BEWARE: This article has very detailed analysis resulting in a very long article! Please make sure you have spared enough time to read it thoroughly. Enjoy!
This is my first written article for SixPrizes as you may know me as the one who makes the YouTube series PokéClass. If you haven’t seen it yet then please visit my channel here.
I’m going to focus this article on how I have developed my personal LuxChomp list from the very first Battle Roads tournament up until the present day. I will explain my changes, thoughts and analyse my final list right at the end.
So, to kick start this article, I’m going to give you a quick background of how I came to playing the deck in the first place.
2010 brought me my first, full competitive season in the Pokémon TCG. I had spent the summer after Nationals deciding what deck to build and take through to the new format Majestic Dawn onwards.
This was a tough choice for me as my card pool wasn’t huge and I had no way to test extensively due to there not being a league close enough to attend. Extensively researching decks and strategies on the internet didn’t really help either as it just gave me more decks to think about.
Then came a day where it was kind of decided for me. A simple trip to the local town led to the purchase of several single packs of Pokémon cards, which was usually what happened. I can’t remember which sets in particular they were, probably Unleashed since it was around that time, but one other set had slipped into the purchase.
A single Rising Rivals pack. Upon opening the pack there was no sense of getting anything decent since it was just a single pack, but to our avail out popped a single Luxray GL LV.X. We were kind of stunned at our luck, but the first thought to enter my mind was, “I’m going to play LuxChomp”.
Seeing as the sheer expense of this card alone was enough to keep the deck out of my shortlist to choose, I now had the key part for just the price of a pack! I’m a firm believer in fate and this seemed to be my chance to give this deck a spin.
So that’s how I came across playing the deck in the first place. I was fully aware of the popularity of this deck in both the UK and the rest of the World as it was being played by the best players and winning heavily. The complexity of learning the deck was also a selling point for me. Before the 2010-2011 season, I was a fairly new player with little experience with different decks, so the learning curve the deck came with definitely helped with my decision to run it.
This whole season, I have only played with LuxChomp and I started with a list including Blaziken FB LV.X along with some questionable deck choices. I still have the scraggy piece of paper with the list on, so here are the initial 60 cards.
The First List:
|Pokémon – 21
2 Blaziken FB SV
|Trainers – 27||Energy – 12|
Autumn Battle Roads
pokebeach.comAs you can see, there are some strange choices in my list, the most strange to me being the higher count of Bebe’s Search than Pokémon Collector. This is the list I used during the first Battle Roads section of the season, so I’m guessing that the huge hype of VileGar upon the release of Undaunted caused me to use more supporter based search than trainer. I had also done a lot of testing against VileGar and a high Bebe’s count meant that I had a fairly consistent search of level Xs.
3 Call Energy? – Yeah, I was happy with this count even though 4 seems to be the more consistent choice. I just felt that I could get away with cutting it to 3 so that I could squeeze in the extra ‘anti-trainer lock’ cards. Looking back now I would probably bump this back up to 4.
Energy Exchanger? – I really liked this card when Undaunted came out as it was an option to search out Double Colourless Energy as well as to switch different types of energy for the one you needed without having to use up a Cyrus to get it.
Drifblim UD – This is probably a no brainer for most in the US considering the amount of Mewtwo LV.X being played. Mewtwo wasn’t a popular card over here and in the time I’ve been playing I still haven’t played against one, so maybe a counter isn’t needed. However, this card is different as it can serve as a counter against tank decks or even get you a donk in certain situations with “Take Away”.
Drifblim also has an attack called “Balloon Tackle” which serves as a great Machamp/Uxie LV.X counter to hit for weakness. Pair that with a free retreat and you have a very versatile back-up attacker for those troublesome cards.
Shiny Drifloon – I chose to use this as my pre-evolution of Drifblim simply because it had free retreat, making it nicer to start with and its second attack ‘Big Explosion’ is also very effective against Machamp if you’re desperate for a KO.
Professor Oak’s New Theory – With big news that the World Champion ran these in his LuxChomp, I decided to give them a go and with great results. There’s no feeling like drawing one of these when you have a hand of just a couple of cards.
This card has helped me out too many times when I’m stuck with a bad hand so I kept in two copies to keep the deck as consistent as possible.
The rest of the list seems pretty normal for an SP deck along with the popular new addition of Smeargle UD for the mirror match and even more support against VileGar.
I was pretty happy with how the list was testing and took the same list to two Battle Roads with decent results. I managed to get a 4th and 2nd place at the Battle Roads I attended and for the first time playing SP, I was pretty pleased. The list worked as well as it could and I found that I had the type advantage over a lot of decks with the addition of Blaziken FB too.
After a pretty good run at Battle Roads came City Championships. I tried a lot of different lists during this time and used it to experiment a little bit. This probably wasn’t the best time to do it, but seeing as I didn’t do it at Battle Roads, this was the next best thing. All of my lists apart from the last one I tried contained Blaziken FB LV.X
I don’t have the all of the lists for you, but here is possibly one of the strangest lists you have ever seen. I tried mixing parts of Sablelock together with Blaziken, Luxray and Garchomp, making for an extremely tight list. As you can see below, the list was pretty strange.
The Second Version:
|Pokémon – 21
2 Luxray GL RR
|Trainers – 27||Energy – 12|
This list is far from the traditional Sablelock list. You may notice that I have only 2 Sableye SF. Obviously used for its “Impersonate” attack, it was there to take advantage of Cyrus’s Initiative if started with at the beginning.
City Championships, if I remember correctly, were just after Triumphant had been released. This meant that Gyarados was highly expected as well as VileGar which had done well from the Battle Roads before. Let me just outline some of my choices this time around.
2-1 Luxray LV.X – This change from 3-1 was made simply to make a tiny bit of room for more ‘tech’ cards against certain decks. Gyarados was a real threat at the time as my testing against it proved prior to these tournaments. I did find the 2 Basic Luxrays to be too little when playing Gyarados as when the first and the second, recovered, Level X was KO’d it was very difficult to get another one going again.
3 Pokémon Collector – This is the change I outlined from the previous list. VileGar wasn’t a massive threat, but I found that just the 2 Bebe’s Search covered me enough when paired against it. Also, grabbing basics when playing against Gyarados was key when trying to keep up with its new speed in the form of Junk Arm.
Honchkrow SV – This card was also directly aimed at the Gyarados match up. Being able to drag Magikarps from the discard with “Darkness Restore” as well as being able to hit for very high damage was very appealing when slipping it into the list. It also works well with Double Colourless energy which is an obvious plus while you are running four of them.
2 Sableye SF? – This was a very strange choice on my part. I really wanted to keep Luxray, Garchomp and Blaziken in the deck, but I also wanted to try the disruption side of Sablelock in there too. I was originally putting Sableye in the list to help against trainer lock as it could grab you some quick supporters when you were stuck from using anything else.
Bumping up to two was a poor choice as I still wouldn’t start with it consistently enough to Impersonate Cyrus’ Initiative and most of the time it just got stuck on the bench, taking up precious space.
Overall, you can probably tell that the first City Championships of my season didn’t go well. It was only a small one with 3 rounds, but I ended up going 1-2. I was presented with some bad luck by getting donked by Donphan twice in a best of three game, but my other two matchups were Gyarados.
I was fairly confident with this match up considering the amount of techs I had against it, but I only managed to win one of the games. The one I lost, I managed to get the Game 1 win by using Honchkrow to maximum effect, but the clunkyness of my deck got the better of me in the next two games. I managed to scrape a win in the third match of the day by using Blaziken’s “Luring Flame” to full effect.
This poor performance at the first Cities really showed me how inconsistent I had made my deck by just trying to fit too much in to one build. It should either be one or the other, which is something I quickly learned after this day.
Next came the second of the three Cities I attended this year. I don’t have a decklist for this one, but I decided to go back to my old build only changing some of the high supporter count for trainers. The area I was playing in that day, Nottingham, is fairly well-known for running rogue decks and VileGar. Running into Spiritomb was something I wasn’t expecting for some reason and changing out some of my Bebe’s Search for Pokémon Communication quickly showed to be a bad idea.
After a bad start at the tournament, losing my first game pretty badly, I managed to bring it back up to 2-1 in a five round swiss. The fourth round brought me to a SpeedFlare deck, one that I was far from familiar with. This deck runs on a lot of Poké Powers and Poké Bodies, but I thought I had a decent type advantage.
However, my unfamiliarity with the deck paired with some missed Power Spray drops meant that he managed to take the final prize on the last turn of time when we were drawn on prizes.
Losing to a deck I had never seen before did dampen my spirits, but the point of this article is to highlight how losses should be taken note of and then used to improve your deck before the next tournament.
pokebeach.comUpon returning home from an okay performance at this Cities, I immediately whipped out the card binder and looked for a single card. Since I noticed that my VileGar match up really wasn’t that strong any more and that random decks were taking me by surprise, I was only looking for one card. Dialga G LV.X. This card was the heart of my changes for the next tournament as my previous one had highlighted my current build’s weaknesses.
With the ability to shut off Spiritomb and Vileplume’s Poké Body in the VileGar match up as well as being able to shut down rogue decks which rely on Poké Bodies to function, it was the perfect addition to cover my deck’s downfalls.
The cut for this though was a tough choice to make. It was either Blaziken or Luxray and I went ahead and dropped the Blaziken. I had grown fond of Blaziken as it gave me a wider type advantage over a few decks and was a fast and hard attacker.
The only thing that sealed my decision was its fragility after it had attacked. Most of the time after attacking with the powerful “Jet Shoot”, a “Dragon Rush” or Toxicroak G Promo was filling the opposing Active Spot ready for the return KO.
I was also finding Call Energy to be less and less effective the longer I used it. Even when I was testing with it maxed out at four, I still didn’t find that it “wowed” me enough for me to use. Instead, I tried out Warp Energy and found that it worked like a dream.
Being able to get an easy second ‘Rush’ with Garchomp C LV.X aswell as being able to switch Pokémon around multiple times per turn meant that I could carry out very complex turns, making use of as many Pokémon at a single time as I could. It also helped in retreating heavy cost Pokémon such as Bronzong G, when I don’t have a Poké Turn handy.
I also added in Roserade GL as I had a couple of spaces left in my new list. This card was so great for me while I played it. It was perfect for “Bright Looking” up a Pokémon such as Azelf or Smeargle in the mirror match and locking it in place. Then a few turns later and a flash bite to tip the KO in your favor, you can Dragon Rush for 2 Prizes in one turn. Seeing as most of the mirror match decks didn’t run anything like Warp Point and Warp Energy, it was perfect for buying time and getting a nice lead on prizes early on.
I decided to keep Smeargle UD in along with the Unown Q so that I could get the advantage in trainer lock as well as using “Portrait” to duplicate Cyrus in the mirror. This usually grabbed me a huge lead when used correctly and Roserade GL wasn’t a highly played card at the time, so I wasn’t too worried about it getting stuck active, even more so because I ran Warp Energy now.
pokebeach.comOverall, I was happy with all the testing I had done prior to the tournament and had also got my hands on a new Uxie LV.X to try out aswell. A lot of my testing against Machamp was going well, with me being able to win 50% of the time. Not running Drifblim UD anymore meant that I had no Stage 1 to counter “Take Out”, but multiple Uxie LV.Xs with Premier Ball seemed to work wonders if you got it out quick enough.
I also tried including a M Energy which could fuel all but one of Dialga G LV.Xs attacks. I found this very helpful as it made the card not only a tech against many decks, but a useful attacker aswell. Being able to use the powerful trainer lock of Deafen as well as Second Strike made for another heavy hitter in my deck.
Along with the M Energy, I also added in a Psychic even though I wasn’t running PromoCroak. This gave me the option to use both Azelf’s and Crobat G’s attacks meaning that almost all of my Pokémon were now attackers as well as techs.
I took my new improved list to my last City Championships of the season. I don’t have the exact list right now, but it is pretty much the same as the final list I will show you, apart from a few cards. I managed to go 2-2, unfortunately running into 2 Machamps in the process. The games I played I felt that I played the deck as well as I could possibly have done. The deck, with improved changes, now felt more natural for me to play.
The two decks I beat were VileGar and Scizor Prime. This is where Dialga G LV.X managed to show me how well it could pull off what it needed to. Playing against Scizor Prime, I used Dialga’s Deafen and Second Strike a lot to attack, block trainers and shut down Scizor’s Poké Body. This helped me to get a very healthy lead which was hard to come back from when I eventually warped Dialga G LV.X to the bench and let it sit there while I Dragon Rushed for the rest of my prizes.
This was a game where the P Energy I had put in helped me a ton. While I was setting up, ready for Dialga G LV.X I managed to add crucial damage with Crobat G’s “Toxic Fang” attack. Having an extra 2 damage counters placed on Scizor Prime between each turn meant that the KOs were easier to grab, even when it had a couple of Special Metals attached.
The deck had definitely impressed me more than any other at this point. The versatility of it along with the speed and fun I had playing the deck meant that I was learning and growing as a player. I don’t know why, but I loved it. I could answer most things and I was able to pull off wins from games that looked bad for me. From the experience I had gained from building bad decks, I had created a deck that I felt perfectly comfortable with and felt pretty accomplished to be honest.
pokebeach.comOkay, now it was getting serious and all the testing needed to show now. I felt that my deck was at the best it could be and that I had the experience with it and the game to pull of some good results.
I went to three out of the four States in the UK to try and get some extra points for my rating as well as trying my best to go far with this list I had tweaked right from the beginning. I took the exact same list to two of the States I went to with a few cards changing from the one I played at the first one, Manchester.
This was a long travel for us to get to and when we arrived, there were a lot of great players there. I guess the 32K rating brings everyone out to every event in this country! I was paired against a great player, Freddy K, in my first round of this tournament and we had a very close game, which could have been even closer if I had made a better play right at the end, but that’s just Pokémon.
This put me at a first round loss, but I won the next round so it was okay, until I got paired against Karl Blake. He had just come straight from a Top 16 finish at the European Challenge Cup so I was definitely worried. We had a very close game and time just didn’t go in my favor, so I ended up losing right at the end. By then my luck was shot so I ended up going 2-3, my confidence knocked slightly.
Changes definitely needed to be made so I worked for a long time after that tournament to perfect the list to my playing style. So without even more typing (congrats if you’ve read this far by the way) here is my final list which I use up until this day.
The Final Product:
|Pokémon – 20
2 Garchomp C SV
|Trainers – 29
4 Cyrus’s Conspiracy
|Energy – 11|
After my disappointing performance at the first States, I looked back at all my matches and highlighted where I lost because of deck, not my luck. The mirror appeared to be the biggest issue because I didn’t include Dragonite FB. This was a card I managed to fit in straight away.
If you skim over the list, it seems pretty vanilla, but you may have looked over the lack of Smeargle UD which I used heavily the whole season along with its counterpart, Unown Q. Yep, it isn’t a mistype, I took out Unown Q from my list. I expect you’re thinking along the lines of “Why?! It gives all your 1 Retreat Cost Pokémon free retreat! It’s a staple!” But let me explain my choice. I felt that with the absence of Smeargle, I would only be using it to retreat things like Uxie and Azelf, which could be dealt with fairly easily with Warp Energy.
If Uxie happened to get stuck active, I could search out the level X and then warp it to the bench. Since taking it out of this list, I haven’t and probably won’t miss it. Sure, it could help me retreat Roserade from time to time, but then I can’t attach Energy Gain to it and I find it a waste of the Q. I guess it’s just the way I prefer to play it.
I also decided to make the M Energy line a bit heavier and bump it up to 2. This meant that I would be able to use Dialga G LV.X’s “Remove Lost” attack if I ever found the need. I felt that 2 L Energy was a safe amount and might aswell broaden my Pokémon line up’s attack pool. This was at the cost of a P Energy, but I found that I would use Dialga to attack more than I needed to with Crobat G or Azelf.
Twins from Triumphant is one of my favorite cards to play in this deck. If you know that you will be behind on prizes on your next turn, this should be the Supporter you grab with Cyrus Conspiracy the turn before. This card can search out any card you like, that includes Double Colourless Energy.
When I find myself needing Twins, I always find myself grabbing DCE, simply because it’s such a key card in the mirror. Getting VS Seeker with this card or using this when VS Seeker is in your hand means that you can use it to grab a further two cards from your deck to get back into a game you’ve fallen behind in.
Twins also benefited from the next change that I made, VS Seeker. Having 2 Aaron’s is nice, but the more I played it, the less I felt I needed to use two. So I went for the next best thing by putting in VS Seeker so I could use it to get a second Aaron’s if needed, but it was more versatile by being able to grab any Supporter you need.
Using a fifth Cyrus in any game is sure to give you the upper hand as your opponent may not see it coming. You can search that crucial extra TGI you need and grab a final Supporter to finish off or come back into a game.
Junk Arm was a card I was very dubious about. The fact that you could recover any TGI or VS Seeker etc was incredible, but I just didn’t like the 2 card cost. That feeling immediately went when I managed to find room for it. The discard isn’t a huge deal when you know what match up you’re playing against and what cards you won’t need in the duration of the game.
pokebeach.comBeing able to pluck an extra TGI from the discard means that you effectively get one extra copy of one to complete a possibly crucial, winning move. A very versatile card which has served me well when needing to stretch my resources.
Premier Ball was added when I was testing against Machamp. Being able to search out Uxie LV.X from the discard pile after being taken out by Machamp was vital to being able to return the KO as quickly as possible. It was a card I got almost every time with Twins when I was playing that match up and it helped to keep up with the prize exchange while they take a prize per turn.
Both Dragonite and Ambipom were cards I included in the final list because I found that having both in there just helped with the mirror so much more. Being able to return KOs in the ‘Colourless War’ was a very key part of the deck. With LuxChomp becoming even more popular with every tournament in the UK, it had to be heavily teched against so I made sure it was.
The final thing I want to mention are my level X lines. I decided that 2-2-of both Garchomp C and Luxray GL were the way to go. I loved being able to set up consecutive Dragon Rushes with Warp Energy and both the level Xs in play. Having 2 Luxray LV.X was also a great play for having stronger VileGar and Gyarados matchups. Being able to have 2 copies of each level X and a potential third with the use of Premier Ball meant that I was able to search out and recover level Xs at a very quick rate.
The rest of the deck should be self-explanatory for a standard LuxChomp build with things like Lucario GL, Bronzong G and Crobat G all being key cards to support all of your level Xs. The SP mechanic within the current metagame is a very strong one. It has its own engine which makes the deck very quick and with an answer to pretty much anything in the format, I don’t see why you shouldn’t try it out.
I also find this deck very challenging and, more importantly, fun to play. When I win with this deck, I feel I’ve earnt it, especially in really tough games where every single move you make is crucial.
pokebeach.comThis list got me my best result of the season, Top 8 at the toughest States in the UK. I was really pleased with the way I played that day and it managed to pay off by being able to make cut in one of the hardest tournaments I’ve played in this year.
So that’s my season so far along with all the lists I’ve actually written down and remembered. If you’re wondering why this article is sooooo long, it’s because I really wanted to go into detail about how I altered my list, finding out the weaknesses by actually playing against the rest of the UK.
Right now, I’m sitting at 26th place in the UK which I’m really pleased with even though it doesn’t sound amazing to say. With the amount I feel I have grown as a player in the time I have been playing I think that it is a decent achievement so far. I feel accomplished to have built a list that suits my playstyle down to the last card and that I tweaked and edited myself.
I’ve learnt that deck building can take time and when you pick up a deck, you probably won’t do well with it straight away. Make sure you tweak it to your own style and think about why you lose certain matchups and then cater for them in your changes. When you get the hang of realising where you went wrong, you’ll have a great list that you love to play.
Just before I go, I just want to thank everyone that I have met through the game so far. I’ve made some good friends and everyone I have played against or just met by trading has made the game as fun as it can be. Hopefully will see you all at Nats this year!
You may be pleased to know that this is the last paragraph of the article. Thanks for reading all the way to the end and I hope you learnt a bit and liked the lists I’ve shared with you today. If you have any questions please ask me.
Thanks again, Dan.