Many deck builders were drawn to the hitting power of Dusk Mane Necrozma as soon as it was revealed, myself included. However, while most immediately paired it with the new metal Magnezone, I was more interested in how it might revive an older archetype, Metagross GX. Metagross had seen some success in the past. Christopher Schemanske piloted a plain version of it to a second place finish at last season’s Madison Regional Championship. A few others, most notably Jose Marrero, paired it with Solgaleo GX to moderate success. Others used Necrozma GX with psychic energy as the tech attacker. I find it funny that a fusion of Solgaleo and Necrozma may prove to be the secondary attacker the deck needed.
Metagross by itself simply doesn’t hit hard enough. The idea of the original list was to take one or two shots while healing yourself with max potions. Necrozma made it so you had an attacker that wasn’t weak to fire and wasn’t your energy acceleration. However, having to play psychic could make it harder to find the right energy at the right time (although to be fair finding the correct energy type normally wasn’t an issue). Utilizing Solgaleo GX meant you were playing two stage twos, and that comes with obvious consistency issues.
Dusk Mane Necrozma is better than any of these past options. It is a basic. It uses Metal Energy. It hits for 220! The only things it has going against it is the fire weakness and an energy cost of four. This hasn’t been an issue so far in my testing, and if you are behind, it can use Sun’s Eclipse GX for three energy to do 250! Overall, I have found the discarding energy requirement to be nice. It makes a Garde OHKO much less likely and prevents Guzma stalling, a common tactic against past Metagross lists in the early-mid game.
Now for the list:
Metagross Dusk Mane Necrozma
- 4 Beldum
- 3 Metang
- 4 Metagross GX
- 2 Dusk Mane Necrozma GX
- 1 Solgaleo Prism Star
- 1 Mew FCO
- 2 Tapu Lele GX
- 1 Alolan Vulpix
- 3 N
- 3 Cynthia
- 3 Guzma
- 3 Brigette
- 2 Professor Sycamore
- 4 Ultra Ball
- 4 Rare Candy
- 2 Heavy Ball
- 2 Choice Band
- 2 Max Potion
- 1 Rescue Stretcher
- 3 Field Blower
- 10 Metal Energy
Because Metagross is such a known deck, I am only going to write about the cards and counts that might be surprising.
1 SOLGALEO PRISM STAR
This card is honestly on the chopping block, but I have it in the current list for Glaceon GX and Garbodor. It also helps against these annoying Wobbufett decks that have been popping up recently. The energy acceleration under ability lock should prove game winning.
I recently cut a second Vulpix for a mew. It has a worse version of Vulpix’s attack, but it offers the deck a free retreater and a glass cannon, one prize attacker.
2 MAX POTION
This isn’t the same tank deck as Metagross or Metagross/Solgaleo. I may end up going back to three max potions to help against decks like Garchomp.
2 CHOICE BAND
With Dusk Mane Necrozma, you basically don’t need choice band, but sometimes it is nice to be able to attack with Solgaleo Prism Star or Metagross against a Pokemon with less than 200 HP. Obviously, there are a few decks where you need to hit the mid 200s with Dusk Mane Necrozma.
0 MR. MIME
I am probably going to end up putting in a Bench Barrier at some point. I just need to decide where I want it. The ability to stop 30 bench damage from Glaceon and Buzzwole seems really strong. If I find myself losing to those two decks and they are as prevalent as it currently seems they will be, I will definitely add one.
This week, I really just wanted to talk about Lapras GX, but since I added it into a Glaceon list in my last article, I thought I should give you at least something else (not to mention I wrote an article about Lapras in the Expanded Format months ago). However, with the new format quickly approaching, I wanted to show you my current list for what I am calling Clapras.
- 4 Lapras GX
- 1 Dawn Wing Necrozma GX
- 1 Glaceon EX
- 1 White Kyurem 21
- 1 Oranguru SUM
- 2 Tapu Lele GX
- 2 N
- 1 Cynthia
- 3 Guzma
- 4 Professor Sycamore
- 4 Professor Kukui
- 4 Ultra Ball
- 4 Aqua Patch
- 4 Max Elixir
- 4 Choice Band
- 2 Nest Ball
- 1 Super Rod
- 1 Switch
- 1 Field Blower
- 3 Float Stone
- 12 Water Energy
After looking at the list, you may be wondering why I call it Clapras. I chose the name because when your opponent thinks they have you in checkmate with something like a Dangerous Rogue GX, you can “clap back” out of nowhere with a combo like Professor Kukui, Nest Ball for Lapras GX, Max Elixir, Aqua Patch, attach for turn, Retreat, and Blizzard Burn for knockout. Having eight energy acceleration cards is ridiculous.
Oranguru is extremely good in the Deck. It allows you to move more quickly through your deck from turn 1. I considered Octillery, but the deck is all about outspeeding your opponent. The single card slot is also very appealing.
1 DAWN WINGS NECROZMA GX
There are games when I really don’t need this at all, but there are also games where I use it multiple times. The ability to reset Lapras’s Blizzard Burn is obviously very powerful, and Necrozma gives me the option without using a 30 HP Cowardice Wishiwashi. Some players have elected to use Manaphy, but I prefer Dawn wings since it is bulkier and makes it easy to reuse the same Lapras.
1 GLACEON EX
I actually haven’t had the chance to prove to myself that this is worth the spot. I have it in here for Gardevoir and Golisipod since neither deck has a good answer outside of Tapu Lele GX. However, if I want to answer a Lele, I will need to attack with Lapras which, if on the bench, could be brought up with Guzma. Against other decks, I have found Second Bite useful for finishing off a Pokemon after an Ice Beam GX.
4 LAPRAS GX
I was playing three, but I sometimes found myself not having enough benched Pokemon in the Early game, and prizing two could be devastating.
1 WHITE KYUREM
I am constantly considering changing this. I love the very similar Plasma Kyurem in Expanded, but the first attack is just so much better on that one (30 to active and 30 to a benched Pokemon). Some of the other options I am considering are: Tapu Koko, Shining Volcanion, Latios, or Palkia EX. I have recently even been considering a Fates Collide Mew.
2 NEST BALL
Because of the importance of Oranguru and Dawn Wings Necrozma, I decided to go with Nest Ball over Brooklet Hill. There are also a lot of decks playing Brooklet Hill which can benefit Clapras.
1 SUPER ROD
I play Super Rod over Rescue Stretcher so I can recycle energy. This not only allows me to aggressively sycamore early. It also helps me hit Max Elixirs.
Switch has proven useful in a number of scenarios. It allows you to reset despite ability lock or if you prize Necrozma. It basically allows you to retreat twice if you can’t utilize Invasion for whatever reason.
4 PROFESSOR SYCAMORE
This is the most aggressive draw card in the game. An aggressive deck will almost always play a high count of Sycamore. Discarding for Aqua Patch is another obvious plus.
You get ahead very often, so N usually isn’t the best for you. However, I decided to play two because, after testing one, I realized a second is necessary against some of the other aggressive decks.
I would like to fit more, but I really need the other supporters. I even cut my beloved Lillie which often saw me drawing eight on my first turn.
Guzma lets you reset Blizzard Burn without Dawn wings and brings up a desired target. I was playing four before Dawn Wings, but now I believe three is sufficient.
In a meta where 200-210 Pokemon are scarce, I would drop these in a heartbeat, but four has proven very effective in taking one hit knockouts against the likes of Zoroark GX and Lycanroc GX. It also allows White Kyurem, a one prize attacker with a metal weakeness, to one shot Tapu Bulu GX.
3 FLOAT STONE
While float stone is primarily for Dawn Wings Necrozma, I put one on an Oranguru, Lele, or Glaceon almost every game. Against Zoroark decks, I don’t always want to play my Dawn Wings Necrozma in the early to mid game. Two was enough in expanded, but only because I played Computer Search.
4 CHOICE BAND
160 isn’t enough damage. You have to be able to find and replace choice bands at will.
0 UNIT ENERGY
After finalizing the list (and even submitting this article), I realized I could use a single Unit Energy to activate the bonus bench damage for White Kyurem’s first attack. I am definitely considering cuts for this currently.
Clapras plays a lot like Buzzwole. It sacrifices the spread for Collect and a bit of power for more speed. Buzzwole will always do better against decks with more than 210 HP, but Lapras will almost always beat Buzzwole.
If you want to play something aggressive, fast, and consistent. I suggest giving Lapras a chance. It is not too difficult to pilot, but it is a lot of fun to put your opponent on their heels from turn 1.