A new set being released right before Worlds has always been typical since 2016. This year is very different now that the rotation is enforced at the World Championships. It’s a new and exciting change to shake things up from the previous norms. We’d normally have a format to go off of, but using Worlds as the first tournament for rotation is wild. It’s funny to me cards such as Buzzwole GX and Zoroark GX got to play in one World Championship, but I’m glad Guzma and Let Loose Marshadow are finally gone.

I.Thoughts on the format so far
II.Blacephalon GX
III. Matchups
IV.Malamar
V.Matchups
VI.Conclusion

 

Thoughts on the format so far

My thought process for far this format has been, “Consistency.” There is more than enough draw and Pokemon support in this format. Between Cynthia, Lillie, Erika’s Hospitality , Acro and Pokegear. Decks will have enough draw consistency. Jirachi and Dedenne GX will be staples in most decks as Pokemon support goes. The glaring aspect to me is the lack of Pokemon search. I’m not sure if losing Nest and Ultra ball was a good thing for the format. I do not think it is fair that certain types like Psychic and Lightning get to use their own customized search cards in Mysterious Treasure and Electromagnetic Radar. GX Pokemon have a consistency advantage with Cherish Ball. I think certain decks will not be able to keep up since using cards like Pokemon Fan Club and Professor Elm’s are too hard and slow to use. 

I think a lot of the previous archetypes are still good. Pikarom will still be a tier 1 deck. Blacephalon GX did not lose much and has a lot of consistency cards to work with. Reshizard still has a lot of fire support to work with. 

In this article, I’m going to revisit decks that are not new in Blacephalon GX and Malamar. These decks are still strong since they have reliable consistency and did not get hit by the rotation like other decks.

Blacephalon GX

This one of the first decks I started testing in the new format. I’d figure that it did not lose too much and would be good since it’s very powerful. I have been liking this deck a lot just because of it’s consistency. This deck fares very well vs Tag Team oriented decks. 

 

Card Explanation

 

4 Blacephalon GX

The main attacker. This deck wants to start this most of time which makes the Max count perfect.

2 Dedenne GX

This card is going to replace Tapu Lele GX and Marshadow Let loose as the main Pokemon based support. This card is very strong here since you discard fire energies and can dig for Beast Rings. I like having two copies so I can use the other one to recover from a Reset Stamp late game.

3/1 Poipole FLI/UNM/3 Naganadel LOT

I like max count of Poipole to see enough of them early as well as giving the deck the option to get out three Nagandels more often. I have one of the new Poipole since it’s attack could be decent to close out a game. Beast Energy can fulfill the Psychic energy requirement. I still use the FLI Poipoles since Poisoning could be useful to soften up some high HP GX Pokemon. 

3 Nagandel has been fine since that is all you need most of the time. If you don’t prize one, you will try to get three out each game to get out as many energy as you can. I do not really play this deck that often, but Turning Point is also a pretty good attack. 

 

1 Mew Unbroken Bonds

This card is necessary since Pikarom is still one of the top decks in the format. It’s also good against Darkrai/Umbreon GX because that Pokemon can KO two Blacephalon GX at the same time. This deck runs Mysterious Treasure which means this is not hard to get out, unlike other decks that do not run Treasure.

 

3 Cynthia/3 Lillie/2 Erika’s Hospitality

I am still tinkering with the Supporter lineup. I may cut a Lillie for the fourth Cynthia since the there is no Lele for Turn One Lillie. Lillie is also not as good as before since there is no Ultra Ball to thin down the hand.

Erika’s has been pretty good in this deck since you try to hold on onto your Beast Rings and Custom Catchers for whenever you need them, while still being able to draw more cards.

3 Welder

The high count has been great in this deck to put on the pressure vs those Tag Team decks. I’ve won games where I did not use beast ring since I had Welder as a fall back. WIth Giant Hearth in the deck, this card is a lot better as well.

4 Mysterious Treasure/3 Cherish Ball

Mysterious Treasure is still good in this deck since it allows you to thin your deck, hand and discard fire energies. 

I had two Cherish ball in here at first. Three has been better to find you more outs to Dedenne GX. High counts of these cards have been great because more consistency is generally never bad.

 

2 Ultra Space/1 Heat Factory/ 1 Giant Hearth

 

Ultra Space and Heat Factory are given in this deck since they have natural synergy. Giant Hearth is in here to cycle through Fire energies and use Welder more optimally.

There is a different route you can take with deck as well. You can run the new Naganadel GX for draw power but I do not think you run enough extra Ultra Beasts to constantly use it.

This can be built with a 1-1 Persian GX, 1-1 Ninetales TEU, Ditto Prism Star and 4 Pokemon Communication. You would probably just cut the Custom Catchers and thin some of the other search cards if you want to go in that direction. I’m going to test that variant of deck when I get to test more.

 

4 Custom Catchers

A gust effect is still very strong as always. I like this card over Ninetales since I do not have to set it up. There’s a ton of draw in this deck. Heat Factory and Erika’s also supplement your draw and help you find two of these when you want to gust. My favorite play with this card is when I Custom Catcher a Dedenne GX and using Turning Point to knock it out.

Reset Stamp

I honestly do not like the one copy in this deck since it can be hard to search out. But the effect to strong to not play. I usually try to save it for late game. I want to run a 2nd copy so I can see it more often in the late game.

 

Possible Inclusions

Some cards I think maybe a cuttable are single copies of Lillie, Beast and maybe an Ultra Space, for some of the following:

Lysandre Labs

I like the utility if this card to counter Spell Tags, Shedinja and even Gardevoir/Sylveon GX that run Fairy Charm UB.

Turtonator DRM

This is a counter to Keldeo GX and Altaria GX. With Welder, this card is not too hard to power up. I also like that you can search this card with Mysterious Treasure since it is a Dragon type Pokemon.

The Tapu Fini Factor

This card is good counter to this deck. The unfortunate part is that is this card is hard to search and is not as strong without Rescue Stretcher. I question if players will even include it into their deck. I still do not think the card outright wins you the matchup, though. I would believe it if we still had Rescue Stretcher and Nest Ball/Ultra Ball. If your deck still has a Tag Team and or Dedenne GX out, one Tapu Fini won’t save the matchup.

 

III. Matchups

 

Darkbox

I found this matchup to be pretty easy since their deck can be slow. Their deck also uses Tag Teams and you just out trade them. They do have ways to skip your Beast Ring turns with Darkrai and Umbreon GX and Tyranitar and Mega Sableye GX. If you preemptively Welder, they do not really stand a chance. If you are able to use multiple Beast Rings, you will just blow them out.

Pikarom

Mew is good in this matchup because you can block the bench damage from their Tag Bolt. Welder is very good because you can pressure their Pikaroms. Pikarom only has 240 HP compared to the other tags teams that have more than 250 HP, making it a lot easier to knockout.  I think the big hurdle in this matchup is late game. A good play from the Pikarom player is when they use reset stamp and Raichu/Alolan Raichu’s GX attack to switch back to the bench forcing up a one prizer. It can be very hard to respond to that since their prize liability is on the bench. 

Malamar

Spell Tags are quite annoying in this matchup. They can basically allow Giratina trade for Blacephalon KOs between Distortion Door, Spell Tag and Shadow Impact. The Malamar decks that use Giratina and Garchomp GX are easier to beat since there’s more prizes on the board. 

Malamar decks tend start slow a decent amount of the time, which means you can often get a 1 or 2 prize lead. The main aspect in this matchup is using Turning Point. If you can Turning Point their Dedenne GX, the prize trade swings back in your favor. If you can save Beast Energy, Turning Point with it can one shot an Ultra Necrozma GX.

Reshizard

This probably the easiest matchup for this deck. Reshizard decks look more healing focused right now and those do not really matter against this deck. They do not have a way to Skip Beast Ring turns. Let Loose is out the format and it is harder to disrupt your Beast Rings. This matchup shouldn’t be too hard, using Mind Blown to Lost Zone 6 energies twice. They will play Giant Hearth for which means you can cycle energy and use Welder to it’s maximum potential.

Malamar

 

This was probably most players’ first deck to build in the new format. I’ve tried multiple variant of this deck from Giratina/Garchomp Tag Team GX and Aerodactyl GX to a mix with Ultra Necrozma GX. This deck probably consistently be good until rotates. Ever since the archetype came out, it has always performed well. It’s just often got overshadowed by Zoroark and Pikarom decks.

Card Explanations

 

4/4 Malamar 1 Ditto Prism Star

I consider this count like a 5/4 line. Since there is no Rescue Stretcher, the Ditto acting as a 5th Inkay is pretty nice.

4 Jirachi

This is the deck’s best starter by far. Four copies is great to maximize starting with it and having more outs to use Pokemon Communication

1 Mew UNB

Tag Bolt GX can wreck this deck. Having the Mew out to force the Pikarom player to take a single prize every turn is well worth it.

1 Ultra Necrozma/1 Metal Energy

It’s weird to view this card as a tech now since these were in higher counts previous format. I think this deck is better off by being a Giratina-focused deck. Sky Scorching Light is still a very good GX attack that makes mirrors and other single prize matchups favored. Photon Gryser is still very strong to close out games.

1 Espurr UNB

This card has been solid in my testing. I treat it like a Guzma since Pokemon like to retreat when they hit a by Shadow Impact. This card helps clean up those knockouts. Another thing you can do is use the 40 damage you do to yourself from Shadow Impact to make it’s attack stronger.

4 Lillie/3 Cynthia/2 Erika’s hospitality

Nine draw supporters has been excellent and they easily chainable via Stellar Wish. This deck maximizes Erika’s and Lillie counts because of the many discard options it has.

4 Mysterious Treasure/4 Pokemon Communication

Treasure is a no brainer here. Four Pokemon Communication is the best replacement in here for Nest Ball and Ultra Ball. Unlike other decks awkwardly fitting in Pokemon Communication, this deck runs 18 Pokemon and uses them efficiently.

3 Spell Tag 

I found it very rare to for the opponent to hit into Spell Tag four times. I found three to just to be fine. Spell Tag is a much better card now that Guzma and Field Blower are gone. A Giratina with Spell Tag is very annoying for a lot of decks to deal with.

1  Escape Board/1 Adventure Bag

This cards are interchangeable. I found that my Jirachi with Escape Board rarely gets the tool knocked off because of the lack of Field Blower and Guzma in this format. The Adventure Bag functions as a second out while also grabbing a Spell Tag. You never really use the second Escape Board since the first one never gets removed. However, I want to test to verify and be more confident with this count.

3 Switch

This deck needs mobility since a lot of the Pokemon in here have high retreat costs. More switches makes Jirachi better and also increases the chance to attack turn two with this deck.

3 Viridian Forest

I would want to run four of these here. Space is tight and three has been working. Three is good since you can replace other annoying stadiums such the Prism Stars and Lysandre Labs. Just try to not be reckless with them and conserve so you have answers to those stadiums.

2 Acro Bike

This seems wonky, but I do like this card in here since it can helps discard Psychic energy and Giratina. This card also increases the odds of attacking turn two. 

7/1 Energy

This count has been fine since you always have 2 or 3 Psychic energies from the Malamars. I had 6 here at first then bumped it to 7 to see more of them early.

 

Possible Inclusions

2nd Ultra Necrozma GX/ 2nd metal Energy

This can be added if you feel like the 1-1 count is pretty low.

Sigilyph GX

This is a solid PIkarom counter since Knockouts a Zeraora, Raichu GX or Pikarom GX if they knockout Sigilyph GX. Intercept GX is decent as well since it one shots Tag Teams if they have too many energies on them.

Mimikyu SM95

I thought this card rotated since it was originally printed in Guardians arising but apparently there is a promo for it just after the cutoff. This card is situational and i’m not sure if it’s better to use it over Giratina all the time. You cannot copy GX Attacks which limits it greatly. It’s only good against the Green’s Reshizard deck when they use Flare Strike.

Espeon and Deoxys GX

This card can replace the Ultra Necrozma since there GXs attack are similar.  Psychic Club is decent attack that can one shot non Tag Teams. Cross Division can be more versatile than Sky Scorching Light at times, since you get to place the damage counters however you want. The negatives for this card is that it is a Tag Team and the GX attack takes two turns to power up if you want to use it for its max potential.

Gengar and Mimikyu GX

The GX attack can help you set up and while also build up your opponent’s hand for Poltergeist. Poltergeist is a good surprise attack to KO Tag Teams when the opponent is not prepared for it.

Reset Stamp

I want to fit this card here because the effect is too strong. With the amount of draw and Jirachi in here, it shouldn’t be too hard to find if you get to save it for the late game.

Matchups

 

Pikarom

This matchup is close since Pikarom can blow this deck out if it gets a slow start. What you want to do is just spam Giratina and out trade their GX and Tag Team Pokemon. Some obstacles in this matchup are Lysandre Labs since it can shut off Spell Tag and Escape Board. You want to save your Viridans so their Thunder Mountain and Lysandre Labs do not stick. Mew is good in this matchup to try to slow down a Tag Bolt GX. A good PIkarom player can see this through and knockout Mew since there’s no easy way to recover it, though.

Mirror

Sky Scorching Light GX is what wins the mirror match. The opponent will usually have a board of 2-3 Malamar and a Jirachi. You usually set those up to be Knocked Out with Spell Tags and Distortion Door. I played stalemates where no was budging to take the next prize card since they knew Sky Scorching Light was coming. You can either keep passing and have more cards than them and save Cynthia so you don’t deck out. You can try to place damage counters so a Pokemon on their side has 10 HP left. If you have two benches spaces, you can also Distortion Door to take a ko and activate Sky Scorching Light on your turn.

 

Dark Box

This matchup can be hard because of the Psychic Resistance most of the Pokemon in the deck have. The biggest hurdle is the Darkrai Prism Star because it is very hard to knock out. Like other matchups, spamming Giratina the best way to go early. Then later, you want to set up a big Photon Geyser to finish off their last Tag Team. Be careful, though. Going through your deck too quickly can lead to Mega Sableye and Tyranitar’s GX attack decking you out if they get enough energy in play.

Blacephalon GX

As long as you do not fall behind too much early, Giratina and Spell Tags out trade them. Spell Tag and Distortion Door help the math to KO the Blacephalon GXes. There are ways to skip their Beast Ring turns with the manipulation of Spell Tag counters and Custom Catchers as well. If you hit a Blown for 130, you can Custom Catcher another one and hit it as well. Then you pop Spell Tag, use Distortion Door and knock out two Blacephalon GXes in the same turn.

Conclusion

There is still a lot in this format that has yet to be discovered. Worlds and the Open are going to be the first tournaments this format is played in, which means lists will more refined after the tournament. I still want to try other decks like Alolan Exeggutor, Beheeyem Walls, and Shedinja.

I am very excited for Worlds since it is the event I look most forward the most every year. I’ve been testing a lot and sometimes I test too much and overthink. Anyone can test a bunch of games for hours, but it’s a matter of being smart with it. Recording games for data. I have made mistakes just by overtesting and not trying new things. As always, thanks for supporting at Some1sPC. Good luck those all those competing for Worlds and the Open.

 

-Kian