Hello to all Some1sPC readers, this is Franco again! Now that Unbroken Bonds is released and we’re entering into the final quarter of the season, I’m sure many of you guys are looking forward to participating in many of the League Challenges, League Cups, and Regionals, such as Santa Clara and Madison. In this article, I would like to share with you an Ultra Necrozma-GX deck which I personally think is still viable for events like League Challenges and Cups as they are mostly best of 1 tournaments.

I would also like to cover another interesting deck which I think has potential and definitely has a lot of flexibility in its structure and variation, so I figured I would share this with you guys and go over the details. Anyway, let’s get going and begin with the Ultra Necrozma-GX list.


Ultra Necrozma-GX

Ultra Necrozma-GX is a deck that I have been piloting in standard format for almost every event since Team Up was released. Despite the fact the deck didn’t perform well during the Kyoto CL, it is still a popular deck in Japan. Myself and my friends from Japan used it during EUIC however we weren’t able to perform very well with it, mainly due to the fact that the deck wasn’t really suitable in a best of 3 format. One of the reasons is that the deck tends to run a thin line of supporters which means you can encounter a supporter draught or simply whiff some specific card you need to complete your setup in the early phase of the game, resulting in some losses. Another reason is that the deck relies heavily on its set up in order to start applying pressure on your opponent. The time it takes to set up gives your opponent an opportunity to disrupt you and take the win. When this happens, it is difficult to win two games back-to-back, which means there is a decent chance that you’ll end the match with a tier. This is why I think Ultra Necrozma-GX wasn’t really the right deck for a best of 3 tournament. However, the deck is still getting results at several local events in Japan at the moment. Here is the list that I am currently using:

 

4-4 Inkay & Malamar

The core of this deck, without Malamars you can’t generate your attackers consistently so no reason not to play 4-4 line, very standard.


2 Ultra Necrozma-GX

Ultra Necrozma-GX is pretty much the main attacker of this deck.  Its attack Photon Geyser allows you to pretty much one shot a lot of the GX Pokémon in the format and has perfect synergy with Malamar’s Psychic Recharge ability.  Furthermore, its GX attack Sky-Scorching Light GX is a very good finishing move against many decks that play small basics, such as pre-evolution stage 1s, Marshadow, Jirachi, etc.  Despite being the main attacker, you generally don’t want to start off with it and give 2 prizes to your opponent while you’re still setting up your board so 2 copies is a solid number. There are games where you don’t even need to use Ultra Necrozma so 2 copies is fine if you’re worried about it getting prized.


1 Tapu Lele-GX

Wonder Tag is a helpful ability for consistency.  Since the deck plays 3 Ultra Ball and 4 Mysterious Treasure, and considering you also have Jirachi to help you find those cards easier, Tapu Lele-GX is mainly in the deck for the purpose to get you out of dead draw situations.

Energy Drive is still a useful attack option thanks to Psychic Recharge, and Tapu Cure GX can be a nice tie breaking move on occasion also. Since it is a GX Pokémon that is fairly easy to knockout nowadays and you don’t want to start with it, 1 copy is good enough as you generally only play it when you desperately need a supporter card.

 


1 Marshadow-GX

I initially didn’t play Marshadow-GX in my Ultra Necrozma-GX list due to the fact that you don’t want to start with it in matchups like Zapdos/Jirachi. Also, most Zoroark-GX decks played Alolan Muk and I found out that Marshadow-GX became useless for the most part, so it was on really good against PikaZek.  

However, with the release of Unbroken Bonds, PikaZek has become significantly more consistent and faster. As a result, Marshadow-GX has become a more important card it lets you knockout PikaZek easier than if you were charging up Ultra Necrozma-GX, which takes a lot longer. When dealing with Zoroark-GX decks that play Alolan Muk, Ultra Necrozma-GX can take care of business.

 

2 Jirachi

Jirachi’s Stellar Wish is an important ability for the deck since it has a nature of dead drawing time to time. Even if you happen to have a hand with a supporter, being able to find the supporter for the following turn or finding cards like Mysterious Treasure and Nest Ball in the early game can be helpful to setup your board even more. I feel that sometimes you can get away with running only 1 Jirachi in the deck, but it is more consistent to play 2 just in case one gets prized.


1 Dedenne-GX

Dedenne-GX has a very similar role as Tapu Lele-GX. However, unlike Tapu Lele-GX which lets you search for a supporter card, Dedenne-GX pretty much acts as a supporter by discarding your entire hand to draw 6 new cards, which is a very strong ability because you are guaranteed 6 fresh cards. Then if you happen to draw a supporter from those new 6 cards you can still play it!

The discarding effect also has a nice synergy with the deck as it allows you to discard psychic energy whilst also helping you set up. Yet unlike Tapu Lele-GX, Dedenne-GX doesn’t have an attack that you can use with psychic energies so if you bench it, it usually means that it’ll just sit there for the remaining of the game as a liability; in addition to that since it only has 160 HP with a fighting weakness, it is  easier to KO than Tapu Lele-GX. Therefore, when you play the deck you generally must need to have a clear vision of how you’re planning on setting up the board and whether you want to play Tapu Lele-GX or Dedenne-GX since generally you can’t really afford to devote 2 of your bench slots to having both. I personally think that Dedenne-GX’s ability is really good and it works really well with Malamar decks, however due to reason I just explained, I also believe that running it isn’t totally necessary. Therefore, I personally think that playing Dedenne-GX is a matter of personal preference.  

 


2 Giratina


Giratina is your other main attacker in the deck.  It is also an important piece in the deck, pushing the prize trade in your favor from time to time thanks to its Distortion Door ability. It also comes in handy when KOing small things like Marshadow and Jirachi with Ultra Necrozma-GXs Sky-Scorching Light GX attack.  There are times where you barely ever use the 2nd Giratina in many games since Giratina can come back from the discard, yet it is a very crucial card in many matchups that you really can’t afford to prize it and not be able to use it when you need it the most; therefore the list runs 2 copies of it.


1 Gengar & Mimikyu-GX

GenMimi (Gengar & Mimikyu-GX) has been a strong addition to the deck ever since Team Up was released. I personally didn’t play this card during the Team Up format due to the fact that there was a lot of Zoroark-GX in the meta at that time, and It gets KOd by it very easily, giving your opponent 3 prizes. Even though you only play 1 copy of it in the deck, I personally didn’t like the feeling of opening with it against Zoroark-GX and dropping the game because of it. However, times have changed and the meta has changed with it – now we have more Tag Team GX Pokémon in the meta.

Despite the fact that Ultra Necrozma-GX is capable of OHKOing these Tag Team GX, it is still quite a push for Malamar to be able to charge up enough energy, but with GenMimi in the deck, it gives you the option to be able to pull off a surprise Poltergeist and potentially OHKO them to gain board control. Its GX attack Horror House GX is probably one of the best in the game since your opponent cannot play any cards from hand for a turn.  In conclusion I personally think GenMimi is an important inclusion for the deck now since it is one of the few attackers in the deck that has less than 2 energies for its attack cost and all its attacks are pretty strong. Yet, despite how strong the card is, GenMimi is still a tag team GX that gives out 3 prizes, therefore you prefer not to start with it and there are games where you might not even use it as well so 1 copy seems to be enough generally.


4 Lillie

Quite Standard, the list plays 4 Lillie to maximize its odds of getting it turn 1. There are times where Lillies can clog and the draws becomes quite mediocre but nonetheless it is a strong card for the deck to have since setting up your board is the number one priority. Therefore, running three copies isn’t a bad idea either but I would stick with 4 for now.


2 Erika’s Hospitality

I know many Malamar lists only play 1 Erika’s Hospitality, but as personal preference I think it is pretty strong in Malamar. My reason behind playing 2 copies of Erika’s Hospitality is that most decks in the current standard format tend to bench a decent amount of Pokémon fairly quickly, so from experience the least I generally draw from Erika is 3 cards; plus being able to draw 5-6 cards while keeping 4 cards in your hand is very strong in Malamar, especially in the mid game. The one downside I see of playing 2 Erika’s in the deck could be in a scenario where you open with only Erika as your supporter with no other way to draw. Yet still this is a specific scenario that occurs quite infrequently, therefore I think it is worth taking the minor risk in order to be able to have a solid draw mid-game on.


1 Cynthia

Cynthia is always a useful supporter when you want to refresh your hand because sometimes you do have a hand where some cards are unplayable at the moment or you want to hold on to them for later in the game but you also want to have a decent draw power to help find a specific card you need from your deck rather than playing a Lillie for 2 or 3, which isn’t so great in terms of odds generally.  

Most decks run 2 Cynthia for consistency and I personally think that’s fine, however as a personal preference I pretty much choose to play 2 Erika’s Hospitality instead.


1 Judge

Judge is the disruption card of the deck. Many Malamar decks paly Marshadow since Let Loose is a strong ability and I personally do agree that it is a better hand reset card, however it is still a liability card, taking up a bench space when you need to maximize on your bench slots most of the time. It also becomes an easy target in the mirror match so therefore I personally prefer to use Judge over Marshadow.



3 Guzma

3 Guzma is a standard number in the list. Sometimes I wish I had a 4th Guzma but it is only when you’re forced to discard copies in the early game that you wish you had more.  But in the end, you have attackers like Ultra Necrozma-GX so 3 is the right number in the deck since the list already tight.


1 Acerola

Acerola is mainly in the deck to pick up your GX Pokémon and deny the 2 prizes from your opponent.  Since it is a specific scenario card, 1 is enough for the deck to create that tie break since there are games where you don’t use it at all.

 

 

3 Ultra Ball

I personally decided to go with 3 Ultra Ball since you have plenty of ways to discard energy and often in the early phase of the game, you don’t want to discard resources just to find basic Pokémon like Inkay and Jirachi.  


4 Mysterious Treasure

The main searching card of the deck, simply no reason not to run 4.


4 Nest Ball

I personally think that having a heavy count of Nest Ball is important in this deck because you need to be able to bench as many Inkay to set up your board and you can even use those Nest Balls to search for cards like Giratina, Ultra Necrozma-GX, Marshadow-GX, Jirachi, and Gengar & Mimikyu-GX. Running 4 Nest Ball is another reason why I chose to play only 3 Ultra Ball.


3 Switch

Another important card that lets you switch out your Ultra Necrozma-GX after you used Photon Geyser to recharge it and use it again, or to simply get cards like Jirachi and Malamar out of active without having to burn your supporter slot on a Guzma.  I used to play 4 Switch in the deck, but since the meta has changed a little and the deck now requires more tech space for certain matchups, I felt like it was needed to cut down to 3 in order to be able to fit other cards for the deck.  


2 Escape Board

The Escape Boards are pretty self-explanatory where you want to use it to retreat Jirachi out of the active, or to have a free retreat Pokémon by attaching it to a 1 retreat Pokémon.  2 is a nice number for the deck to have.


1 Rescue Stretcher

It is the recovery card of the deck. 1 Seems to be fine from personal experience, but running 2 isn’t a bad idea either.


3 Viridian Forest

Viridian Forest is the stadium card that lets you discard cards and find you energies from your deck.  I personally like to play 3 in the deck in order to find it more often when you need it. Viridian Forest is useful for discarding your energies or finding the right energies when you need them consistently. The other reason I play 3 is so you can bump your opponent’s stadium consistently.


7 Psychic / 3 Metal Energy

From personal experience I felt like 7 psychic energy felt fine, and many Malamar lists outside of Japan generally likes to play Beast Energy prism star but I personally never felt the need since the card really only does adds 30 to Ultra Necrozma-GX’s attacks, so I felt like generally it wasn’t needed. Therefore I have stuck with just 3 basic metal energy in the deck since it is searchable with Viridian Forest. Since a lot of high HP tag team GX Pokémon are showing up, perhaps cutting a metal energy for a Beast Energy might not be a bad choice.


Cards that I considered:


1-2 Tapu Koko

Tapu Koko use to be in my list during the entire Team Up format however I decided to cut it in order to fit cards like Dedenne-GX and Gengar & Mimikyu-GX. In addition to that, with the release of decks like Weezing and with PikaZek having a strong presence, many decks have started to tech Mew, so that was another reason to exclude Tapu Koko from the deck for now.  

Its attack Flying Flip is actually very strong and has good synergy with the deck, as spreading 20 the board once or twice can change the math into your favor, putting your opponent’s Pokémon in knockout range for Giratina or Ultra Necrozma-GX. Even if they OHKO the Tapu Koko easily, if your opponent is using GX Pokémon then you should be able to shift the prize trade in your favor through the game.

Furthermore, by spreading 20 several times with Flying Flip you are also putting a lot of small basic or stage 1 Pokémon in range of Sky-Scorching Light GX KOs. Another thing to mention is that the free retreat is also a nice bonus.  Tapu Koko is definitely the 61st card in my opinion so definitely keep in mind and those who are interested feel free to include in the deck.  2 Tapu Koko helps a lot in the Zapdos matchup but aside from that, a single copy plus 1 Rescue Stretcher generally gets the job done.


1 Mew

This tech is mainly to improve your matchup VS spread decks like Weezing, Tapu Koko or to prevent PikaZek taking 2+ prizes from you. Mew is a very specific tech and it still consumes a bench slot, so if you think you’d like to have that extra insurance for those matchups I think Mew is a nice option.


1~2 Choice Band

The Choice Band was nice against Zoroark-GX to be able to OHKO them with Photon Geyser for only 2 psychic energy, however the deck required more consistency along with new techs so I have cut Choice Band for now. However, if you feel that the damage modification could help you significantly then it is a good card to consider for the deck.


Match Ups:


ReshiZard – Favorable

The matchup against ReshiZard is surprisingly favorable simply due to the fact that ReshiZard can pretty much knockout any Pokémon Malamar promotes, however ReshiZard is a Tag Team GX that gives 3 prizes and requires a lot of cards to setup, whereas Malamar just needs to use psychic recharge to power up attackers. 270 HP is quite a hard hurdle for Ultra Necrozma player to reach in one shot but you have different ways to deal with it, such as knocking it out in two shot, or simply placing 1 damage counter with Giratina’s Distortion Door ability then one shot it with Ultra Necrozma-GX’s Photon Geyser with 3 psychic energies which deals 260 damage total. Therefore, as long as you don’t dead draw off Marshadow or your setup doesn’t clog up, then the matchup is generally in favor for Ultra Necrozma.


PikaZek – Even

The primary reason why this matchup is considered even in my opinion is because the matchup generally comes down to the tempo. If the PikaZek player manages to Tag Bolt GX for the double knockout or be able to take a good lead with Zapdos, or even if the PikaZek player has Zeraora-GX ready on standby to counter one of your GX attackers, then most likely the PikaZek player can win since it will have the momentum. However, if the Ultra Necrozma-GX player has a well-timed counter with Marshadow-GX and PikaZek doesn’t have the immediate response then it can quickly turn the table in Ultra Necrozma-GX’s favor. Yet nonetheless the matchup is very close so it really comes down to list, playing skill, and drawing luck that swings various factors in the matchup in the end.


UB Zapdos – Slightly unfavorable

This matchup pretty much comes down to prize rush trade where the Malamar player needs to use Giratina to take prizes but the key to win the matchup is knowing to place the 40 damages from Shadow Impact properly to force your opponent to burn their Electropower and Guzmas so they’ll hit a turn that they can’t take a prize to flip the table since Zapdos is a much faster deck than Malamar.  Towards the end game the Malamar player is also required to have an immediate answer to their Tapu Koko-GX as well.

Having Tapu Koko could be helpful against Zapdos since they generally expect you to knockout their active Pokémon to promote Jirachi but if you just Flying Flip while Zapdos is active then they are forced to retreat and switch back in order to damage Tapu Koko. The 20 spread will slowly setup for Ultra Necrozma-GX to take multiple prizes at the same time so that is one of the main reason and moment where Tapu Koko can shine. Overall I would say that the matchup is slightly in favor for the Zapdos player but it is very close.


Weezing/Tapu Koko – Unfavorable

Spread is generally very bad for Malamar decks since losing multiple Malamar requires some time to get set back up.


Quad Blacephalon – Slightly Favored

The matchup is fairly even if both have their ideal start and generally comes to a prize trade of 1 for 1 with Blacephalon and Giratina, however Blacephalon requires to burn energies from hand in order to do its damage so if you Judge them at the right time and if it sticks, then you can most likely break away to take the prize trade in your favor.


Since the meta is still in an early phase, currently there are many other decks out there like Stall, Zoroark-GX and other decks that have different structures so I can’t put every matchups in this article but those decks that I mentioned above are pretty much what came into my mind and what I’ve been seeing recently.

 

Salazzle Unown HAND

I personally think that Salazzle Unown HAND is an interesting archetype in the current meta and definitely has potential in the current format. The deck has a very explosive draw with Salazzle’s Roast Reveal ability – drawing 3 cards if you discard a fire energy from your hand, and with the inclusion of Fire Crystal, it becomes very easy to draw around 9 cards every turn for the most part. Resource Management Oranguru helps you get back those Fire Crystals you used or simply putting back many trainer cards in the deck to achieve the 35 cards in hand required to win with Unown.  

Due to its strong draw engine, I personally think that this list can adjust and shape itself as a deck in a many different forms.  Yet in the end since the deck plays Unown HAND as win condition, the deck also requires decent amount of practice to be able to pilot it at events because the deck relies heavily on playing order and sequence and the ability to be able to play the deck efficiently under the clock. Just like any other deck in the format, it has its weak points as well; for example, the deck struggles heavily against hand disruption cards like Persian and Slowking.  Yet I think the deck still has potential if the meta is right so figured I’d share the deck with you guys. So here’s one of the versions of the deck that I currently have:

 

4-4 Salandit & Salazzle

Salazzle is the heart of the deck, its ability Roast Reveal allows you to draw 3 cards if you discard a fire energy from your hand. Generally, in the match you want to setup 3 Salazzle to be drawing 9 cards every turn at least. Playing the 4th Salazzle is an option time to time but you really need to consider the bench space. As of the Salandit, it needs to be the Dragon Majesty Salandit because it has 60 HP which makes it a searchable target for Professor Elm’s Lecture, and its attack Call for Family also allows you to bench a basic Pokémon from your deck, so under desperate scenarios it can save you whether it is benching a another Salandit or an Alolan Vulpix, and etc.


2 Oranguru (Resource Management)

Oranguru is another important piece for the deck. Resource Management allows you to put trainer cards like Fire Crystal and Rescue Stretcher back into the deck so you can reuse them later in the game.  Another important role that Oranguru has is that as the game progresses, there will be occasions where you’re forced to burn multiple resource cards off your hand to maintain the control of the game.  As a result, there will be games where you have to Resource Management some cards back into your deck or else you won’t have 35 cards in your hand even if you draw your entire deck out.

Generally, when your opponent plays cards like Judge or Marshadow to shuffle back your hand, you can easily get out of it due to the strong draw engine that Salazzle has, however you’ll most likely end up burning some resources in order to negate their Let Loose or Judge, so it is important to have Oranguru ready when you think your opponent is about to play any of those cards. As of the count, the deck plays significant amount of Rescue Stretcher and Gladion that allows you to find the Oranguru when you need it, so I never really felt like you needed a 3rd copy for the deck since it is generally a mid-game card and you don’t really want to start with it.


1 Ditto Prism Star

Ditto is pretty much the 5th Salandit.  You rarely play the Ditto unless you’re in a spot where you have to play it because Ditto goes to the Lost Zone when KOd, which means 1 less card in play overall that can contribute to Unown HAND so it is best to not play the card unless you really have to.

 

4 Alolan Vulpix

Alolan Vulpix is an important card for the early game since Beacon is the only way you can directly search for Salazzles from the deck.  Also there are some turns where you can whiff the Elm or Fan Club on the first turn so being able to search for the basics to try setup is neat, and by doing Beacon even after your board is setup, you’re pretty much getting 2 Pokémon cards from your deck into your hand so you’re thinning your deck slightly better while you’re accumulating more cards in your hand as well.  Since the ideal early turn setup is to play Elm or Fan Club then Beacon for the Salazzle the deck plays 4 Alolan Vulpix to maximize the opening consistency.


1 Mew

Mew is pretty much your bench protection against cards like PikaZek, Tapu Koko and Weezing.  


1 Gengar & Mimikyu-GX

Gengar & Mimikyu-GX is pretty much in the deck for tricks.  Your ideal use of the card is to Horror House GX like the turn you think you’ll achieve the win condition then you can just return the card with Acerola.   The one downside of this card is basically opening with it; since if it gets knocked out, you’re giving your opponent 3 prizes thus most likely there’s a high chance you won’t be able to win before your opponent takes all the prizes so it comes down to how quickly you can get the Acerola or Rainbow Energy+Acerola to put it back into your hand.  Nonetheless it is a cute trick card that can seal the game sometimes so feel free to try this or cut it from the deck.


1 Unown (HAND)

You need this card to win the game.  Only 1 copy is enough because you have cards like Gladion or Rescue Stretcher to get it into your hand.


4 Professor Elm’s Lecture

You need 4 of them to be able to search out your Salandit consistently.


4 Pokémon Fan Club

Same reason as Elm’s Lecture, however this lets you search for basic Pokémon like Oranguru so it is handy, plus you’re still getting 2 basic Pokémon out of your deck so you’re slowly working on building up your hand whilst thinning your deck as well.

3 Gladion

Gladion is a good card since you’re trading 1 for 1 from your hand and you’re getting the prized card you need. It is a good consistency card for the deck so 3 feels like a good number since there are several times where you need to go grab some specific cards from your prizes in a single game.

1 Acerola

Acerola is mainly in the deck to pick up damaged Pokémon and put them into your hand to increase your hand size and also to put Unown HAND in the active position to win.


4 Fire Crystal

You need this card to get Unown HAND to work.  You play Fire Crystal once you have 3 fire energies in the discard pile, but it is ok to use it if you only have 2 in the discard in desperate scenarios.


2 Counter Catcher

It is used to drag out something with high retreat cost, to slow down your opponent while you’re trying to complete Unown HAND.  Personally bumping it up to 3 wouldn’t be a terrible idea, but 2 has worked fine so far.


2 Rescue Stretcher

Rescue Stretcher is an important card to get your Oranguru and Salazzle lines back into your deck.  It is also an important card to help increase your deck size to return some of the cards that were discarded back to your hand for the Unown win. Therefore 2 is a good number since it is a very important card for the deck.


2 Escape Board

The Escape Boards are there mainly to give Salazzle free retreat to promote it active when something gets knocked out.  It is also nice to make your Oranguru a 1 retreat as well. But most of your Pokémon in the deck have a low retreat cost anyway so no need to heavily rely on Escape Board, so 2 is a good number in the deck.


1 Energy Recycler

It is just another recovery card – put 5 energy back into your deck when you think your opponent is about to hand shuffle you and then you don’t need to burn too many Fire Crystal. It is a good alternative to just using Fire Crystal.


1 Heat Factory Prism Star

It is your 5th Salazzle pretty much.  Since it is a stadium card that is easy to remove, you generally only use it towards the end when you’re about to win or if you think you’re going to lose if you don’t play it that turn.


1 Stealthy Hood

Used for Unown to not get affected by Alolan Muk.


2 Power Plant

It is to slow down decks like Zoroark-GX and Zeraora-GX. It also allows you to discard your opponent’s stadium cards.

 


2 Rainbow Energy

The Rainbow Energy are there to provide the energy cost for your Gengar & Mimikyu-GX and also to allow you to Acerola Pokémon back into your hand also.  Despite that you play 3 Gladions in the deck, I personally wouldn’t want to have to Gladion just for Rainbow Energy for the turn since it can also interfere with the Acerola turn as well so under those reasons the deck plays 2 Rainbow Energy.


13 Fire Energy

From testing I personally felt like 13 was a fine number.


Cards I considered:


Alolan Muk

Despite the fact the deck can comeback from Judges and Marshadow once it sets up, if they pressure you quick with prizes while resetting your hand it can get very annoying and makes it a much closer game.  And one of the ways you can try to solve this issue is by playing Alolan Muk since the only basic Pokémon with ability in the deck is Unown and Mew. Yet playing Alolan Muk on the field also requires more cards to be played which was the main reason why I took it out of the deck but perhaps it may not be a bad choice after all.


Shedninja

Shedninja was also another card I consider in order to be able to attach it to Oranguru or Vulpix.  However sometimes it could become tricky to maintain two stage 1 evolutions.


Marshadow (Unbroken Bonds)

This card was there mainly to have better odds to break Wonder Labyrinth Prism Star since it’ll make the deck difficult to Beacon and Resource Management and forces us to play down more cards.  However due to the popularity of ReshiZard in the meta at the moment, I feel like there won’t be many decks running the stadium so that was the reason why Marshadow isn’t in the list.


Buzzwole

A nice tech that goes along with Rainbow Energy to Sledgehammer your opponent’s Pokémon like Zoroark-GX, Zeraora-GX, and Pikachu & Zekrom-GX.  It is an alternative way to try to gain control of the board. Yet there are times when you can whiff the Sledgehammer turn or your opponent can recover easily, so that is the reason why I removed it from the list.


Whitney

Whitney is one of the cards that was considered among many players when it comes down to Unown HAND.  And with Oranguru I personally also think that it can be good on paper, but based on how the deck is currently built I felt like there is no way to discard the Whitney efficiently or a dedicated slot in the list to make it consistent.  Whitney is strong once most of them are in the discard pile, but using them in the early phase is very weak/mediocre and usually the early phase of the game is the most important where you are trying to set your board up, so I felt like the deck simply couldn’t afford the space for it.


Articuno-GX

Articuno GX can be pretty nice against PikaZek or ReshiZard that have a lot of energies loaded. However, I think that it is a luxury card and that those decks still have a way to recover. It would also be another GX Pokémon in the deck, increasing your odds of starting with it, so for that reason Articuno GX was kept out of the deck.


Matchups:

Since the deck pretty much has its own independent strategy towards most of the matchups I’m just going to summarize it here.  At the start your goal as a deck is to set up 3 Salazzle. Once the board is set, then it becomes pretty straight forward, trying to draw as many card and also maintain the board control. Make sure to constantly count your cards in play such as your prizes, cards in discard, and how many cards are in play on the board to have a clear idea on how to quickly achieve the 35 cards in hand.  The game becomes tricky when your opponent tries to disrupt you with multiple well timed Judge or Marshadow, but as long as your board is setup, you have a decent chance to hit what you need but still managing your resources and sequence of playing the cards are often crucial, so make sure you practice with the deck to the point where you feel comfortable playing several games with it if you are considering this to take to an event.  

The deck also has a weakness of getting hand refreshed multiple times while getting prized rushed, and cards like Slowking and Persian, which can remove cards from your hand, can eliminate your win conditions. Know when to drop Mew, know when to Resource Management, know the right time to use Heat Factory Prism Star, and know when to use Gengar & Mimikyu-GX. These are the important factors that can swing the matchup so keep these in mind at all times.  

 


Conclusion

In conclusion I think Ultra Necrozma-GX is still a solid deck despite its set up problems. I think it is suitable in a format of best of 1 in general since it is a setup deck that requires some time to get going.  Salazzle Unown HAND is a new archetype that I think has a lot of potential due to its draw engine that gives you quite a bit of flexibility witch techs etc. It is a bit tricky deck to pilot since the deck requires decent amount of skill to manage your resources properly and knowing what to do at the proper time.  

I personally think these 2 decks have potential in the meta, but we shall see what happens in the near future.  

I hope this was an interesting article for you guys and hopefully it was fun to read as well.  As usual thank you very much for reading it this far and see you guys. Until next time.

Franco

-Twitter @FCTakahashiINFO