Hello everyone! I hope you’re all well! The new Team Up set has arrived, Oceania International Championship (OCIC) has passed and lots of new deck ideas are brewing – some really good and others not so much. What matters and what we should really value are players attempts to make creative, strong and competitive decks. Japan has a different approach to most of the world – they test a lot of different decks and bring them to tournaments and I really like that.
That being said, today I bring you a very interesting deck that had some success in Japan –Lycanroc-GX (GRI and TEU), Alolan Persian and Doublade. Here in the West I saw players testing the idea, but I did not see much enthusiasm for it. I decided to test it myself and I really enjoyed it. I think the deck has synergy and power, but I did not think it had the strength to compete against the tier 1 decks. It was then that I saw a version of the deck with the new Doublade from Team Up. At first I couldn’t see the sense of adding Doublade, but after some tests I realized that this Pokémon is fantastic and increased the power of the deck even more. For only a Double Colorless Energy it is able to knock out Pokémon like Ultra Necrozma-GX and Zoroark-GX in just one attack.
Unfortunately, I could not go to OCIC, but if I were able to I would probably have used the deck that I bring to you in this article.
Alolan Meowth is the Pokémon we want to have active on turn 1 if we’re going second. Spoil the Fun is a strong attack and can make a big difference to the early game. Hitting 70 damage for zero energy cost is enough to knock out a lot of the popular basic Pokémon in the format like Zorua, Rockruff, Eevee etc. Another benefit of attacking without energy is you are able to attach an energy on Rockruff, setting up a potential turn 2 Lycanroc-GX.
Alolan Persian will do the same work as Alolan Meowth, but with more damage. It will need the help of Lycanroc-GX GRI or TEU depending on the situation. Alolan Persian is ideal for knocking out 60-70HP basic Pokémon, as well as Alolan Meowth on turn 1, but the difference is that it is able to knock out Malamar, Magcargo and Jirachi as well, which are vital Pokémon for the opponent. The ideal scenario is to attack on turn 2 with Alolan Persian, probably making use of Lycanroc-GX’s Bloody Thirsty Eyes ability to bring a low HP Pokémon to the active while being able to continue attaching energy elsewhere. Lycanroc-GX TEU has even more synergy with Alolan Persian by removing energy and ensuring that Persian can hit for 90 damage with no energies.
Both Alolan Meowth and Alolan Persian have synergy with Lycanroc-GX because of the cost of energizing them. The cost of attacking with Lycanroc-GX is a fighting energy and Double Colorless Energy, which means it takes two turns of energizing and we know that in the competitive format we do not have that time to start attacking. Alolan Meowth and Alolan Persian are important, because it allows us to power up the Lycanroc-GX while taking prizes.
The Rockruff FLI 75 is the ideal choice if the deck does not have to run Professor’s Elm Lecture, its 70HP turns out to be more important than Rockruff GRI’s Corner attack and only 60HP.
This is an old, well-known competitor, mostly partnering up with Zoroark-GX or Buzzwole-GX. Lycanroc-GX is a very strong Pokémon, but it depends on a strong partner to play. Zoroark-GX has synergy because it attacks with a Double Colorless Energy, Buzzwole GX attacks with only one fighting energy, but what if we find some Pokémon that attacks and manages to get knockouts for no energy? Could it be the perfect match? Probably yes, in my opinion Alolan Persian is the Pokémon that most matches Lycanroc-GX, since it makes the mission to attack with Lycanroc very easy. With decks like ZoroRoc and BuzzRoc, we have always had that difficulty of attacking with Lycanroc-GX, depending on cards like Multi Switch, Counter Gain, Energy Switch or even the rotated out Max Elixir to try to correct this slightly high cost of the Lycanroc GX. With Alolan Persian we do not need any of this and it does not feel difficult to attack.
Lycanroc-GX TEU has an interesting ability Twilight Eyes that synergizes well with Alolan Persian, but in practice, it is not an ability that you will use frequently, it is very situational to be honest. There will be cases where Twilight Eyes will be interesting, such as removing the metal energy from the Ultra Necrozma-GX, in addition, the opponent will have to make their moves knowing that at any time the Lycanroc-GX TEU might appear.
Diancie Prism Star is important to the deck for two main reasons: Lycanroc-GX GRI and Lycanroc-GX TEU are able to knock out basic 130HP Pokémon like Buzzwole FLI and Zapdos, which has 110HP but has resistance to fighting types. The other reason I like it a lot more, is that the Lycanroc GX TEU can knock out a Tapu Lele-GX with the help of Diancie and Choice Band, achieving 170 damage. Other than that, the Diancie Prism Star is not very important and I avoid benching it if I do not really need it. I’d like to use its attack more easily against decks that focus on the Spread strategy, with Tapu Koko as their main attacker. Diancie Prism Star attack knocks out Tapu Koko and heals 30 from the entire bench, which would be simply sensational, but it’s not easy to attach three energies from your hand, which makes this incredible attack practically unfeasible.
There is not much to say about the Ditto Prism Star, it’s a mandatory inclusion in Stage 1 decks and in this deck we use three evolutionary lines with two versions of Lycanroc-GX. Ditto Prism Star gains an interesting surprise factor with so many different evolutionary lines, causing the opponent to fear Ditto Prism Star more than usual, forcing them to want to spend a Guzma to knock it out.
The good part is that with so much evolution, we do not run the risk of Ditto Prism Star being in the field for long. We know that the HP low of 40 is enough for the Tapu Koko to knock out on two hits or even two Feather Arrow from Decidueye-GX.
In addition to that Honedge TEU, we have Psychic Honedge from LOT, which has only 50HP but has an ability that can be interesting. I preferred not to use the Psychic Honedge because I want to avoid putting many abilities on the board. Chimeco and Weavile are popular Pokémon in the format and both cause a lot of headache in this format stuffed with decks full of abilities.
This is the new “Tool Drop”, but the big difference is that it hit 30 times each Pokémon Tool on the field. This Doublade is very strong and we will hear a lot about it later in the article. If there is a tool on 6 Pokémon in the field then Doublade deals 180 damage. If Doublade has a Choice Band, 210 damage, which is enough to OHKO Zoroark-GX, Ultra Necrozma-GX and many Pokémon in the format. We now have the new Jirachi TEU and it is very dependent on the use of Escape Board if is to work consistently. Additionally, we have the good old Choice Band, which is part of practically every competitive deck. Other less popular tools like Counter Gain, Body Building Dumbbells, Spell Tag etc. do still see some use too. Usually the opponent will be careful when putting down tools on the field, but in general would say that the opponent will eventually
Be careful when knocking an opponent’s Pokémon that has a tool attached, as Doublade damage will be reduced. In some cases, I keep those Pokémon on the field, only for Doublade to continue to hit very high damage.
Every new collection that comes out Tapu Lele GX’s HP becomes a much easier number to hit. As I said before, Lycanroc-GX TEU manages to knock out a Tapu Lele GX in one attack with Choice Band + Diancie Prism Star. Other than that, we have several other examples, but the most notable is Pikachu & Zekrom-GX’s GX attack, which deals 200 on the active (goodbye Lycanroc-GX) and 170 on a benched Pokémon (goodbye Tapu Lele-GX). Additionally, we have the annoying Shrine of Punishment that will make the Tapu Lele-GX an even easier target.
Because of all this, I preferred to play a single copy of Tapu Lele-GX, just so I still have the option to get it if I have no other choice. It ends up being important to get a Guzma or Acerola at the right moments.
Lillie is the ideal Supporter for the first turn in this deck for a few reasons. We want to use the Alolan Meowth’s attack on turn one, so we need to draw as many cards as we can to find it and an Escape Board. In addition, I believe Professor’s Elm Lecture can only be consistent if you are willing to bench Tapu Lele-GX more often to grab it.
On the following turns Lillie can still be very useful, since in this list we play cards that can easily be played down, such as Pokémon Tools, Balls, and Pokémon that can be benched easily.
Cynthia is the most consistent draw supporter we have in the game. No matter the situation, it will never be a bad idea to shuffle your hand into the deck and draw 6 fresh new cards.
This is the new TEU Supporter and I can only say that I love it. It is not a good Supporter in the beginning of a game, but it will most likely have a satisfactory effect from the middle to late game. It is not very rare to use Erika’s Hospitality to draw 6 cards. The second copy of this Supporter would not be a bad idea, I’m just not sure what to take out yet.
Thanks to Lycanroc-GX it is possible to play with only 2 Guzma. Since we don’t play Magcargo, the deck is dependent on draw supporters, so we do not have much time to play Guzma or even Acerola. In a nutshell, we don’t rely much on Guzma and so don’t want to see it all the time in our hand.
Usually, a copy of Acerola is ideal, but it may end up needing a second copy in some games, such as against Spread. The problem of using two copies of Acerola is the same as mentioned above. The deck does not have a Pokémon which can draw cards or increase consistency, making the deck totally dependent on draw supporters, so we do not have “time” to use effect supporters like Guzma and Acerola.
I like to keep 4 copies of Ultra Ball to get the Tapu Lele-GX if I have a dead hand. I also like to discard the cards that I will not need anymore to be able to draw more cards off Lillie or at least make the deck thinner. With so many evolutions we will not always need them all, so it’s important to discard the evolutions that we will not use when we have the chance.
Nest Ball will bring our basic Pokémon onto the field as soon as possible. Our deck is focused on Stage 1s and we will not do anything while our Pokémon do not reach this stage, so it is essential to make a quick setup.
Another Team Up card to further improve a few deck’s consistency, especially with evolution decks. Although it is a very good card, it is not a card that you can put four copies in a deck without having a deck suited for it. Pokémon Communication is a card which requires a relatively easy condition but that can also fail easily. It is necessary to have a Pokémon in hand to play Pokémon Communication. Most of the time it will be possible to play it, especially in the beginning of the game, but throughout the match it is getting increasingly difficult to have a Pokémon in your hand to activate the effect. I believe that two copies is a good number and will work consistently.
Rescue Stretcher is an obligatory card to be honest, I would like to put a second copy, as we have many evolutions, but throughout my tests I was able to adapt with only one Rescue Stretcher and I do not currently miss the second copy.
Clearly, it is an exaggeration to play four copies of Choice Band, because the format is not even so focused on Pokémon GX at the moment. The reason for using four copies is to increase the damage of the Doublade and guarantee the Choice Band effect as soon as possible.
It’s also an exaggeration to play four copies of Escape Board to increase Doublade damage, but in that case it even makes a little more sense to use four Escape Board as we have increased the chance of attacking with Alolan Meowth on T1.
See Adventure Bag as an item that increases 90 damage to Doublade’s attack. Yes, it all adds up. If we use the Adventure Bag to search for a Choice Band and an Escape Board, we will have 60 more damage in addition to the Choice Band effect to increase the damage dealt to Pokémon GX / EX by 30.
Escape Rope will save you in times when the opponent uses that annoying Guzma to lock some of your Pokémon in the active position. Additionally, it provides interesting effects, forcing the opponent to bring an unwanted Pokémon to an active position.
In addition to searching for Rockruff and Diancie Prism Star, Brooklet Hill has the function of replacing strong stadiums such as Shrine of Punishment, Viridian Forest, Heat Factory, and Thunder Mountain.
4 Double Colorless Energy
It is the most important energy of the deck, as it is useful for Lycanroc-GX and Doublade.
4 Fighting Energy
Fighting energy is only for the Lycanroc-GX and all it needs is a fighting energy and a Double Colorless Energy in order to attack, so there is no reason to use too much energy. Four copies I felt was ideal.
I believe this deck has the power to play against everything, because it offers different features and has different strengths and weaknesses. It is a simple deck to use, but at the same time it is a deck full of small details that after learning makes the deck even stronger. Now in the beginning of format, we have many decks that can appear, but I decided to focus only on three decks, which are:
- Zoroark-GX / Lycanroc-GX / Weavile
- Pikachu & Zekrom-GX (or Lighting Box)
- Ultra Necrozma-GX / Malamar
Zoroark-GX / Lycanroc-GX / Weavile is an old archetype but never out of the top – it is a complete, fast, strong and consistent deck. Weavile especially is a super well positioned Pokémon in the current metagame. Pikachu & Zekrom-GX, which is a brand new deck with a new and different mechanic that may surprise a lot. Finally, we have Ultra Necrozma-GX / Malamar, which is also another old archetype, but now with Team Up it has left Tier 2 to enter Tier 1, fighting evenly against the best decks of the game.
Zoroark-GX / Lycanroc-GX / Weavile (60/40)
For me, this Lycanroc-GX / Alolan Persian / Doublade deck has a slight advantage in the match. Alolan Meowth on T1 has a great chance of knocking out a Zorua, Sneasel or Rockruff, then Alolan Persian is also able to get another knockout on these, while the Lycanroc-GX gets powered up on the bench. We know that Lycanroc-GX has always been a very difficult Pokémon for Zoroark-GX decks to deal with and once we have one energized and ready to attack, it becomes very difficult for the Zoroark-GX to get around. Doublade also goes very well in the match to get knockouts in just one attack, since the Zoroark-GX decks hardly use Field Blower.
The game could be even more favorable in theory, but in practice the Zoroark-GX is an extremely fast and consistent deck and the Lycanroc-GX / Alolan Persian deck only has reasonable speed and consistency. Your opponent will have games against this deck when they run very well and the match will be more difficult for us and they will have games where they run a little slower and the match will be easier.
Pikachu & Zekrom-GX aka PikaRom (70/30)
In this match, Lycanroc-GX does most of the hard work, but Alolan Meowth, Persian and Doublade also have their value and can help out a lot. Alolan Meowth with a Choice can hit 100 damage, while Alolan Persian can hit 120, and can knock out a Zeraora-GX on two hits without even needing to use Lycanroc-GX.
If all goes well, we’ll have a Lycanroc-GX on turn 2 ready to knock out a Zeraora-GX or a PikaRom-GX. Consistency issues may complicate starts, but otherwise LycanPersian has a very relevant and natural advantage.
It is possible that the PikaRom deck has an explosive start and even knocks out the Lycanroc-GX early, but by my tests it is rare that I have seen this happen.
Ultra Necrozma GX / Malamar (55/45)
In this game, Alolan Persian is very good and will knock out a very important Pokémon for the deck, which is Malamar. Other than that, we have Alolan Meowth who can knock out an Inkay or Chimeco on turn 1.
Not needing to use Lycanroc-GX as an attacker is always good, as we do not give the opponent the option of a Pokémon GX to KO. We know that the Ultra Necrozma-GX has an easy time knocking out anything, including Pokémon GX, and it just needs a metal energy, two psychic energy plus a Choice Band to knock out Lycanroc-GX. Therefore, we want to avoid using the Lycanroc-GX if possible. However, to be truly aggressive we will need Bloodthirsty Eyes to hunt down the Malamar with Alolan Persian. The benefit in this case definitely outweighs the risk.
I really like Doublade in this match up, because most Ultra Necrozma-GX decks make use of Escape Board. Many lists now use Jirachi, so the opponent doesn’t really have the option to not use Escape Board. Also, by using Jirachi you need to remove supporters or cards like Acro Bike, lowering the consistency of cards and increasing dependence on Jirachi’s ability to draw into what you need. Additionally, the deck uses Choice Band as well, as it greatly helps Ultra Necrozma-GX take easy KOs.
Ultimately, if we have our whole field with tools attached and Doublade has a Choice Band, then we can hit 210, enough to KO Ultra Necrozma-GX without even factoring in the number of opponent’s tools.
This is a deck that is off the radar and can play toe to toe against the main decks of the format. I like to use decks with this positioning because your opponents won’t expect them. I was tired of witnessing cases where my opponent was attaching tools without responsibility and then my Doublade was hitting for absurd damage, enough to KO a Pokémon Tag Team without much difficulty. In the beginning of my tests I was using the Magcargo / Oranguru SUM combo, but later I realized that I did not need this consistency, since the deck already has a simple mechanic and I actually only needed a draw supporter every turn. With the extra space on the bench I was able to use Lycanroc-GX’s ability and I was able to put in Doublade, which is very strong. Another option for the deck would be to use Weavile, so it would be necessary to switch the basic fighting energies to Unit Energy Dark / Fighting / Fairy. I still prefer Doublade, but nothing prevents the deck from using the two (Weavile and Doublade). Finally, I preferred to abdicate a little bit of consistency to get a 2-2 Doublade line and increase the number of tools in order to get a deck with more firepower and aggressiveness.
That’s all for today! I hope you enjoyed it and see you next time!