What’s up, readers? Carl here, back again with another article for all of you wonderful supporters and followers of Some1sPC. This weekend brings with it the first Regional Championship of the new Unbroken Bonds format in Santa Clara, California. This tournament will set the stage for the metagame that carries us through until just before Worlds, and it represents the last quarter of the season in which most people will be playing as many events as possible in order to secure their invites. As such, there is a huge significance to this weekend’s Regional, and without a tournament before it to reference, it becomes extremely hard to decide which list to submit in hopes of earning Championship Points and the title of Regional Champion.
Unbroken Bonds has been in our hands for a few weeks now, and I am happy to report that I have had great fun playing around with most of the cards featured in the set. I am the first to admit that I truly disliked the Team Up format, as it seemed that there was too much power in the Lightning archetypes for most other decks to keep up. Zapdos and Pikachu & Zekrom Tag Team GX mirrors were getting very stale, and it seemed like a race to hitting a Marshadow / Full Blitz combo most games. This new set, however, brings with it so many ways to get out of wonky starts and even more ways to power up different types of attackers, and in this article, I’ll go over a rogue pick I would’ve chosen for this weekend if I was making the trip out west.
The deck I’d like to talk about for you all is Vikavolt. Anyone who follows me on social media knows how much I love Vikavolt–I’ve been hyping it since before release day. Vikavolt, while being a Stage 2 Pokémon, has the ability to hit 220 base damage and has access to the best damage buff in the game in Electropower. In addition to this, situationally it has no weakness and only gives up one prize. I quickly sought to develop a build of Vikavolt that could take on the meta I expected, and to my surprise, Vikavolt has been performing extremely well.
Vikavolt is truly viable because of the existence of one Pokémon–Charjabug. Unbroken Bonds gave us a new Charjabug featuring the “Battery” Ability, which allows you to attach it to Vikavolt as a double-Lightning Energy, which does NOT count as your attachment for turn. With an attack requirement of LLLC, Vikavolt does not attack cheaply, but with this list, you can go from an Energy-less Grubbin to a fully powered up Vikavolt in one turn thanks to Charjabug and a timely Rare Candy. Charjabug is truly an outrageous card that is so good for this archetype, and it allows Vikavolt to take a positive matchup against every GX-centric and Tag Team GX deck in the metagame right now.
Before going further, here is my list for Vikavolt. I will talk about matchups, potential inclusions and cuts, and other notes I’ve gathered about Vikavolt over the last few weeks of testing.
So, there she is. This is the crown jewel of my testing over the last few weeks, and I am happy to report that it is an extremely powerful deck. A 4-4-3 line of Vikavolt is adequate enough, and please note the 2-2 split of Grubbins; this is because we don’t want to get hit by a turn two Dewgong that hits the Energy necessary to board-wipe us. If you miss Mew or prize it, an early Dewgong from our opponent essentially shuts us out of the game. Four Charjabug is standard, and three Vikavolt is fine because we run plenty of ways to recover Evolution Pokémon that we will get to later on.
Moving onto support Pokémon, we have three Jirachi, one Tapu Koko Prism, one Mew, and one Dedenne-GX. Jirachi is essential for finding early Supporter cards and Rare Candies, and in the mid to late game, finding the Lure Balls and Rescue Stretchers necessary to finish the game with Vikavolt. Jirachi is a card that may not be as heavily prepared for with the release of Unbroken Bonds, with players using their tech spots to address the new power of Fire-based decks. On top of this, we have Tapu Koko Prism to power up a Vikavolt on the Bench (as its attack will only cost LLC with a Thunder Mountain in play, allowing us to save additional Charjabugs.) Dedenne-GX plays a huge role in this deck, leading to explosive turns and letting us dig for crucial combo pieces. With so much recovery in this deck, it really only hurts to discard Rare Candies, and as such, those types of plays should be avoided–opt for a Cynthia instead. Mew is here to help address the deck’s main weaknesses: Spread. While Weezing decks don’t necessarily represent bad matchups on their own, Dewgong and PikaRom can get problematic because they can wipe both of our Grubbins on turn two easily. The same can’t be said about Wailord unless it hits the absolute nuts, and in that case, we lose anyway. Mew is necessary heading into a big tournament due to the variance of possible matchups you could play.
Looking into the Trainer cards, we see a lot of the usual suspects for these heavy-hitting Lightning decks, namely in Volkner, Lillie and Cynthia. Volkner is so good at finding those hidden Rare Candies, and combined with Dedenne-GX can essentially lead to some huge turns if you search out an Ultra Ball. Lillie and Cynthia are our standard draw Supporters, which are necessary in a combo-based deck like this. Erika’s Hospitality seems good, and then it doesn’t; most of this deck’s bad matchups are against decks that fill their Bench, so Erika’s could be decent, however it is often dead against many archetypes that focus on one or two juiced up attackers and nothing more. I’d opt against it.
You’ll notice that this list features three Lure Ball and three Rescue Stretcher, which I believe is the perfect balance. Against Spread decks or PikaRom, you should never be without Mew thanks to this count of Rescue Stretchers. In addition to this, three Lure Balls will almost always lead to us recovering at least one Charjabug, and quite often, that is all we need to take a knockout. This amount of recovery options all but guarantees big plays when we can get a few Vikavolts up and running; once you are set up, chaining knockouts becomes quite easy.
I have opted for one copy of Counter Catcher over Guzma. I just don’t think Guzma is a great card in this deck, to be frank. I am almost always wanting to draw cards, and if I am in a position where I would love a Guzma, it’s very likely I am winning anyway. Using Volkner, Lillie or Cynthia is almost always the play I have in mind on my turn, because establishing multiple Vikavolts is just as good as a Guzma knockout in most scenarios. Kind of an odd quirk about the deck, but in playing it, I just don’t miss Guzma at all.
To round out the list we have the usual Trainer cards like Thunder Mountain Prism, Nest Ball, Ultra Ball, Rare Candy, Escape Board, Electropowers, Choice Bands, you know. The last inclusion new to the game is PokeéGear. PokéGear is an incredible consistency tool useful at almost all points in the game. PokéGear combined with Jirachi takes this deck’s consistency to a whole new level, and sometimes you even forget it is a Stage 2 deck. PokéGear is a great card and its inclusion helps smooth out the deck and help it get rolling from the beginning.
Tapu Koko-GX was a card I had in the list for quite a long time, as it really helps in some matchups where the opposing deck can swing with a big, hard to knockout Tag Team GX Pokemon like a Gardevoir & Sylveon GX or Magikarp & Wailord GX. While those Pokémon can be problematic, they really aren’t something that a Vikavolt can’t handle on its own; just be careful with your damage buff resources and they shouldn’t be too hard to knockout once they surface. It’s also a great alternative attacker when you just can’t quite hit what you need in the mid-game, but Benching a GX with an archetype like this is usually detrimental unless it’s for game. Seems like a win-more card presently.
Field Blower is an incredibly good card in this current format and it should be played in most decks. Field Blower would help Vikavolt because it provides a great out to setting back one-prize decks like Quagsire/Naganadel, Weezing, and other decks reliant on Spell Tag and Wishful Baton. Those represent this deck’s hardest matchups, and a timely Field Blower swings games a lot more than you would think. Blowing away two Spell Tags likely means that Weezing decks can’t keep up; Blowing away a Wishful Baton means wiping Nag/Quag of a ton of Energy in a single turn. This list definitely needs a Blower, and a cut will have to happen somewhere; it’s just a matter of where.
Vikavolt-GX is also able to be powered up with the “Battery” Ability, but I just happen to think Vikavolt-GX is a bad card. I don’t want to give up any GX prizes if I could help it, and while Vikavolt-GX is powerful, Vikavolt can just make the same trades a Vikavolt-GX could in most situations anyway. I think it’s a neat card, but I don’t want to play it in a Tag Team metagame where it may be incredibly easy to take out. I also, strangely enough, really enjoy having access to “Tingly Return GX” with Dedenne-GX, and can’t see many situations where I use the Vikavolt-GX attack since Vikavolt is so efficient at hitting huge numbers on its own anyways.
Outside of these cards, I really believe that this list is the most efficient and streamlined Vikavolt list currently out there. I’m excited to be able to share it with you, and do hope you’ll give it a try. For anyone traveling to Santa Clara, do give this deck a test before Saturday morning. You’ll find that it can go toe-to-toe with most decks, and it especially destroys GX-centric decks. Tough matchups would be any Control variant (which I do expect to pop up with the introduction of Lt. Surge’s Strategy and Chip Chip Ice Axe.) Outside of Faba and Girafarig, this deck truly doesn’t take many bad matchups. Don’t prize Rare Candy and reap the benefits!
As always, thanks for stopping by to read my article. It means a lot to me to be a member of the writing staff here at Some1sPC. Every like, share, and retweet my articles get makes me feel great, and I do hope you learn something from me in each one of these new editions. My Twitter is @peezyptcg and I can be reached there anytime for discussion about deck lists, strategy, or just if you’d like to say hello and talk about anything. My door is always open. Until next time, thank you for the support.
Carl “Peezy” Barone
@peezyptcg on Twitter