What’s up Some1sPC readers! My name is Chip and I’m so excited to be writing my 1st ever article for you guys! Since I am new to the site, I want to give a brief background about myself, and then we will jump into 2 decks that I am considering playing for the upcoming Memphis Regional Championships!
You may recognize my name from my YouTube channel where I post videos about the Pokémon TCG. I record gameplay of my own decks, decks that have done well at recent tournaments, and do discussion videos with top players about their recent performances at tournaments and other topics relevant to the Pokémon TCG. I’ve loved creating content on YouTube for over a year now, and I’m very excited that Russ has given me a chance to try my hand in an additional outlet of content creation.
I had the Pokémon games and Pokémon cards when I was a kid, but I had no idea how to play the TCG. I remember my brother and I making up our own rules like “each energy attached gives you 10 more HP” and always picking our starter, even if it was an evolution Pokémon. Needless to say, we were way off the mark when it came to what the actual rules were. Like many others, I got “too old for Pokémon” around Middle School and wouldn’t pick either up again until I was a sophomore in college. When Pokémon X and Y came out I actually bought a 3DS just to play the game. I really enjoyed it as it brought back a piece of my childhood and it was actually a pretty good game. It wasn’t until after I bought and played Omega Ruby that I noticed the Pokémon Cards as I was walking to check out in Target one day, and for some reason unknown to me, I decided to buy a pack. I remember it was a Roaring Skies pack and I opened it up as soon as I got to my car. I got to the middle of the pack, and there…staring me in the face…was the coolest card I’d ever seen… Gallade EX.
At the time I had no clue that this card had little to no value, especially from a playability standpoint, but I had never seen a card like that and went home and started watching YouTube videos of other people opening Pokémon cards. I started to buy more packs and I eventually noticed the code cards at the back of all these packs I was opening. I never knew that there was an actual real way to play the Pokémon TCG, let alone that there was an amazing community and competitive circuit built around the game. I downloaded PTCGO, looked up where my local Pokémon League was, and the rest was history.
The 1st tournament I attended was a City Championships in High Point, NC in November of 2015. This was the 1st weekend that BREAK Through was legal for play, and I started out 3-0 with my Giratina-EX/Vileplume deck. I did finish the day at 3-3, but had such a great time playing that I went to another City Championship the next day and made Top 8 at that tournament! Now I know that I had no clue what I was doing at the time, but that 1st weekend of tournament play made me fall in love with this game, and the community of players I met that weekend.
That 1st weekend led to me traveling to more Pokémon Leagues in my area, to traveling to Regional Championships, to making Pokémon Videos on YouTube, to Top 8ing Athens Regionals this past season, to getting my Worlds invite in my 1st full competitive year, and to making countless new friends and creating new experiences along the way.
All that brings us to here and now, my 1st article on Some1sPC with only a few days to go before the largest Regional Championships to date. So enough about me, I say it’s time we dive in and take a look at 2 decks that I think could be very strong headed into Memphis.
When it comes to picking a deck for a tournament, I always take a look at what has done well at previous tournaments in the same format. So naturally, I am expecting a lot of Golisopod variants similar to what Tord Reklev used to win the London International Championships last month. I anticipate Zoroark/Golisopod and Gardevoir GX to be the 2 most popular decks at the tournament, so my initial testing was dedicated to Metagross GX/Solgaleo GX.
- 4 Beldum
- 3 Metang
- 4 Metagross GX
- 2 Cosmog
- 1 Solgaleo GX
- 1 Magearna EX
- 2 Tapu Lele GX
- 1 Alolan Vulpix
- 1 Dhelmise
- 4 Professor Sycamore
- 4 N
- 3 Guzma
- 2 Brigette
- 4 Ultra Ball
- 4 Rare Candy
- 4 Max Potion
- 3 Field Blower
- 2 Choice Band
- 2 Rescue Stretcher
- 8 Metal Energy
- 1 Psychic Energy
I’ve played this deck locally at 3 tournaments (all sanctioned tournaments at leagues) to a really high success rate, winning 2 of the tournaments and getting 2nd at the one where I played a Volcanion. The general idea behind the deck has stayed the same ever since it 1st got 2nd at Madison Regionals last season, set up multiple Metagross GX to abuse the Geotech System Ability, and heal off any damage done to you with Max Potion. The twist here is adding the Solgaleo which allows you to pick up 1 hit KO’s against anything in the format when combined with a Choice Band.
The heart and soul of the deck. Even though there are 4 Rare Candy in the deck, having the 3 Metang is crucial in my opinion, because we want to get these Metagross up and running as consistently as possible. As mentioned above, Metagross’s Ability allows us to accelerate energy to our active Pokémon, but it is also our main attacker allowing us to hit for a consistent 150-190 damage every turn.
Metagross GX also has Algorithm GX as its GX attack. This is one of the reasons I would consider playing a deck that has 2 Stage 2 evolutions in it. Being able to search our deck for 5 cards is extremely powerful, and if the opponent has already used any of their N’s in the early turns before we use Algorithm, then they are much less likely to be able to respond with an N that turn. If you are able to get your Algorithm to stick, then it’s pretty easy to close out games since after that we will have our ideal setup.
Yes, that’s right, a 2-0-1 line. No need for Cosmoem here! In all reality, the main reason for the thin counts of this line is space. If we were allowed 65 cards in a deck, I would easily make the evolution line 2-1-2. But alas, we are limited to 60 cards and cuts have to be made somewhere. The main reason for including Solgaleo is its ability to do 230 damage every single turn if we get our ideal setup of 1 Solgaleo and 3 Metagross in play. That does seem like a lot to ask for, but it happens more often than you might think. With a Choice Band attached, we can pick up KO’s on any Pokémon in the game currently (even a Guzzlord GX with a Fighting Fury Belt attached!) Most Zoroark variants, mainly Zoroark/Golisopod are able to take advantage of their high HP and tank a hit or 2, and then just heal off all of that damage through something like an Acerola or a Max Potion. Solgaleo just KO’s everything, essentially making Acerola and Max Potion dead cards in our opponents decks.
I also have to mention Solgaleo’s Ultra Road Ability, which allows us to switch our active Pokémon with one of our benched Pokémon once during our turn. This is a good way to move damaged Pokémon away from the active position and also an option to reset the effect of not being able to attack with Metagross GX’s Giga Hammer. It also means we can freely Guzma whatever we would like on our opponents side of the field, and then Ultra Road any of our Pokémon to the active spot.
1 Magearna EX
This is mainly here for the Mystic Heart Ability, protecting our Pokémon that can be devolved by Espeon EX’s Miraculous Shine. It is also useful against Greninja if we can keep a Metal Energy on multiple Metagross (including Magearna EX) then we can still use the abilities of those Pokémon even after a Shadow Stitching. It also prevents Plea GX from Sylveon GX.
The Steelworker Ability helps us hit relevant numbers with both of our Metal attackers. A Choice Banded Metagross can hit 190 to KO Pokémon such as Buzzwole GX and Zygarde EX, and it also allows Solgaleo GX to hit for 240 damage without a Choice Band to KO a Decidueye GX. You can also boost a Core Beam from Beldum or Ram from Metang up from 20 to 30 damage, allowing you to KO basic 60 HP Metal weak Pokémon such as Ralts and Alolan Vulpix. There is one major downside to playing this card, and that is its retreat cost of 2. It is the only basic Pokémon in our deck with higher than 1 retreat, meaning if we start it, we can’t easily retreat into Vulpix to get off a turn 1 Beacon. It is just 1 of our 11 total possible starters, and I think the upside of the numbers it allows us to hit, is better than the downside of this 2 retreat cost.
Since it is a Psychic Pokémon, it is potentially a good 1 prize attacker against things like Buzzwole, Espeon GX and Espeon EX, so long as we have a Choice Band attached.
1 Alolan Vulpix
It should be pretty evident why we play this card. Beacon is an extremely useful attack that we can use for free on our 1st turn if we go 2nd. It’s very easy to Brigette for Vulpix and then retreat whatever is in the active spot (assuming it’s not Dhelmise) and get off that turn 1 Beacon for 2 Pokémon. I have often found that my opponent’s try very hard to N away my Beacon, which is totally fine, since every N they play decreases the odds that they will be able to N away an Algorithm GX from Metagross.
4 Max Potion
I could never see myself playing less than 4 Max Potions in a Metagross Deck. They are just so powerful to keep the momentum of the game in our favor by denying our opponent knockouts.
3 Field Blower, 2 Choice Band
I have swapped these counts back and forth a few times but ultimately decided this was the best split. Field Blower is mostly here for Parallel City, but of course, can also be used to get rid of Tools on our opponent’s side of the field. Garbodor decks have become less popular, but if we were to go up against one, Field Blower would be very important to discard a Tool card from their Garbotoxin Garbodor, since the entire deck is reliant on Abilities. Two Choice Band is less than older lists, but it’s a cut that I think is fine as we have the Solgaleo GX option to just 1 shot all of the things we would have needed a Choice Band on Metagross to KO. It’s still an important card, allowing us to hit 180-190 with Metagross and Dhelmise in play, taking KO’s on popular Pokémon in the format.
8 Metal Energy, 1 Psychic Energy
I have found this split to be perfect. Metagross’s Geotech System can accelerate both Metal and Psychic Energy, and all of our attacks have a Colorless requirement in them. The reason for the 1 Psychic is so we can use Tapu Lele GX’s Tapu Cure GX to heal off heavily damaged Pokémon, and also to potentially to attack with Dhelmise.
Celesteela is a good option for a basic attacker that isn’t weak to Fire. Volcanion decks have decreased in popularity, and I feel that even with Celesteela it is an unfavorable matchup, therefore not worth including. It’s also a potential starter that doesn’t have a 1 retreat cost making a turn 1 Beacon less likely.
I do think that playing Giratina Promo could swing the Ninja matchup from unfavorable to slightly favorable, since they would then only deal 40 damage a turn, but I don’t expect Ninja to be very widely played and thus, don’t believe it is worth the spot. Giratina also has a retreat cost of 2, once again messing up our 1st turn Beacon chances.
Zoroark/Golisopod – Favorable
This specific deck is one of the reasons I wanted to give Metagross a shot. This is actually also one of the reasons to play 2 Cosmog instead of just 1. Just playing 1 makes it easy for the opponent to get a turn 2 Guzma KO on this little guy before he even has a chance to do anything. Even if 1 gets KO’d we still have access to a 2nd one in the deck without having to use one of our Rescue Stretchers. If we can bench both of them, then our opponent normally won’t even go for the KO on a Cosmog and instead chase down our Beldums before they can evolve. While this is annoying, setting up Solgaleo is the key to this matchup and once we do have it setup, we have enough time to get our Metagross in play.
Gardevoir – Favorable
Sylveon or Vulpix, it doesn’t really matter. I used to think this matchup was close to even slightly in Gardy’s favor, but after testing it more, it does seem like Metagross is able to come out on top most of the time. Metagross GX OHKO’s Gardevoir due to Weakness, and Gardevoir has to respond with 5 Energies and a Choice Band in order to pick up the return KO. If they do, we can respond with another Metagross or even Magearna EX to pick up the return KO, taking out 2 Gardys in back to back turns. Generally, I would avoid using Magearna EX if at all possible though, since it is easy for a Choice Banded Gallade to return the KO and put us on odd prizes.
Buzzwole/Lycanroc – Slightly Favorable
This matchup can be close. We want to avoid using Solgaleo in this matchup if our opponent plays Sudowoodo, since that little tree can easily return our Sunsteel Strike for a KO. If you can do that, I think it’s hard for this deck to handle KOing 2 Metagross. They have access to Dangerous Rogue which can pick up a KO on a 250 HP Pokémon, and I think it’s actually not worth trying to play around. Because of Strong Energy and Choice Band, we would effectively have to limit ourselves to a bench of 3 to avoid the Dangerous Rogue Knockout, which is basically impossible if we have to use Tapu Lele GX to get our turn 1 Brigette. We also normally want to have Dhelmise on the bench in this matchup, so playing around it is next to impossible. Even after the Dangerous Rogue KO, the opponent would need a Buzzwole GX with 2 Strong Energy, a Choice Band, and 2 Regirock EX (or the 3rd Strong Energy) on the bench in order to Knuckle Impact for 250 damage, which is a lot to ask for but is entirely possible.
I almost always pick up an Anchor Shot KO in this matchup if it means putting my opponent on odd prizes. If it will make the prize trade even again, I think it is better to keep on using Giga Hammer with Metagross GX.
Decidueye/Zoroark – Even to Unfavorable
This matchup is close and I think it ultimately comes down to both players set up. Magearna is important for us here to prevent any Espeon EX shenanigans, but at the same time is very easy to pick off for our opponent since they need just 1 Feather Arrow and a Choice Band to KO with Zoroark’s Riotous Beating. Max Potion is also very good, getting rid of damage spread by Feather Arrows to prevent KO’s later on in the game. If our setup is too slow, it is easy to just get overwhelmed by a barrage of Feather Arrows and a hard-hitting Zoroark GX. If both decks have a normal set up I think it comes to draws off of N’s and if we are able to set up a 2nd Solgaleo GX if the 1st one goes down.
Tapu Bulu/Vikavolt – Favorable
This is one of our better matchups. Bulu decks right now can never one shot a Metagross and we can easily take knockouts on Bulus with Giga Hammer. Finding Max Potions is very important since we need to try and heal off our opponent’s damage every turn. If we can do that, this matchup is very favored.
Greninja – Unfavorable
Even though we have Magearna EX which acts as a soft counter to this deck, ultimately we just set up too slowly and eventually are out damaged by Giant Water Shuriken and Shadow Stitching. And if we have Metal energy protecting all of our Pokémon because of Magearna EX’s Ability, they can just use Moonlight Slash and increase their damage output.
This was the 1st deck I tested for this format, and I liked it a lot. It did, however, come with consistency issues (as any Stage 2 deck does.) After flopping at my 1st League Cup with Gardevoir due to Stage 2 inconsistencies in a best of 1 format, I wanted to switch to a deck that didn’t rely on Rare Candy to get their attackers in play. And that brought me to Buzzwole/Lycanroc.
The main reason I wanted to play this deck for my upcoming cups was the sheer consistency of it and the fact that it is relatively low maintenance. For just a single Energy we can spread damage with Buzzwole GX’s Jet Punch attack, and when combined with Strong Energy and Regirock EX’s Regi Power Ability, we are able to prey on these evolution-based decks that have 60 HP basic Pokémon.
- 4 Buzzwole GX
- 1 Rockruff
- 1 Lycanroc GX
- 2 Regirock EX
- 1 Sudowoodo BKP
- 2 Remoraid
- 2 Octiollery
- 1 Tapu Lele GX
- 4 Professor Sycamore
- 3 N
- 4 Guzma
- 4 Ultra Ball
- 4 Max Elixir
- 4 Choice Band
- 3 Float Stone
- 1 Field Blower
- 1 Escape Rope
- 1 Super Rod
- 4 Brooklet Hill
- 9 Fighting Energy
- 4 Strong Energy
This deck earned me a Top 8 and a Top 4 at my League Cups this past weekend netting me a total of 57 points over 2 days. I lost in Top 8 of the Saturday Cup due to a misplay game 1 and some unfortunate luck in game 2. I lost in Top 4 the next day to Grant Manley playing a Gourgeist deck, which is a terrible matchup since Gourgeist hits Buzzwole for Weakness and is resistant to Fighting.
This is within a few cards of the deck I played at both of my League Cups this past weekend. This is the final list I’ve settled on, and what I would play going into another tournament. I’ll explain my various changes and exclusions below.
4 Buzzwole GX
This may seem like overkill, but this dude is our main attacker and who we want to be starting basically every single game. Sometimes going 2nd you don’t mind not starting a Buzzwole, since that can allow you to pull off a turn 1 Knuckle Impact or Absorption GX. But generally our 1st turn or 2 is spent using Jet Punch to KO low HP basics and setup bench damage for later in the game.
Knuckle Impact is the main attack here, allowing us to KO basically anything we want with boosts from things like Regirock EX, Choice Band, and Strong Energy. The effect does, unfortunately, say that we cannot attack the next turn, but we have multiple Float Stones, 4 Guzma, and even the single copy of Escape Rope that we can use to send Buzzwole back to the bench to reset this effect.
1-1 Lycanroc GX
I originally had this as a 2-2 line on Saturday, but cut it down to a 1-1 since I never found myself needing or using a 2nd Lycanroc. The Bloodthirsty Eyes Ability can put us into very favorable positions on the 2nd turn against evolution decks and take a KO with Buzzwole on whatever our opponent placed an energy on, or evolved into a stage 1 to get ready for that stage 2 evolution. This can force our opponent to find Rare Candy to get their stage 2’s in play.
2 Regirock EX
I have seen some lists just including 1 copy of this card, but there are a ton of scenarios where the extra 10 damage allows us to reach for a KO. Here are a couple examples:
Buzzwole GX with a Strong Energy and 2 Benched Regirock EX KO’s
Buzzwole GX with 2 Strong Energy and 2 Benched Regirock EX KO’s
-Zoroark GX (having taken 30 from benched Jet Punch damage)
And finally Buzzwole GX with 1 Strong Energy, 2 Fighting, Choice Band, and 2 Regirock EX Knuckle Impact KO’s a Gardevoir GX. There are many more relevant numbers I could go through, but these were enough to convince me that the 2nd Regirock was worth the spot.
I originally had a 1-1 line in this deck but when I switched over to 1-1 Lycanroc, I didn’t like including 2 1-1 evolution lines, so I went to 2-2. This actually made a big difference in the consistency and was also one of the reasons I felt comfortable cutting down to 3 copies on N. We will rarely use both Octillery in a game, but if you get them both out it’s actually very useful and really increases your late game draw power.
1 Sudowoodo BKP
This card 100% earns the award for the most clutch card in the deck. There are so many awesome plays you can pull off here, especially after Jet Punch damage has softened something up on the bench. It’s very good against things like Tapu Bulu GX, Solgaleo GX, opposing Buzzwole GX, Zoroark GX, Drampa GX, and can even pick up the KO on a Golisopod GX which used First Impression the previous turn, provided we have 1 Strong Energy, and Choice Band, 1 Benched Regirock EX, and the Golisopod had 30 damage on it from an earlier Jet Punch. Now that may seem like a lot to ask for, but I was able to pull this playoff against the 1 Golisopod I played over the weekend to take a big KO.
1 Tapu Lele GX
It feels very strange running only 1 copy of this card, but we really do not need more than 1. We don’t use Brigette in this deck, so it is actually better for us to save our Lele past the 1st turn to help us find a key N or Guzma later on in the game.
4 Brooklet Hill
This is one of the best consistency cards for this deck. It helps us get both of our Stage 1’s set up and can find us Regirock EX’s to help boost our damage, and even pull a Buzzwole or Sudowoodo out of the deck to Max Elixir onto to stream KO’s.
1 Escape Rope
I played this card on Saturday and cut it on Sunday, but I really missed it so here it is back in the deck. I just love how this card can put your opponent in an awkward spot and send something to the active spot that they may not have wanted to. It’s also another switch card that lets us reset the effect of Buzzwole GX’s Knuckle Impact.
1 Super Rod
I’m playing this card over something like Rescue Stretcher because I love having the ability to put Energy back into the deck late game, in order to increase late game Max Elixir chances. It’s also useful to shuffle back 1 of Pokémon like Sudowoodo or Rockruff if it gets KO’d before we can use it effectively.
I really would like to fit 2 Acerola in the deck. One of the reasons I lost in Top 8 of my 1st cup against Zoroark/Golisopod was not having a good way to deal with Mewtwo EVO. In game 2, my opponent had a low hand size and no Zoroarks set up. I was able to go aggressive that turn and get a Knuckle Impact KO on their Mewtwo EVO. To follow up, they to topdecked Sycamore and drew into Float Stone, Choice Band, and 2 Puzzle of Time to get back Mewtwo and DCE and return the KO on my Buzzwole leaving me with nothing established. It’s easy to blame something like this on bad luck, but I like to try and figure out what I could have done differently. I think Acerola helps you deal with Mewtwo since you can get a little healing going while applying pressure for 1 Energy. This strategy is only somewhat effective if your opponent is able to stream a few Acerola of their own, so ultimately I decided not to include it. I could see adding it back in replacing the Field Blower and the Escape Rope.
A Safeguard Counter
That’s right, at this time I really don’t play a great safeguard counter. The 2 Safeguarders to be worried about are Hoopa and Alolan Ninetales. Neither of these cards sees very much play, but if you were worried about playing against one of these, I would include a Hitmonchan EVO or a Zygarde FCO 52.
Zoroark/Golisopod – Even
If they don’t play Mewtwo I think this matchup is favorable, but assuming they do play it, it does get much trickier. I’ll usually try and get a couple Jet Punch KO’s, a Dangerous Rogue KO, and put them in a position where if they use First Impression on my Lycanroc, I’m able to take my last 2 Prizes with a Buzzwole.
Gardevoir – Favorable
Most Gardy lists have been cutting Mr. Mime which is really good for our deck. But even if they do play it, we can still take at least 2 Jet Punch KO’s on a Ralts and a Vulpix with a single energy Buzzwole, then bring up Lycanroc for the GX attack on a Gardevoir, and then all we have to do is Knuckle Impact a Tapu Lele GX for the game. Buzzwole also wins out here due to its sheer consistency. Gardevoir, while being very strong, is also relatively inconsistent, meaning we can always steal games when our opponent doesn’t draw optimally. I went 2-0 against Gardevoir on the weekend.
Decidueye/Zoroark – Slightly Unfavorable
I’m just going to assume that most if not all Decidueye Zoroark lists will be playing Mewtwo EVO which makes this matchup hard for us. It’s very important to pressure their Rowlets early and try and prevent them from getting lots of Decidueye into play. If they don’t play Mewtwo, I think the matchup actually swings heavily into our favor.
Tapu Bulu/Vikavolt – Slightly Favorable
This one can be close but ultimately I deem it in Buzzwole’s favor. Sudowoodo can come in and swing as a 1 prize attacker to help us in the prize trade, and let’s be real, the Buzzwole deck is all about consistency, while Tapu Bulu/Vikavolt may be the most inconsistent deck in the format.
Greninja – Even
Including a Tina Promo would certainly swing this matchup heavily into our favor, but with this being a 1000 person Tournament, the chances of playing against a Greninja are relatively low, and I think the matchup is close regardless. Buzzwole puts on a lot of pressure early and if we can also take the Starmie out of play with a Guzma, their ability to recycle energy in the late game will be crippled. Also, Lycanroc’s GX attack will almost always be able to pick up an OHKO on a BREAK, and if we get the 3rd Energy on a Lycanroc, we can even use Claw Slash to pick up a KO on a Greninja that hasn’t evolved into the BREAK yet.
I think either of these decks would be fine plays heading into Memphis this weekend. I think consistency will win out as we saw with Tord’s deck in London, so Buzzwole is one of my top choices at the moment.
Thanks so much for reading and I cannot wait to bring so much more content to the site in the future! Depending on my finish in Memphis, I may try and attend Dallas Regionals as well, but that is very unlikely. So the next thing on the horizon for me besides League Cups would be Charlotte, a totally different format with a ton of new cards that have lots of potential. I’m looking forward to it.