What’s up Some1sPC readers! NAIC is behind us and we’re moving full speed ahead towards Worlds.
Going into Worlds we are seeing a rotation and the release of a new set. In this article I’m going to go over what cards we lose and some cards we gain, along with a deck that I will be testing.
Important Cards That Are Lost to Rotation
Zoroark-GX is unfortunately one of the few cards that will see play in only 1 World Championships. While Zoroark-GX was around it was uncontested as the best deck in nearly every format, including at NAIC where we saw Stephane Ivanoff win with Zoroark-GX/ Naganadel-GX/ Dewgong or “Zoro Checkmate”.
Tapu Lele-GX has been a staple in nearly every deck since its release in Guardians Rising. Tapu Lele-GX was seen as a 4 of in Tord Reklev’s 2017 NAIC winning deck and was seen as a 4 of in Limitless TCGs deck for NAIC this year. This card added a level of consistency to decks that was unmatched.
Ultra Ball was released in the 2012 set, Dark Explorers, back when I was still a junior. Since then it has been a 4 of in almost every deck that wasn’t stall. Ultra Ball may well be the best card ever printed, simply because discarding cards often isn’t a drawback but instead helps progress your board.
Nest Ball was a great consistency card introduced in Sun and Moon Base Set and has seen play in pretty much every deck since. With Nest Ball gone, consistency engines in the format will have to change a lot.
The loss of Guzma is potentially the biggest loss of the entire rotation. Guzma was the only real “Gust of Wind” effect in the format besides Counter Catcher (which is also rotating) and Custom Catcher, which is a difficult card to use effectively, whereas Guzma can effectively be searched with Wonder Tag and gave you a free switch effect. Guzma was such a powerful card that people were even advocating for its ban. With no consistent switch affect the game will be very different.
Marshadow (Let Loose)
Finally, this card is gone. Marshadow has been plaguing the format since Ian Robb made Top 16 at EUIC with it in his Drampa-GX/Garbodor list. Let Loose was an extraordinarily ability that saw play in aggressive decks because it provided both extra draw power and disruption. It was also a win condition on turn 1 which quite simply shouldn’t exist.
Alolan Vulpix (Beacon)
Alolan Vulpix was a great utility card that really helped stage 2 decks set up, especially with the addition of Alolan Ninetales-GX. Vulpix saw play in decks like Metagross-GX and Gardevoir-GX to give them the consistency boost they needed to be tier 1 decks in their respective formats.
Field Blower was the last real way to remove tools from your opponent’s board. While there are still options such as Dangerous Drill and Faba, you don’t always want to use you supporter just to remove a tool and Dangerous Drill can only be played in dark decks.
Double Colorless Energy
The loss of Double Colorless Energy is pretty amazing considering how long the card has been around, and I’m sure it will be back at some point. For now it is out of the format, which means a lot of cards lose viability such as Melmetal & Lucario-GX and Weezing as both relied on being able to set up in a single attachment.
Along with Double Colorless Energy, we also lose Counter Energy. Counter Energy was the only other energy that provided more than one energy at once and could be attached to basics. With both of these gone cards like White Kyurem and Stakataka are near unusable because they can no longer be powered up in a single turn.
The last card I’m going to mention is Vileplume because it directly impacts stall. Vileplume has been used many times over the season in stall to handle different decks, such as PikaZek or ReshiZard. Plume would be very good going into next format and it’s honestly a good thing it’s gone because of how powerful it would be.
Now that we’ve covered what cards are being lost in rotation, let’s get into a deck I will be testing for worlds. In the next set Keldeo-GX will be released and that will be the focus of the deck. Keldeo-GX has the same ability we saw on Hoopa, where it prevents all damage and effects of attacks from GX or EX Pokémon on itself.
The idea for the deck is just to be able to stop your opponent from being able to damage your Pokémon so you can slowly take your prizes until you win the game. During next format the expected decks are Malamar, ReshiZard, Shedinja, PikaRom, Blacephalon-GX and Porygon Z/Naganadel-GX – all of which are good matchups for Keldeo-GX.
Here’s the list
Keldeo-GX is the main attacker in the deck. Its ability makes it a great wall in matchups such as PikaZek, ReshiZard and Malamar. Now, all of these decks do have single prize attackers that are capable of damaging Keldeo-GX, however this deck plays an incredible amount of healing to help deal with those in order to maintain a favorable prize trade.
This is specifically for the Blacephalon-GX match up. With Metal Frying Pan and resistance, Naganadel can only deal 30 damage to a Bronzong, so with Rainbow Energy you can Lusamine and use a Gardenia every other turn to heal all the damage the Naganadel did. Bronzong is also very good against some ReshiZard lists as many will be removing Eevee & Snorlax-GX from their deck so they won’t have anything capable of attacking you.
Xurkitree-GX is a tech for Naganadel-GX/Porygon Z as that deck only plays special energy. Xurkitree-GX is also just a good card to have when going into a blind meta as decks that run only special energy could come out of nowhere. Xurkitree-GX also has great attacks for a stall deck because Rumbling Wires discards cards from your opponent’s deck and Lightning GX can get rid of a crucial resource
1 Unown (HAND)
Unown (HAND) gives this deck a second win condition, since Lusamine and the heavy supporter count means pulling off the 35-card hand is relatively easy. Unown is also a great card because it beats decks like Shedinja if they don’t have any hand disruption. Unown also allows you to speed up the game if you can’t take your prizes and your opponent isn’t applying pressure.
1 Xerneas Prism
Xerneas Prism is in the deck to stop Koko Prism Star. Koko Prism Star is the easiest way for PikaZek to knock out multiple Keldeo-GX so you want to use Xerneas Prism to take the knockout quickly whilst only giving your opponent a single prize, which will put them on an odd number of prizes making it a 7-prize game.
Oranguru allows you to take a turn to recycle resources that you otherwise wouldn’t be able to get back, such as Great Potion and Rainbow Energy. Oranguru is also good because it can put cards back into your deck, so you can still use Unown even if you had to burn a lot of resources early.
3 Lt Surge
Lt Surge is a card that lets you play 2 additional supporters during your turn. For a deck like Keldeo-GX, Lt Surge is amazing as if your opponent is able to take an early prize or two you can start using it in combination with Lusamine as if it were a VS Seeker to get back Gardenia or Bill’s Analysis. Surge also allows you to do combos like double Gardenia or Bill’s Analysis to find Gardenia and play it in the same turn.
4 Steven’s Resolve
This deck chooses to use a Steven’s Resolve engine because you need to build a large hand, so you can properly heal and deal damage against whatever your opponent is doing. Steven’s Resolve also allows you to properly search for Pokémon that can’t be found with Cherish Ball since there aren’t any other useable ball cards in the format. The draw-back of ending your turn is not an issue either since you don’t need to attack every turn.
Lusamine allows you to infinitely get back your supporters and stadium cards. Lusamine in combination with Gardenia allows Keldeo-GX to out trade a lot of the single prize decks in the format along with allowing you to use Unown very easily. Lusamine also allows you to recycle Brock’s Grit and Tate and Liza, which makes sure you never deck out. Lusamine is also the reason a card like Hapu can be played in this deck because you can always get your resources back.
Hapu is a replacement for Pokégear. And while they don’t do the exact same thing, Hapu can get you a Pokémon or Cherish Ball along with a Steven’s Resolve to help progress your board on turn 1 and set up for future Steven’s Resolve. The discard effect of Hapu isn’t a huge deal because you can recycle every card in your deck using Oranguru an Lusamine.
3 Bill’s Analysis
Bill’s Analysis is just another consistency card for the deck. It is a good option because it can grab cards like Cherish Ball to prevent you from getting benched if you start with a bad Pokémon. Bill’s Analysis is also good in combination with Lt Surge and Lusamine because it can get cards from your deck without ending your turn.
1 Tate and Liza
Tate and Liza serves two purposes: it allows you to switch your active Pokémon (which is more valuable now that Guzma is gone) and it also makes it so you can never deck out when combined with Lusamine.
1 Brock’s Grit
Brock’s Grit can be recycled infinitely using Lusamine which mean your Pokémon and basic energy can always be recycled. You won’t use Brock’s Grit every game but sometimes you need an extra Oranguru or basic energy so it’s great to have the option.
4 Cherish Ball
Cherish Ball is a new card that allows you to search your deck for a GX Pokémon. Since Nest Ball is no longer in format Cherish Ball is the best option we have to prevent getting benched. Cherish Ball is a great card to have on turn one but after that it’s just another card for Unown.
4 Great Potion
Great Potion lets you heal 50 damage from a GX Pokémon, so in some matchups like Malamar or ReshiZard it allows you to withstand multiple attacks from none-GX Pokémon, so you can win the prize trade. Great Potion just allows you to survive until you’ve reached an unbeatable board state.
4 Mixed Herbs
Mixed Herbs is also in the deck so you can survive single prize attacks. Mixed Herbs is also cool because it allows you to heal special conditions caused by attacks like Tingly Return GX or Bursting Burn.
Gardenia is the core healing card of the deck as you can recycle it with easily with Lusamine. Gardenia allows you to lock Blacephalon-GX decks out of the game and stall your opponent long enough to take all 6 prizes with Keldeo-GX.
2 Metal Frying Pan
Metal Frying Pan is strictly for the Blacephalon-GX matchup as your opponent is never able to deal more than 30 damage to a Bronzong with Naganadel. All you need to do is chain Lusamine and Acerola until either you take 6 prizes, the Blacephalon player decks out or you win with Unown.
2 Lysandre Labs
Lysandre Labs is a tech for the Shedinja matchup. In combination with Lusamine you have infinite Lysandre Labs which completely negates the effect of Shedinja’s ability and allows you to easily take 6 prizes. Lysandre Labs is also good against decks that play Jirachi as it can make it more difficult for those decks to retreat into their attackers.
Faba is simply a good card with a lot of utility which is good for a deck like this where you want to get a lot of value from every card.
2 Blizzard Town
Blizzard Town is a tech for Malamar since the deck can recycle Giratina to constantly attack Keldeo-GX. Blizzard Town means that after one hit from a Keldeo-GX, Giratina is no longer able to attack. Obviously Giratina can damage itself to avoid this lock, but if you are one shotting Giratina because it damaged itself you are winning the prize trade anyway. Blizzard Town is also a good utility card as you can hit cards like Oranguru for 110, play down Blizzard Town and it will no longer be able to attack.
4 Rainbow Energy
1 Unit Energy WGR
Rainbow and Unit are both energy cards that count as water and grass, allowing you to play Gardenia on the Pokémon they are attached to. Rainbow also allows you to attack with any Pokémon in your deck, so it is easier to take prizes.
These energy are recyclable with Brock’s Grit, so you will never run out of energy to attack. You play the one copy of grass so you are always able to use Gardenia even if you can’t attach special energy.
Grimsley is a tech you would run for the Malamar matchup as it allows you to take prizes during your turn using the damage from Giratina’s Shadow Impact to KO your opponent’s bench Pokémon. This would easily swing the prize trade into Keldeo-GX’s favor.
Dewpider has an attack that says your opponent’s active Pokémon can’t retreat and it does 0 damage, so if you were to run Custom Catchers I’d recommend running a Dewpider as well. With Guzma rotated many decks will be very limited on switching options so if your opponent doesn’t run Switch and you use Dewpider to lock something in the active, you can lock them out of the game and use Unown hand to win.
Custom Catcher would give the deck a “Gust of Wind” effect, which is always good to have, however I opted not to play them strictly because of space. If you can find a way to add them then great as they are very good inclusions. As mentioned above, Custom Catcher allows you to lock things active and give you time to heal your Pokémon which can easily win you games.
Power Plant is a card that turns off Keldeo-GX, so it’s not always the best card to play, but in some matchups it can be very strong. If you were to play Power Plant I’d recommend running a Latios-GX as it stops your opponent from using GX attacks like Double Blaze GX, which can be very annoying for Keldeo-GX to deal with
Latios-GX is only good if you play Power Plant, but it has 2 good attacks, one of which can stop your opponent from using their GX attack. Latios-GX is also very good against ReshiZard because its attack makes it immune to Tag Team-GXs and can also OHKO Volcanion. If you can heal through a couple of attacks, then you’ll win the game.
Lucario & Melmetal-GX
Lucario & Melmetal-GX is very good in general because of its high HP and good GX attack. The card does become much worse since you can no longer play DCE, but overall it is still a decent inclusion and hard for many decks to deal with.
Both Red’s Challenge and Blue’s Challenge have merit in a deck like stall as they give you good access to your deck. Normally Steven’s Resolve is better than Blue’s Challenge, so I’d say it’s not needed but further testing will decide. Red’s Challenge is very good against any deck that runs Persian from Team Up as you can constantly discard your hand and get whatever you need until you’re able to KO it. If you were to add either of these cards you’d want to cut the Hapu rather than the Bill’s Analysis or Steven’s Resolve, as these are too good to cut.
Pokégear would also be a replacement for Hapu if you felt it wasn’t doing enough. Pokégear is nice because it lets you find a supporter and use it the same turn whereas with Hapu you’d have to wait for a turn.
The main reason Reset Stamp isn’t currently in the deck is because you can’t recycle it. 1 or 2 copies in the late game could easily give you enough pressure to lock your opponent. Reset Stamp is also very good in moments where your opponent is trying to build a hand of cards to play around your lock, so Reset Stamp would allow you to stop that. Reset Stamp also wins you the mirror because you can win the Unown hand race.
ReshiZard is an extremely favorable matchup because of the lack of Power Plant in recent lists. The only attacker they will have to hit Keldeo-GX is Volcanion, but this can be OHKOd in return and the small damage is easy to heal off. If they do run Power Plant, I suspect Eevee & Snorlax-GX will be cut, so you just need to set up Bronzong and then you lock your opponent. Overall this matchup is very list dependent – if your opponent runs Power Plant and Eevee & Snorlax-GX then you’re probably going to lose, but based on the meta this seems unlikely.
Malamar is a very good matchup because of Blizzard Town, which forces your opponent to KO their own Giratina so that they can attack, which will ultimately win you the prize trade. If your opponent isn’t careful Blizzard Town can also stall them for a turn which will easily let you swing the prize trade and get off an extra Gardenia. A tech option you can run for this matchup in Grimsley, which will allow you to move damage on your opponent’s board to take a knock out, ultimately giving you extra prizes which again will swing the prize trade in your favor.
The only way I can see you losing this matchup is if your opponent is able to knockout your Unown hand with Oranguru while you dead draw. Other than that, this deck has too many counters because of Lysandre Labs and Faba, so it is easy for you to take prizes and eventually take the game. Blizzard Town is also good in this matchup because you can hit an Oranguru for 110, which means that if your opponent wasn’t careful they won’t be able to attack and will ultimately deck out.
This matchup is by far the closest as they have multiple ways to damage Keldeo-GX. If your opponent uses Koko Prism Star, it’s a near auto win as their only remaining attacker will be Zapdos which doesn’t deal enough damage and gets OHKOs by Keldeo-GX. Xerneas Prism Star makes it very easy to OHKO Tapu Koko Prism, which will allow you to eventually knockout your opponent’s Zapdos and reach an unbeatable board state because they can’t damage your Keldeo-GX anymore. However, this matchup can still be a bit tricky because PikaRom can apply a ton of pressure very fast.
This matchup is super easy – you set up a Bronzong with a Metal Frying Pan and your opponent can’t win. The most they can do every turn is 30, so over 2 turns you just use Gardenia to heal all the damage. If your opponent plays tool removal you can always take a turn to Resource Management back the Metal Frying Pan because it doesn’t matter that your opponent takes a couple of prizes, as long as it is not 6.
This matchup is also super simple – you find your Xurkitree-GX and your opponent loses. They have no way to deal damage to Xurkitree-GX. There’s really nothing else to say about this matchup.
This matchup is also super free because they only run special energy, so you just use Xurkitree-GX and they lose the game. It is somewhat reasonable for Nidoqueen to play Power Plant, so most times in this matchup you’ll want to keep another Pokémon on the bench in case you get knocked out.
In conclusion the new meta looks very healthy and I seek to ruin that. The rotation removed a lot of cards that were very strong for a stall deck, but also removed many cards that were huge problems such as Let Loose Marshadow and Zoroark-GX. Keldeo-GX stall is positioned very well vs all the known decks and I would highly recommend testing it for Cups or Worlds.