Welcome, readers to my first article! My name is Noah Sawyer, and I am excited to give you all an insight into my recent performance in Madison, Wisconsin. I played Ultra Necrozma and made nineteenth place with a record of 9-3-2. Overall, I think the deck has a fair chance in the current Meta and should definitely be considered in testing. I’ll start by discussing why I chose to play Ultra Necrozma, along with the list and the card choices I made going into the tournament. After that, the matchup spread and how to deal with certain decks. Lastly, cool techs I would possibly add to the list going forward toward NAIC.
Why Ultra Necrozma?
Going into Madison, I was very certain that I was going to play a Malamar deck after ReshiZard was both victorious and the runner-up in Santa Clara. Malamar decks have the ability to attach several Energy in one turn, similar to Welder attaching more than one Energy, making the deck able to attack over and over again just like ReshiZard. Adding on to this, there are several attackers that have the capability to one-shot a Tag Team with just a few Malamar Abilities. Having also played Malamar at past events, I was comfortable with the deck choice and stuck to playing Ultra Necrozma. Choosing Ultra Necrozma over the other variants was due to the amount of pressure it applies with its heavy-hitting attack and its GX attack, “Sky-Scorching Light GX,” which can close out games in a tight situation.
With that being said, here is the list:
Ultra Necrozma Malamar
Malamar is the main engine in the deck, so having a thick line helps make you able to get Malamar in play faster. This allows you to have several in play and helps you stream attacks that would normally take several Energy. Additionally, the four Inkay are important, as most players like to target them down early to prevent you from setting up.
Ultra Necrozma is one of the two main attackers in the deck. It hits big numbers, allowing you to one-shot all of the Tag Teams depending on the amount of Psychic Energy you have on it. With two in the deck, you don’t have to worry about prizing one.
Giratina is the secondary attacker in the deck. It has a great Ability that lets it come back from the Discard pile. This is very useful against a lot of decks, as you can keep applying pressure with the same Giratina and use your search cards for things like Malamar. It also places a damage counter on two of your opponent’s Pokémon when it comes back. Doing this gives you a way to set up math for “Sky-Scorching Light GX.” This math is important, as Ultra Necrozma does sixty to all of your opponent’s Pokémon in play when you and your opponent have six prize cards or less total. With “Sky-Scorching Light” and Giratina’s Ability, you can take out things like Jirachi and Marshadow.
Dedenne is a card that allows you to set up a lot faster than what Malamar decks could do before Unbroken Bonds. This card is mainly in the list to help get rid of hands you don’t need along with discarding Psychic Energy for Malamar.
The one Ditto can be used as a “fifth” Inkay, but it was included in the deck to help evolve into Drifblim. I expected to play at least one Weezing and knew Drifblim would help deal with it. Drifblim moves forty damage from each of your Pokémon to your opponent’s Active for two any Energy. With this, you move all the damage Weezing does to you, and you avoid activating Spell Tag, as you are moving damage and not attacking into the Weezing. This card was never used throughout the whole tournament more than being just a card to discard with Ultra Ball and Mysterious Treasure.
Mew is a very good card in several situations. It blocks damage from things like PikaRom, Magikarp & Wailord-GX, Volcanion Prism, and Tapu Koko. It also can be used to take out things early game. If you can get a Giratina from the Discard pile to use its Ability and place damage counters, you can use Mew’s attack to knockout Ditto on the first turn. For one any Energy, Mew places three damage counters in any way you like, and after the damage counter from Giratina and the three from Mew, you take out Ditto with its lowly 40-HP. Mew can also be used in other situations to spread one damage counter to different things like a Jirachi, Marshadow, or even things like Eevee & Snorlax-GX and Reshiram & Charizard-GX. Doing so makes you not have to worry about getting Giratina out early and helps you knock out things with less effort. Ultra Necrozma hits for 260 with three Psychic Energy and Giratina hits for 260 after attacking twice. That extra one damage from Mew can help you close out games faster.
The one Marshadow is essentially a second Dedenne, as it helps you reset your hands when you have a bad one, though Marshadow isn’t a GX making it less of a liability. It is also good against the Green’s version of ReshiZard and just ReshiZard in general. If they Green’s for a Welder, that could be a potential sign that you should use “Let Loose.” If your opponent has a twenty-card hand from using Heat Factory and Welders all game, rein it back in with a well-timed “Let Loose.” The card is just really good to delay your opponent and also help you get out of a bad hand. It can also be used against Blacephalon-GX before their Beast Ring turn to set them back and possibly make them whiff Beast Ring.
The one Jirachi was mainly used as a pivot. You bring it up after you get knocked out to help get even more set up. It is also really good to start with because if it doesn’t get knocked out, you get two “Stellar Wish” to help set up Malamar turn two.
Cynthia is one of the two main draw Supporters of the deck. It is very good when you have a hand that you don’t want, so you can shuffle and draw six fresh cards.
Lillie is the other draw Supporter. The card synergizes well with the deck as you often lower your hand size with Ultra Ball and Mysterious Treasure. This helps Lillie be useful as it draws you more cards, and makes it even better turn one.
Some Malamar decks play less than four Guzma, but I like four as it gives you more ways to win. It also counts as another Switch to get Jirachi out of the Active or bring up the Pokémon you want to attack with.
4 Ultra Ball
Ultra Ball is a must have four of in the deck. It targets all of your Pokémon and discards Energy for Malamar. With four in the deck, you get a better turn one set up, a way to find Pokémon when you need them, and a way to draw more cards off things like Lillie.
4 Mysterious Treasure
Since half of your Pokémon in the deck are Psychic or Dragon type, having four Mysterious Treasure also helps the consistency. This card also helps you get Malamar in play faster because without the card, only Ultra Ball would target Malamar and getting them out would be harder.
3 Acro Bike
Acro Bike speeds up the consistency of the deck. On top of that, there were several times in the tournament where I would discard a Psychic Energy with an Acro Bike.
Having three Switch in the deck helps you get Jirachi out of the Active more often, but the other main reason you play it is because Malamar attaches to the Bench and you need a way to repeatedly get your Pokémon out of the Active.
1 Nest Ball
The one Nest Ball is another consistent card for grabbing Inkay and Jirachi turn one of the game. It is also useful for grabbing Ultra Necrozma late game to close out a win.
1 Rescue Stretcher
Rescue Stretcher allows you to get Malamar out of the discard when they are targeted early game. It is also used to grab things like Jirachi and Ultra Necrozma if you had to discard them early. I would like two, but you only really need one as you can just chain Giratina. Also, if they Guzma a Malamar, you keep your Energy in play on your attacker, so you can manually attach to another Pokémon.
1 Escape Board
This card allows you to have a pivot. Having a pivot is very useful throughout the game to make sure you get the full value of Malamar, and it is also useful for retreating Jirachi after using “Stellar Wish.”
2 Viridian Forest
Viridian Forest makes finding the Metal Energy a whole lot easier. It also helps you discard Psychic Energy for Malamar, Giratina for its Ability, and that super-useful Drifblim.
7 Psychic Energy/ 3 Metal Energy/ 1 Beast Energy
You need seven Psychic Energy to have them more often when you use things like Ultra Ball, Mysterious Treasure, and Viridian Forest. It is also the main Energy you use to attack. The three Metal Energy are all for Ultra Necrozma and the count can be cut to two, but I just like three for the consistency or if you prize or discard one early. Lastly, the Beast Energy is helpful on Ultra Necrozma to one-shot Zoroark with two Energy instead of three, and Eevee & Snorlax-GX and Reshiram & Charizard-GX for three Energy instead of four.
Tapu Lele-GX can be better than things like Marshadow and Dedenne, as it guarantees a draw Supporter. It also has a strong attack and cute GX attack that can be used in certain situations.
Dewgong is something I have seen in some recent lists. It is a way to spread sixty to things such as Jirachi, Zoroark, ReshiZard, etc. Doing so makes taking them out them a lot easier, and sometimes can even take a sneaky knockout on things on the Bench.
Choice Band is a tool that essentially allows you to have another “Energy” on Ultra Necrozma; it makes you able to knockout things like Zoroark and ReshiZard with one less Energy. It also can be used on a Giratina to hit for 170 on a Tapu Lele-GX that you put damage on before attacking or a clean 160 knockout on a Dedenne.
Marshadow-GX would be mainly for the Zoroark-GX matchup. The matchup is very close, and if they don’t get Alolan Muk out you can use Marshadow-GX to copy things like Giratina and one-shot a Zoroark. It also can be cute in some situations to one-shot an Eevee & Snorlax-GX, or just act as a “third” Ultra Necrozma and Giratina.
Dawn Wings Necrozma-GX
Dawn Wings Necrozma-GX is a very good tech that I could see adding to the deck. Its GX attack is very useful against things like Blacephalon-GX, or if you are just too far behind in other matchups. It’s also a very good way to retreat due to its Ability to bring it to the Active from the Bench.
This matchup is pretty favorable for Ultra Necrozma in my opinion. After going 3-2-1 against it at Madison, I realized the matchup is not bad at all–the only times I lost to it were when I played less than two draw Supporters in the whole best of three set. The tie was more than likely going to end in a win, but we didn’t have enough time in game three to finish it. The matchup is very simple. You just set up Malamar and spam Giratina at them. Try and place damage on things like Growlithe, Arcanine, and the Tag Teams to help one or two-shot them easier. Also, attacking with Giratina forces them to use things like Reshiram & Charizard-GX and Eevee & Snorlax-GX making the prize trade a whole lot better in your favor. You can also close out the game with an Ultra Necrozma as it can kill the Jirachi and Marshadow on the Bench, or just take out the Tag Teams in general.
This matchup also seems to be favored for Ultra Necrozma; you just follow a similar strategy as you do in the ReshiZard matchup. The only difference is, you may need to use Ultra Necrozma more than once as they Zapdos to make the prize trade off. If they use Zapdos the whole early game then Bench a PikaRom, you need to be prepared to get Mew out and possibly target down the PikaRom to swing the prize trade back to your favor.
Unlike other matchups, this one isn’t very favored. Zoroark decks have several ways to beat you. They have Acerola to pick things up if you miss knockouts. They have Alolan Muk to prevent your Jirachi, Giratina, Marshadow, and Dedenne. Having one-shot capability with Persian’s two attacks is also a setback. The matchup is just really bad but you can beat it with some small luck, depending on how fast you can get up an Ultra Necrozma and if your opponent whiffs anything. If you were to play against it, the best way to win is to try and get as many Malamar out as quickly as possible and keep applying pressure with Ultra Necrozma.
After winning the event, I think this deck will definitely see more popularity within the community. The matchup is very strange but seems favorable. I actually played against Ian Robb and beat him Day one, but our match wasn’t really a match as we both drew poorly. From that, I got a feel somewhat for how the matchup should go. You need to use Giratina to take out things like Naganadel and Alolan Muk and keep doing this until you have four prizes. The turn you go down to four prizes, try and use Marshadow to prevent more than one Beast Ring. After the four prize turn, use an Ultra Necrozma to clean things up on the Blacephalon. You also may have the opportunity to use “Sky-Scorching Light” to knockout their Marshadow and Poipole.
Weezing: 55/45 (With Drifblim)
Even though I didn’t play against any Weezing in Madison, I did test against it a bit. You try and set up Drifblim as soon as possible and put a GX on your Bench to rack up more damage to move. They can one-shot Drifblim with Oranguru if you put three Energy on it, so avoid that if you can. They also can one-shot it with Tapu Koko’s second attack, so if you see them to start powering up Koko or Oranguru, try and find a Guzma and take it out with another attacker.
If the Zapdos player is smart, they won’t put down a lot of Jirachi for you to knockout with “Sky-Scorching Light.” The way to win is to just keep attacking with Giratina and place the four from its attack on the Benched Jirachi, Marshadow, or other Giratina. You don’t want to place it on the Malamar, as they will need an Electropower to knock it out otherwise. The reason you do this is so that it forces them to have Guzma or double Electropower to get around the Active Giratina. If they do Bench more than one Jirachi or a Marshadow, you can win the game with “Sky-Scorching Light.” Another way to win is if they start something that isn’t Jirachi you can use “Let Loose” turn one and hope they miss an attack. Doing this makes them have to have two switching cards and an Energy.
Stall is a matchup that depends on your opponent’s draws a lot of the time. That being said, there are two ways to beat it: one is to try and get as many Malamar out as possible and just hope to knockout two Lucario & Melmetal-GX with an Ultra Necrozma. The other is to “Let Loose” and attack with Giratina. Once you attack, place the forty on the Marshadow. The next turn, knockout your own Marshadow so when it’s your turn again, you can have another “Let Loose” through Rescue Stretcher.
Ultra Necrozma is a strong deck choice going into NAIC if you plan on avoiding things like Zoroark. It has a decently favorable matchup against ReshiZard, PikaRom, and Blacephalon, which I think will be the big three to beat. The deck sets up the majority of the time and when it does, it can be hard for your opponent to keep up with so many attackers being streamed.
Thanks for reading, and I wish you all luck in your future tournaments!