The Ultimate Guide to Playing Plasma in the New Format

The Introduction

ash ketchum cow
Hello from Wisconsin!

Hey there 6P Community! I’m Wrags23, a new Masters player (15 years old) from Wisconsin. I have been playing Pokémon TCG for a while, but I have only been playing competitively for about 5 months now.

This article will be about how to go about playing a Plasma deck in the upcoming format. Yes, I know that this deck has been discussed a lot, but with the new format and new cards to play around with, this deck is going to see some big changes, both in the way it is played and the way it is built.

Plasma is regarded by many as the current BDIF (best deck in format), and for good reason. The deck is fast, consistent, and very powerful. The deck has consistently performed well at tournaments since Plasma Freeze came out. Even with the release of anti-Plasma cards in the new Plasma Blast set (i.e. Silver Mirror), TDK won’t be going away any time soon. But what exactly makes this deck so good? Let’s take a look.

The Basics

Plasma decks have 3 Pokémon at their core: Thundurus EX, Kyurem PLF, and Deoxys EX. Why these cards, you might ask? Well, you usually want to start with Thundurus EX and start discarding Special Energy early. You then use Thundurus’ first attack, Raiden Knuckle, to start powering up your attackers. Raiden Knuckle does 30 damage for one Lightning Energy, and it also lets you put any Energy card from your discard pile onto one of your benched Team Plasma Pokémon.

Its second attack, Thunderous Noise, will almost never be used. With all of the other great attackers in the deck, you really won’t ever be needing it.

kyurem plasma freeze plf 31
Kyurem is one cool customer.

The main attacker in this deck is Kyurem PLF. Kyurem has two attacks, Frost Spear and Blizzard Burn. Frost Spear does 30 damage to the active and 30 to one of your opponent’s Benched Pokémon for one Water and one Colorless Energy. Blizzard Burn hits for 120 damage for 2 Water Energy and 1 Colorless, but you can’t use Blizzard Burn on your next turn.

At first look, the card looks like nothing more than your average non-EX, high HP Basic Pokémon. Its most powerful attack only has a base damage of 120, so it won’t even be enough to OHKO a Stage 2 Pokémon, let alone an EX. But, that IS just the base damage, which means that it CAN do more.

Because Kyurem PLF is a non-EX, it can benefit from the awesome tool from the Plasma Blast set, Silver Bangle. This allows the non-EX Pokémon it is attached to do 30 more damage to EXs. Now, this still leaves Blizzard Burn 30 damage short. This is where Deoxys EX comes in. Its Ability, Power Connect, lets your Team Plasma Pokémon’s attacks do 10 more damage. But the thing that makes Deoxys so lethal is that you can stack his Ability, which means that for each Deoxys in play, your attacks will do 10 more damage.

So, in order to get that magic 180 damage with Kyurem, all you need is a Silver Bangle and 3 Deoxys on your bench.

Deoxys, while not a main attacker in the deck, will have to be used to attack occasionally. Deoxys’ ability unfortunately does not affect its own attack, Helix Force, though, which is why you don’t exactly want to be stuck using it a lot. If Deoxys EX has a Plasma Energy attached to it, it does 30 damage plus 30 more damage for each energy attached to the Defending Pokémon.

While it is decent, any Plasma player would say that you would rather be using Kyurem or Thundurus EX to do the attacking, and that Deoxys is best when it stays on the bench.

The Staples

Like any other deck, TDK has plenty of options you can use, but there are certain cards that you need to include. I have already gone over the staple Pokémon, so now I will go over the staple Trainers and Energy.

Team Plasma Ball

team plasma ball plasma freeze plf 105
A solid search card.

You need some way to get Pokémon into play, and because all of your Pokémon are Team Plasma Pokémon (unless you run Keldeo EX, which I’ll discuss later) the best option is to use Team Plasma Ball. Some people like to run Ultra Ball, and they use it to discard Energy for Thundurus. It fits in well with the strategy of the deck, but for the purposes of getting Pokémon into play we will use Team Plasma Ball.

Colress Machine

To make this deck truly live up to its reputation as one of the fastest decks in format right now, you need a form of Energy acceleration other than Thundurus EX. Colress Machine does the trick nicely. It lets you search your deck for a Plasma Energy and attach it to one of your Plasma Pokémon. It is also an Item card, so you can use multiple Colress Machines in the same turn.

Silver Bangle

As I said before, with your main attacker being a non-EX, Silver Bangle is a must. I think I have discussed this enough before, so we will move on to the next card.

Plasma Energy

In a Plasma deck, wouldn’t it be obvious to use Plasma Energy? It works well with Colress Machine, and with Deoxys and Lugia’s (we’ll get to him later) attacks needing Plasma Energy, it is a must.

Prism Energy/Blend Energy WLMF

In a deck that uses so many different types of Energy, these Special Energies are a must. You need Water for Kyurem, Lightning for Thundurus, and Psychic for Deoxys (and Darkness if you chose to use Absol). This does make the deck extremely vulnerable to Enhanced Hammer, but I don’t think you’ll be seeing TOO much of that around in the coming format.

The Questions

During the deck building process, you always want to ask yourself questions about how your deck will perform. Questioning yourself in deckbuilding actually leads to better performance because you’ve thought about how your deck will respond to the different situations it might face. Here are some basic questions you should ask yourself when making a Plasma deck:

1. What other Pokémon should I use?

So every deck has the T, the D and the K, but who is next? This is one of the most debated topics by Plasma players when they compare their builds.

lugia ex plasma storm
MOAR PRIZES!

You can use Lugia EX, which gives you a powerful late game finish with its Ability, Overflow. Overflow makes it so that when a Pokémon is KO’d by Lugia’s attack, Plasma Gale, you may take one more Prize card. This means that if you KO an EX with Plasma Gale, you can take 3 Prizes, which can end a game very quickly.

The downside is that while it can utilize Deoxys’ Ability to add damage output, you can’t use Silver Bangle because Lugia is an EX.

You also have the option of using Absol PLF. Absol can utilize Silver Bangle and Deoxys. Its main attack, Mind Jack does 20 damage plus 20 more damage for each Pokémon on your opponents Bench for a Darkness Energy and a Colorless Energy. This means that if your opponents Bench is full and you have a Silver Bangle on Absol and 3 Deoxys on your Bench, you can hit for the magic 180 to OHKO EX’s. The downside is its low HP (100) and it does require another type of Energy to use.

Finally, you have Keldeo EX. As many of you know a Keldeo/Float Stone combo gives any of your Pokémon free retreat. In TDK’s case, this makes it so you can Blizzard Burn EVERY turn. How? If you switch Kyurem to the Bench and back out to your Active position, it resets Blizzard Burn for that turn. Keldeo will hopefully never be used to attack, so you don’t have to worry about it’s attack, Secret Sword.

Other options that I have seen people use are Tornadus EX PLF and Snorlax, but I covered the main 3 options. You basically have the choice of late game power (Lugia), speed (Absol), or constant pressure by Kyurem (Keldeo). There is no wrong answer, as they all have good and bad about them.

2. How will I switch Pokémon?

Before Plasma Freeze, this wouldn’t have even been an option because Switch was the only card in the format that could accomplish this task. Then we got a little tool called Float Stone. Float Stone gives the card it is attached to free retreat cost. The card has been getting a lot of play, especially with Keldeo EX, which I covered in the above section.

If you do chose to use Keldeo, Float Stone is a must in your deck. Otherwise, Switch is the most common choice in TDK decks. I have tested versions with both (3 Switch and 2 Float Stone) that have done well, but just like the above question, there is no wrong answer.

3. Which ACE SPEC should I use?
128-dowsing-machine
Maybe the most versatile ACE SPEC.

Because you are only allowed to have 1 ACE SPEC Trainer card in your deck, some people would say that it really doesn’t matter that much because there is only one of them, so it won’t be a consistent part of your strategy. Wrong. Your ACE SPEC is usually one of the best Trainer cards in your deck, and you must make it count. There are a few options that I will go over.

US Nationals proved that Life Dew can work to force your opponent to take a “7th Prize.” When the card that it is attached to is Knocked Out, your opponent takes one fewer Prize Card than normal.

Computer Search works in pretty much any deck because it allows you to search your deck for any card; you just have to discard 2 cards from your hand to use it. This is probably the most common choice for Plasma players because you are never sad to see it show up in your hand. It works in any situation, because there is always a card that you wish you had in your hand but you didn’t.

The last option I’ll be going over today is Dowsing Machine. It lets you take a Trainer card from your discard pile and put it into your hand. There are so many situations that this comes in handy. The similarity between these 3 cards is that they can all win or lose you a game, depending on how they’re used. So choose wisely, my friends!

The Lists

Now that we have discussed the deck and the strategy around it, I’ll go through some sample lists.

List 1: TDK with Lugia EX

Pokémon – 10

4 Deoxys EX

3 Kyurem PLF

2 Thundurus EX

1 Lugia EX

Trainers – 38

4 Professor Juniper

4 N

3 Skyla

2 Shadow Triad

1 Colress

 

4 Pokémon Catcher

3 Silver Bangle

3 Colress Machine

3 Switch

3 Team Plasma Ball

2 Ultra Ball

2 Tool Scrapper

1 Dowsing Machine

 

3 Frozen City

Energy – 12

4 Plasma

4 Prism

4 Blend WLFM

 

Card Explanations

2 Shadow Triad

This card is, in my opinion, underused in Plasma decks. It has the ability to get all your Pokémon, Team Plasma Balls, Colress Machines, Frozen City, and Plasma Energy out of your discard pile in this particular deck. For Lugia, you can easily get the Plasma Energy you discard with Plasma Gale back onto Lugia for the next turn.

2 Tool Scrapper

This card will be included in most of my lists, so instead of explaining it for each one, I will just do it now and save time and space. Tool Scrapper will be key in the upcoming format because of the arrival of Virizion/Genesect and Garbodor. Tool Scrapper has long been the key to shutting down Garbodor, and taking away G Booster from Genesect is a pretty big loss for that deck.

3 Frozen City

Puts 2 damage counters for each energy that is attached to any Team Plasma Pokémon. In the past, this card has been used to counter Blastoise, but in this case in can also benefit Lugia. If you have 4 Deoxys on the Bench, Lugia will still be 20 damage short of the OHKO on most EXs, so you need to have as much previous damage on the field as possible. This will be accomplished most of the time by Kyurem’s Frost Spear attack, which puts 30 damage on a Bench Pokémon of your choice, but it’s always nice to have another option.

List 2: Plasma with Absol PLF (Speed Plasma)

Pokémon – 11

4 Deoxys EX

3 Kyurem PLF

2 Thundurus EX

2 Absol PLF

Trainers – 36

4 Professor Juniper

4 N

3 Skyla

2 Colress

 

4 Pokémon Catcher

4 Silver Bangle

3 Team Plasma Ball

3 Switch

3 Colress Machine

2 Tool Scrapper

1 Life Dew

 

3 Frozen City

Energy – 13

4 Prism

4 Blend WLFM

3 Plasma

2 Darkness

Card Explanation

1 Life Dew

In this deck, I like Life Dew because it forces the opponent to really use a lot of resources to beat you. They will already be using a lot because of the amount of non-EX Pokémon in the deck, but this really caps it off.

List 3: Plasma with Keldeo EX

Pokémon – 12

4 Deoxys EX

4 Kyurem PLF

2 Thundurus EX

2 Keldeo EX

Trainers – 37

4 Professor Juniper

4 N

3 Skyla

2 Colress

1 Ghetsis

 

4 Pokémon Catcher

4 Silver Bangle

3 Team Plasma Ball

3 Float Stone

2 Tool Scrapper

2 Ultra Ball

2 Colress Machine

1 Computer Search

 

2 Frozen City

Energy – 11

4 Prism

4 Blend WLFM

2 Plasma

1 Water

Card Explanations

1 Ghetsis

I decided to use 1 Ghetsis in this deck because, when played at the right times, can really disrupt the opponent’s game plan. Ghetsis makes the opponent reveal their hand and return all Item cards found there into their hand. You then draw cards equal to the number of cards they returned.

1 Computer Search

I have tested all reasonable ACE SPEC Trainers in this particular build, and the best one is, in my mind, Computer Search. Unlike the other builds which have ACE SPEC cards that really fit in with their gameplan, this one has no such thing. But it isn’t like Computer Search isn’t good. This card helps set up your Kyurem/Keldeo plan to start OHKO-ing like crazy.

The Matchups

Mirror: Even

mirror match metapod samurai ash
The first mirror match.

With Plasma being the most popular deck in the format right now (and soon to be even more popular now that the fall tins are soon to be released) I figured I should start with the mirror matchup. Like almost any other mirror matchup, this is even, and it depends on two things: a) what kinds of techs each deck is running for this specific matchup and b) how quickly can you get set up and how lucky do you get.

Since you can’t really control how lucky you are, I will talk about the different techs you can run to have an edge in the mirror. First of all, Absol PLF is great in the mirror, as Plasma decks usually end up with full or close to full Benches. Also, I have seen some decks run 1 or 2 Enhanced Hammer, as Plasma decks almost always rely solely on Special Energy.

Blastoise: Slightly Favorable

When playing Blastoise, it’s all about who sets up first. If Blastoise gets a quick set-up, it can steamroll through any deck. Plasma does have the advantage of being all Basic Pokémon, though, so the chances of them getting set-up before you do are reduced considerably. Plasma also has Frozen City, which, if they are having a hard time getting Tropical Beaches into play, can wreck them.

Virizion/Genesect: Even

I am calling this matchup even because we can’t really be sure of it until after we start getting results from Battle Roads. Yes, I have tested against this deck many times, but the lists are still pretty immature for VirGen and playing in a competitive setting is a lot different than playtesting for fun. Tool Scrapper can come up big against this deck because if you can get rid of G Booster and keep it in the discard pile, you have a much greater chance at beating this deck.

Darkrai Variants: Even

Like the mirror match, this is all about the techs. Silver Bangle helps out a lot in the matchup because of its ability to OHKO Darkrai EX. But a lot of this matchup will come down to the techs they are running. A Hammertime deck has a more favorable matchup against Plasma, and Absol PLF is often used in Darkrai, which, as I said before, is great against the Bench-heavy Plasma decks.

Garbodor: Favorable

Even though Garbodor makes Deoxys EX’s Ability useless, this matchup is still favorable for TDK. Landorus EX still gets OHKO’d because of Weakness to Kyurem, so that isn’t an issue. Deoxys may be weak to Mewtwo, but it also goes the other way, too.

The Conclusion

team plasma grunt anime
Thanks for reading!

Phew! Now that we have discussed almost everything there is to discuss about Plasma, we can finally conclude this article. I hope that even if you have been playing this deck for a while that there were still new ideas that you can take out of this piece. Even if you weren’t planning on playing this deck at all, it is always nice to be knowledgeable on the metagame because that will improve your game dramatically.

Remember, I don’t know everything, so just because I didn’t mention a certain topic in this article doesn’t mean that it isn’t worth testing. So with that, I would like to say farewell and wish everyone good luck on the upcoming season!

//.

  • Glaceon

    Why do you run 2 Darkness in List 2 over Blend GRPD?

  • Wrags23

    I have tested with both, and I don’t like having to use all Special Energy. Even though I get Psychic Energy for Deoxys EX with Blend GRPD, the Prism has taken care of that when I need it too.

  • Glaceon

    But Darkness is a dead card otherwise.

    Also 3 Plasma Energy is bad because you have dead Colress Machines if one is prized or discarded.

    4 Prism

    4 Blend WLFM

    2 Plasma

    1 Water

    This energy line is also way too skimpy. 2 Plasma and 2 Colress Machine is awful, you’ll never get them. 1 Water? why would you do that. That makes no sense. You need another Plasma instead. The point of heavy Kyurem is to actually get Kyurems up quickly – not gonna happen with 2 Colress Machine and 2 Plasma.

  • Empoleon1107

    Dude, DarkGarb absolutely rolls Plasma. Garb with Landy @ Cobalion may not be as good, but DarkGarb is almost a 70/30 matchup in favor of DarkGarb.
    Also, you want to start attacking with Kyurem by T1 at the earliest.

  • Sheriff

    3x Tool Scrapper is a must, with Garbodor’s, Toolboxes, Silver Mirrors, and G-Boosters this Format, there is no reason not to run 3…

    And personally I’d run 4x Bangle, you dropped 6 cards (LaserBank), why add only 3
    Life Dew also seems a bad play, with everyone running more Tool Scrappers.

  • CruelBear

    Garbodor with Landorus and Cobalion was the one deck I’ve been consistently beating Plasma with on PTCGO. It helps that I have 3 Enhanced Hammers too, but Cobalion does most of the work.

  • Wrags23

    In the testing I have done, which was about 10-15 games against each major matchup, my Plasma decks won most of the time against Garbodor. I am just writing what I have seen in my own testing.

  • owilson2

    test it before you shoot it down. my plasma energy lines are 4 prism, 4 plasma, 3water, 1 dark. you wont regret not running all specials

  • Dane_Carlson

    Sorry, bro, but I’m gonna have to downvote this one. 2 Plasma Energy, Darkness over GRPD, and a single Colress just won’t slide.

    And no DCE in the Lugia list?

  • Glaceon

    Until you have only 4 energy that work for Thundurus and Deoxys.

  • Wrags23

    Sorry everyone, it seems I have made a number of mistakes in my first article. Thank you for the advice guys, as I think it will help my playing a lot.

  • Mitchell Anderson

    Nice Article!

  • CruelBear

    My concern is that you don’t mention Cobalion EX in the Garbodor matchup. Cobalion is what makes or breaks it for Garbodor. It’s very difficult for a deck that relies on special energy to keep up with 1 or more being discarded every turn, even if you can use Thundurus. Add to that the weakness Cobalion hits for against Kyurem (While simultaneously lowering Kyurem’s damage output with Garbodor, and eliminating its ability to attack for 120 if you can keep all water energy off it), and it can be a pretty bad matchup.

  • Empoleon1107

    Three Scrappers? Two is the max any deck should be running.

  • Sheriff

    A TDK Deck gets totally shut down by Silver Mirrors, and no Sableye to recycle, really can’t afford to no run 3 Scrappers.

  • poetlarsen

    well Im suspecting that owilson2 is showing an energy line for a deck that probably doesn’t really focus on thundurus EX. (Probably a Kyurem/Deoxy deck)

  • Tim Long

    Guys, Its his first article, He hasn’t been playing as long as some of us, but he made some pretty good decklists, and while I’m curious as to the lack of Scramble switch, I think He did a nice job.

  • Alvaro Acevedo

    In Keldeo Deck list why you play frozen city?with a blange and 3 deoxys is ohko anything,so 2 frozen city its waste 2 slot.

    Instead of frozen city play
    -2Frozen city
    -1Team Plasma Ball
    +1 Ultraball
    +2 Max Potion/Enhancer hammer/tech
    In this deck you NEED keldeo,and you cant search keldeo with teamplasma ball.
    You dont need 4 kyurem with 3 its fine,because you bench is 1 kyurem 1 keldeo and 3 deoxys no more.The water energy another waste space.4Silver blange ,you go to use max 2 kyurem because with 1 you can win the game,so 3 is the correct number
    -1Kyurem
    -1Water
    -1Silver Bangle
    +2Plasma Energy
    +1 Colress Machine

    Computer search is not a great ace spec here,put dowsing machine,you need the 5 catcher or the 3 tool scrapper or the 4 silver bangle or 4 float stone.Play dowsing machine is the best acepec here.

    4 N totally disagree,ko 2 ex n give you alone 2 cards,so the best number is 3,1 ghetsisanother waste space,the priority of the deck is the speed,and if you want to get a speed deck the key is the concistency.
    -1 N
    -1 Ghetsis
    +2Cheren/Bianca/Bycicle

  • Zurthon

    I play two and Dowsing Machine as my ace spec and that’s been working perfect for me.

  • Zurthon

    No, on taking out frozen city. You wont always have 3 Deoxys Ex on the bench, TDK bench spots fill up quickly, so you will need to get damage on opposition another way. Not only that but its also a great counter stadium against virbanks or tropical beach. Also instead of adding +2 Cheren/Bianca/Bicycle put in Another Colress and only have 1 Cheren or Bianca or whatever. Theres no reason when you want to play with a full bench every game why you shouldn’t play with 3 Colress. Just my take on Plasma.

  • Kiernan

    I play 2 Thundurus, 4 Deoxys, 3 Kyurem, 3 Absol. Ace Spec: Scramble Switch