  • 4 Double Colorless Energy

 

Matchups

Bread and Butter

In almost every game and every matchup, we want to get a turn 1 Brigette and an option to retreat into Alolan Vulpix. From there, Vulpix uses Beacon to search up Charjabug, Vikavolt, or Tapu Lele to further progress our setup. I’m going to discuss each matchup based on how you’ll approach the game after hitting your Bread and Butter.

Drampa GX/Garbodor 70-30

While this matchup may seem a bit tough considering you’re playing Rare Candy, it’s actually extremely favored for Vikavolt. You want to get Charjabug with your first Beacon unless you’re sitting on a rare candy to make a Vikavolt. Using a combination of Vikavolt and Tapu Lele, you can trade hits with Drampa GX or Garbodor until you can make a Vikavolt GX. If your hand is good enough to make a Vikavolt and Vikavolt GX early enough, then sacrifice the Alolan Vulpix to push this advantage and get an Ace Trainer or Teammates. A single Vikavolt GX can sweep the game if they ever miss an Energy drop. I tend to play extremely conservative in this matchup as I feel like they don’t put much pressure on you with Drampa GX compared to other decks. Save all Field Blower for when they drop a Garbodor BKP on you, then remove their tool and keep sweeping with Vikavolt GX. I prioritize using the Field Blower over Lysandre on it as you can usually get 2 Strong Charge on your Vikavolt GX then just discard Double Colorless Energy to pay for Super Zap Cannon as you wallop them. 

Espeon GX/Garbodor 70-30

This matchup is very similar to the Drampa GX matchup, you can sweep an Espeon GX/Garbodor deck with a single Vikavolt GX. Play the Garbodor Garbotoxin game almost exactly the same as the Drampa GX matchup, but remember to consistently retreat between Vikavolt GX while hitting their Espeon GX with a Charge Beam and loading up a single Energy. There’s no reason to swing through Psybeam’s Confusion unless you absolutely have to. Try to feed them an Energyless Tapu Lele GX early, then retreat it into a Choice Banded Vikavolt GX to OHKO them. 

Decidueye GX/Alolan Ninetales GX/Vileplume 60-40

Since my list only plays 1 copy of Alolan Vulpix and 1 Hex Maniac, the Decidueye matchup is sort of close. If you get an ideal scenario where they have a late Vileplume and you can get a Vikavolt GX online, then you want to use Gigatron GX ASAP. Gigatron GX’s 60 damage to benched Decidueye GX is critical towards finding success against the deck. Once you hit them for 60, any Super Zap Cannon will KO them while also discarding Energy, so their Tapu Lele GX doesn’t hit you quite as hard. Wide Lens actually helps this matchup quite a bit as most Decidueye players are forced to bench at least 2 Shaymin EX during the early turns to get their Decidueye in play. If you can get to Wide Lens and Hex Maniac with a Vikavolt GX in play, you can usually win the game. Playing 2 Alolan Vulpix and 2 Hex Maniac all but automatically wins this matchup for you as long as you get to them. 

Turbo Darkrai 70-30

Turbo Darkrai disappeared from the Meta at Seattle Regionals but after Philip Schultz’s success with it at a League Cup in Europe, I wouldn’t count it out from coming back. Luckily, Vikavolt GX destroys Darkrai EX if you’re able to Field Blower away their EXP Share during the same turn you use Super Zap Cannon. There’s not much more to discuss with this matchup other than trying to setup 2 Vikavolt GX and using them to take 6 prizes while you feed the opponent minuscule prizes like Alolan Vulpix or a Grubbin.

Mega Rayquaza EX 70-30 (90-10 with Wide Lens)

Obviously, we have the type advantage on them but since they can stream together turns of Hex Maniac and Lysandre, we can lose games to simple dead draws and lack of Wonder Tag. If you’re playing Wide Lens then you pretty much auto-win the matchup if they bench 2 or 3 Shaymin EX, as you can take 6 prizes in a single turn with Gigatron GX. If you don’t have Wide Lens, you’ll want to use a combination of Vikavolt, Vikavolt GX, and Tapu Koko GX to OHKO their Mega Rayquaza EX and force them to constantly build new M Rayquaza as you OHKO them with ease. 

Alolan Ninetales GX 70-30

Alolan Ninetales GX is fairly easy for Vikavolt to deal with since we can OHKO them with Choice Band and they have no way to OHKO us back. The 50 damage they might deal to our Vikavolt during the early turns can be mitigated with Rough Seas. It also hinders their progression if they take a KO on our Tapu Lele GX, because then we can N them and OHKO them with Super Zap Cannon. Remember to only attach your Choice Band right before you attack, as they’re too important to get removed with Field Blower. 

Conclusion

I think Vikavolt has what it takes to be a wrecking force in the current format. It’s a high skill/reward deck that takes quite a bit of practice to perfect piloting. The initial deck search is one of the most important moments you can have with the deck so if you plan on using this at a tournament, please take the time to learn how to breeze through your deck quickly and recognize what resources you have to work with. While I don’t think this deck is the best in the format, I think enough players don’t give it credit due to the fact that it has multiple Stage 2 Pokemon and requires time to set up.

Russ

 

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