The Zekrom Compendium

“The Zekrom Guy”

pokebeach.comDisclaimer: I know a Zekrom article was recently posted on here, but I’d already started this a while ago and as you can probably tell, it’s very in-depth so I still wanted to get it out as I feel it’s the deck I could write about the most from my own experiences.

As such, this article is probably too long for anybody not seriously considering playing Zekrom at Worlds or in future events (the article is written more to just be informative than overly entertaining to be honest) so if it’s a tl;dr kinda thing, at least skim it and zoom down to the bottom to the final words to get a bit of an overview.

Anybody who knows me, or has seen me post around knows this is by far the deck I’ve put most of my time into. It has actually acted as some kind of double edged sword because not a day goes by without a private message either here or on YouTube asking either for advice or critique on a deck list.

I try to help where I can but it’s not really possible to talk too much about it in a message so I thought I’d put forward months and months of testing and research into the deck in one article for you all to see.

I will be honest, I was initially very reluctant to do this write-up, but I thought all of this information would eventually be worked out anyway and thus, there wasn’t too much harm in divulging it. I can guarantee that all the information in this article was tested thoroughly and almost no stone was left unturned. I’d appreciate any feedback, good or bad as anything in general should help improve my writing quality for the future.

I thought Zekrom was meant to be a bad deck?

There’s a couple of myths I’d quite like to dispel about the deck.

  1. If it doesn’t get the 1st turn donk, it can’t win.
  2. It’s an unreliable deck, too many coin flips.
  3. Zekrom needs a partner in order to be successful.

1. The number of times I get the 1st turn donk is almost negligible, and yet I still play and test the deck. Doesn’t that say enough what I think of this opinion on its own? Yes, ideally you would want to be able to set up a T1/2 Zekrom but that’s not always possible.

That doesn’t mean you should just give up. You have a basic Pokémon blasting out 120 damage a turn, that’s nothing to underestimate by any means. Zekrom doesn’t have the strongest mid or late game out there, but if you can get that early prize lead, it has every chance.

2. Coin flip decks are a playstyle choice. That is to say, it’s not necessary for a Zekrom deck to have many coin flips at all. In all honesty, the most important coin flip is the starting one and even that isn’t hugely important for Zekrom which I will cover later. By limiting cards like Dual Ball and Super Scoop Up, you can avoid this annoyance.

3. What I mean by a partner is a secondary attacker, and no, Zekrom doesn’t need one at all. It has enough space to accommodate one certainly, but it doesn’t strictly speaking need one. Regardless, I will cover potential partners later on.

Zekrom for Worlds

pokebeach.comThere are many reasons as to why Zekrom may be a good choice for you at Worlds. It already has the success to back it up, having claimed Canadian and Mexican National 1st places which in itself has proved the deck can go the distance.

Admittedly, it wasn’t as successful at USA Nationals, but that can definitely be attributed to the vast number of rounds players had to grind through. That problem is not prevalent at either the grinder or the actual Worlds Championship itself making it a much more viable choice.

The Grinder: Focuses on match play, meaning having to play a best of 3 set to progress to the next round. Usually, I love playing speed decks in match play as you can generally force the match to extend toward time giving you an advantage in sudden death situations.

I literally won a whole event once by abusing this concept, although this was admittedly before it was necessary to take 4 Prizes for a match to count. Also, you won’t be burdened by the fact that you may not set up as well as you would like, as you have 3 chances in a set to set off like a rocket.

It is worth noting however, that two bad set ups in a row and you’re on your way out essentially, and that may certainly put you off of Zekrom for the grinder at least.

The actual tournament: This, I believe is where Zekrom could come into its own. We’ve already seen two Zekrom decks take large tournaments of this size already in Mexico and Canada so it could most certainly do it here too. I personally wouldn’t be surprised at all if a fair few Zekrom decks burst out of the initial 7 rounds of Swiss because that’s the tournament format that really suits it.

Hypothetically speaking, if it can set off like a rocket in 4-of those games, and come up against a bad start on one of the other games, it’s already in with a shout of Top Cut. From Top Cut, in my opinion, in this format it’s pretty much anybody’s game since the format is so rocky.

The Build

There are many ways to approach a Zekrom build; flippy, non-flippy, consistent, 1st turn based, with or without a partner… In any case, we can build a bare bones skeleton for which without any of these, a list would probably be incomplete:

PokémonZekrom
Pachirisu
Shaymin
TrainersPokémon Collector
Professor Juniper
Pluspower
Pokémon Reversal
Junk Arm
EnergyLightning

Does that seem pretty thin to you? Well actually, in a typical list, that could amount to up to 40 cards already which doesn’t leave that much room for techs. Also I decided to not put any numbers in there either as I feel that I couldn’t really commit to a minimum for any of them, so felt it sufficed to just say that these cards absolutely needed to be in the deck.

From here on, we can start building the rest of the cards at our disposal into the deck as we see fit according to the style of play we want to go for. These are all the cards I have tested in the deck, along with my opinions. It’s a lot of information so it can be skimmed but if you’re serious about playing this deck, it may be worth reading on just to see if there’s anything you’ve missed in your testing.

Stadiums

Ruins of Alph: Well there’s only really one Stadium worth mentioning at all and that’s this. Negating resistance is going to be a very big factor when it comes to any sort of Donphan matchup. I’ve always felt that a Stadium like this needs to be a one of as it’s quite situational and a dead card in a lot of matchups but I always feel really uncomfortable playing one as you’ll be lucky to draw into it.

Depending on how much hand refresh you play, one could work but it’s a dropped card for me for the following reason: I’d be uncomfortable playing less than 2, but also uncomfortable playing more than 1 if that makes any sense!

Trainers

Defender: Well Trainers are the meat of this build as there are so many different options currently to get the best out of your Zekrom. And I’ve started with one of the best. Defender popped up in the Canadian winning list for sure and I’m wondering why it came as such a surprise to apparently quite a large portion of the community.

I’d been testing it about 2 months prior to Nats and ‘accidentally’ let it slip in a Defender CotD here on SixPrizes that I’d been doing so when it was meant to be a secret tech of sorts at the time. Basically, put this in your deck, the only reason it’s not a staple is that there is one build of the deck in which it is not needed but otherwise, negating your recoil, especially late game where you don’t care about Outrage as much is pretty huge.

3 is a good number for this, I tried 4 and hated the bad hands I’d occasionally got with this clogging it up, but 3 seemed to remedy that somewhat.

Dual Ball: There are definitely going to be people who hate me for this, but screw it, I hate the card, and have done since I first put it in my deck. I gave up Dual Ball a few months ago and haven’t missed it much and here’s why: it’s only good 1 in 4 times.

Getting 1 or even no heads is not that beneficial to you whatsoever in a deck which needs to get 3 basics out. Pokémon Collector overshadows this hugely IMO as it’s so reliable. That’s not to say I haven’t had the odd dual ball or two in the deck, but it’s largely been limited to 2 max.

Pokégear: Another card to crop up in the Canadian winning list and with good reason. I’d been playing this in my Lostgar list and it just clicked to put it in Zekrom one day and it works absolute wonders, especially first turn if you get that increased chance of the T1 Collector which can win games.

It also vastly improves your consistency mid and late game if you can just junk arm into it to fish out a PONT or Professor Juniper. It even serves its purpose in the Yanmega variants to help secure those Copycats and Judges. I’d play anywhere between 1-4-of this card in most builds.

Super Scoop Up: I’m still really hot and cold about this card. First, it’s flippy which is never really that good in an already flippy format. It’s effect does serve so many purposes in this deck that it’s worth considering indeed. Picking up damaged Zekroms or Shaymins can very much create a game changing play.

Some people swear by 4, I’ve tried none and haven’t particularly missed them so I’m very much inclined to say it’s not actually that necessary in the deck, but I sometimes chuck in 1 or 2 in there and reuse with Junk Arm if it’s a necessary use.

Switch: A great utility card in a lot of cards, overshadowed by Warp Point in past formats, this may be one of the few times in which you’ll be able to get a good use out of this. In this deck, the biggest thing that Switch does is save you an energy drop otherwise used for retreating one of your 1 retreat basics you get stuck active with.

It’s hard to say how many if any of these you need in each build, but quite a few can do with just a single utility copy that you try to get rid of early game to reuse via junk arm later if necessary.

Victory Medal: A semi decent card but I’m not a fan with how unreliable the card is. Most of the time, it will just thin your deck of a card and Zekrom isn’t really the kind of deck which you want to be doing that with, every card counts in Zekrom. I wouldn’t play more than 2 in any case, but if you’re really struggling to fill those last two spaces in your decklist, give this card a try.

Energy Search: Let me start by saying this card is a bad idea, and I’m only justifying writing about the card because I see it crop up in so many lists. Yes it’s Junk Armable, but funnily enough, Zekrom isn’t the kind of deck that always wants to thin it’s deck. It wants to burn through a deck quickly, but not wastefully either so I do not condone this card.

Pokémon Communication: The only time you’ll want to be using this card is when you’re playing with a back up stage 1/2 attacker for obvious reasons. Otherwise it’s pretty useless and Dual Ball does a better job considering most of your deck is basic. I usually don’t play more than 2 in a secondary attacker variant of the deck although if you can fit more, then by all means do so.

Revive: Before I talk about Revive, I’d like to talk about recovery in general as people seem to be in two minds about it so I’ll throw my opinion in. If you’re going for an aggressive build, which is how I believe Zekrom should be played, then recovery would probably just clog your hand most games.

pokebeach.comSaying that, Revive could still be a nice option as 5 Zekroms could be quite clutch if you don’t get the best start and aren’t able to make the most of your original 4.

Energy Retrieval: This on the other hand I wouldn’t bother with. A Zekrom deck would typically already run 13+ energies already, which should be more than enough to run you throughout a whole match.

Pokémon Circulator: Pokémon Circulator is only semi useful in a baby infested format, and it looks like we’re turning away from that at the moment. In all, Reversal does outshine this to a large degree as you just do not get the opportunity to take out their Zekrom counters with this card.

Research Records: This also made a (imo surprise) appearance in the Canadian winning list I believe. I personally am underwhelmed by this card, it has obvious synergy with Professor Juniper as you can streamline your hand refresh results.

It also helps to some degree if you’re relying on a top-deck of sorts but I’m still not really a fan. Certainly try it out, it should help out with consistency but I’d probably limit the card to 2-3.

Potion: I’ll be honest, the card is actually solid. It just doesn’t do the job that defender can do imo. Defender essentially blocks 40 if you factor in the recoil you avoid whereas Potion only heals for 30. What potion can do however is give you greater control over a more efficient Outrage game so it could certainly see some play.

Supporters

pokebeach.comSupporters I can pretty much group into one paragraph considering there are so few that are worth considering. On top of Professor Juniper, your alternate forms of hand refresh/draw are as follows. Professor Oak’s New Theory is your bread and butter refresh in this deck.

6 new cards is usually enough to get what you need most of the time and it’s a guaranteed 6 too which is nice. Which moves me onto Copycat. I get more and more disillusioned with this card as I play it, but understand that it’s necessary if you’re using a Yanmega variant in order to help keeping the hand size well-regulated.

It comes with a few flaws though, mainly being that your opponent can bring you right down to a few cards and Zekrom decks will definitely struggle to bring that hand back up with no pure drawpower.

Judge also falls foul to this problem, yes it’s a highly disruptive card in itself but it’s no use against a majority of the format, being Magnezone and Ninetales.

It can absolutely cripple T1 but in turn, you can cripple yourself so I try to avoid this card, even in Yanmega builds. Sage’s Training has lost a lot of popularity recently, but it’s still a decent option in this deck. Digging a little deeper into your deck, especially on your first turn and after a research records could give you everything you need while getting some nice cards in the discard for later use with Junk Arm.

Cheerleader’s Cheer is the last of the Draw Cards and in this deck, I’m afraid it’s outshined by Sage’s Training. It’s a great solid draw card but Sage’s just lets you dig deeper and 3 cards isn’t particularly game changing for this deck unfortunately.

Finally, we’ll look a bit at Seeker as it crops up in a lot of deck lists. I’ll convey how I feel about the card by describing how my deck lists have progressed. I started out playing Zekrom with 4 Super Scoop Up and 4 Seeker thinking the reuse of Pachirisu and Shaymin was vital toward the deck.

That reduced quickly to 2-of each as I found it to be clogging up my hand a large majority of the time and eventually Seeker was completely cut. I found that the only use of it seemed to be the reuse of Shaymin and using the Supporter for the turn for that specific purpose just wasn’t cutting it for me.

Pokémon

This is where we can start putting everything together and start forming some deck lists. I’ll first analyse the little techs before going into backup attackers.

Cleffa: This is the only starter I’d use in this deck. I’ve generally tended away from it in most of my decks but it sticks here due to it serving it’s purpose quite well, getting you out of tight spots. You really can’t be missing energy attachments so using things like Manaphy are quite a no go despite its free retreat. Likewise, Smeargle will usually eat an energy just to retreat, as do most Call for Family variants.

Tyrogue: Even if people totally gave up on Cleffa as a starter, I’d still have him in. He puts the all important 3 damage counters on that will help toward Knocking Out some of the beefier Pokémon in the game, such as Magnezone and Emboar/RDL.

Unown Dark: I still don’t know why this card isn’t a staple in most people’s decks. It drastically increases the T1 Bolt Strike and that’s more than enough of a reason for me to include it. Reducing the number of energies required in your starting hand down to two is pretty huge.

Bouffalant: The main thing that deters me from this card is it’s Retreat Cost. It pretty much forces you to run DCE in the deck which isn’t a bad idea in itself as it’s great for outrage but isn’t always optimal. Still, this card is a nice free prize for you when you don’t want to commit a Zekrom to the Active position.

Reshiram: I included Reshiram in my article more out of obligation than anything else due to it making an appearance in the Canadian winning list. All I’ll say about that is don’t just add it into your deck because it was in the winning list because it doesn’t really serve a useful purpose to be brutally honest, and was surprised when I saw it.

The most useful thing it does is stop from hitting for 60 but you should be tearing into Kingdra’s anyway, and if Kingdra hits you for 60, then it’s an easy Outrage revenge kill with Zekrom.

Yanmega: OK, here’s the ‘biggie’, the most versatile attacker in the game does indeed slot quite nicely into Zekrom, letting you attack for free on your off turns where you can’t get a Zekrom up. However, it forces you to run a less than optimal consistency engine for your deck which basically means Copycat and/or Judge.

This really cripples your deck as Zekrom, unless getting lucky with a Hand Refresh card really has no way to get back up and running up with a usable hand size and this is one of the main reasons I do not actually really like this variant. I’ll still include a list I tested somewhat but very early testing results stopped me progressing this build to some degree.

Pokémon – 154 Zekrom BLW
2 Pachirisu CL
2 Shaymin UL
1 Unown Darkness UD
1 Cleffa HS/CL
3 Yanma TM
2 Yanmega Prime TM
Trainers – 314 Pokémon Collector
4 Copycat
3 Professor Juniper
2 Professor Oak’s New Theory
4 Pokémon Reversal
3 PlusPower
3 Pokémon Communication
2 Dual Ball
4 Junk Arm
2 Switch
Energy – 1413 Lightning
1 Darkness (Basic)

This list has a very high count of Supporters and ‘burnable’ Trainers so it shouldn’t be too much of an issue being able to match your hand when you really need it. I play 3-2 Yanmega because you only really need 2 in a match and 3 Yanmas is great as it’s probably the best opening card in the format right now and this just increases your chance of starting with a good card.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s a solid concept but during testing, I found two situations to be very prominent. Either I couldn’t really get the Yanmega into the active when I needed to as I had a Zekrom just stuck in the Active position or I had to attack with Yanmega so much because constantly having to match low hand counts meant I couldn’t power up a Zekrom.

pokebeach.com

Umbreon: Yes, Umbreon. I was already running Darkness energies in the deck so one day, my testing partner Tommy Roberts just said in passing, why not try Umbreon. It’s now probably the build of the deck I enjoy playing the most.

In this deck, Umbreon serves two quite important purposes:

  1. It’s a good wall to set up behind, get it out early and harass your opponent into trying to get out a random counter which should hinder their setup while you just sit there and power up your Zekrom on your bench.
  2. Save it for late game when your opponent has fully set up their field and will have no way to get an Umbreon counter out.

Yes there are a few ways to work around Umbreon; , Yanmega sniping, Pokémon Reversal etc. Despite this, I’ve found this to really be a game changer. Where this card will shine is that people won’t expect you to play it, and so when you drop it, it can really cause problems.

If they know it’s in your deck, it’s not that useful but you can be pretty safe in assuming if you go to Worlds that no one will know that it’s in your deck as long as you’re quiet about it. One final thing is that Eevee has a pretty nice Call for Family type attack which also helps. Here’s my list for this deck:

Pokémon – 134 Zekrom BLW
2 Pachirisu CL
2 Shaymin UL
1 Cleffa HS/CL
1 Tyrogue HS/CL
1 Unown Darkness UD
1 Eevee UD
1 Umbreon UD/CL
Trainers – 324 Pokémon Collector
4 Professor Juniper
3 Professor Oak
4 Pokémon Reversal
3 PlusPower
3 Defender
2 Pokémon Communication
2 Pokégear
2 Super Scoop Up
1 Switch
4 Junk Arm
Energy – 13 Lightning
2 Darkness (Special)

There’s not much to say about this list that hasn’t really been mentioned before really. It runs quite a fast engine so getting out the T1 Zekrom shouldn’t be that rare an occurrence. a 1-1 line of Umbreon is all that is really necessary to be honest. You could run 2-2 but I don’t think you’ll be using the second Umbreon much if at all. Nor should you.

Samurott: If you read my previous article, or remember for it that matter, I’ve already gone into quite a bit of detail into the synergy between Samurott and Zekrom. It is quite a nice addition, really helping out in the Donphan department but I’ve found it really clunky and have since given it up.

I won’t provide a list for this as I’ve done so in the past but it’s just a card to bear in mind if you’re expecting a lot of Donphan at worlds.

Magnezone: I’ll be honest, when I say Magnezone, I actually mean for Zekrom to be more of a tech in a Magnezone based deck than the other way round. I’ve really started to like Yanmega Magnezone recently and I think Zekrom can fit quite nicely into this deck.

Magnezone teched into Zekrom is horrible and unnecessary and I wouldn’t bother with it personally. Here’s my Yanmega Magnezone build with Zekrom teched into it:

Pokémon – 193 Magnemite TM
1 Magneton TM
3 Magnezone Prime TM
3 Yanma TM
3 Yanmega TM
1 Zekrom BLW
2 Pachirisu CL
1 Shaymin UL
2 Manaphy UL
Trainers – 274 Pokémon Collector
4 Copycat
3 Judge
1 Twins
4 Pokémon Communication
3 Rare Candy
3 Pokémon Reversal
2 Switch
3 Junk Arm
Energy – 1412 Lightning
2 Rescue

You can see the ZPS engine creeping into this deck and it does actually work. You don’t always want to be committing a Magnezone to the Active position just to hit for some big damage as it’s your main source of draw so promoting Zekrom in these instances is very productive.

In general, Yanmega Magnezone is probably one of the most ‘solid’ decks in the format already and I feel this little addition to the deck just helps the Magnezones live just that little bit longer which is always nice. Manaphy is my preferred starter here as attaching the energy to refresh the hand isn’t actually that counter productive to the strategy of the deck at all due to you being able to Lost Burn it later on in the game.

Donphan: Much like Magnezone, Zekrom is more of a tech in Donphan decks than the other way round. Zekrom works really nicely with Donphan as Donphan can just rack up the damage onto the Zekrom via Earthquake recoil and Zekrom can then hit Donphan’s worst nightmares for super effective damage.

Often coined ‘Donphan Dragons’ or ‘Donphan Legends’, I feel this is a tier 1 deck personally. It’s essentially a metagame counter, so it has very good matchups against other top-tier decks but can actually come up short against some rogues. Here’s my list for the deck:

Pokémon – 173 Phanpy HS
1 Phanpy CL
4 Donphan Prime HS
2 Zorua BLW
2 Zoroark BLW
2 Zekrom BLW
1 Reshiram BLW
1 Smeargle UD/CL
1 Bouffalant BLW #91
Trainers – 294 Pokémon Collector
4 Professor Oak’s New Theory
2 Professor Juniper
1 Copycat
4 Pokémon Communication
4 Pokémon Reversal
3 Switch
3 PlusPower
4 Junk Arm
Energy – 128 Fighting
4 Double Colorless

pokebeach.comThis deck list actually only has 58 cards. The reason for this is I took this deck to a tournament and really struggled to find 2 more cards that could slot into the deck. Eventually I decided to just chuck a 1-1 Yanmega line in there as an all round utility card and the deck performed well, going 4-0 at the event beating one of the best players in the UK along the way.

It also helped that everyone thought I would be bringing Zekrom to the event, and flashing people a Zekrom from the deckbox here and there helped too! As such, those two extra cards could be anything really, more draw supporters, an extra Smeargle… Talking of which, Smeargle pops up in this deck.

It’s been shoved to one side for a while now but it really serves it’s purpose in this deck. You already run Switch and an excessive amount of energies so getting it out of the Active position isn’t really that much trouble. Also the Supporters you will be copying can’t really hurt your deck. People feared using Smeargle because of how popular Juniper was getting, but Juniper doesn’t hurt this deck at all so you can feel free to take more risks.

…Nothing: And we finally get to our last deck list, Zekrom acting as a lone attacker. The aim of this deck is to just hit for 120 every turn, no excuses. The deck tries to find a balance between exploding on the first turn so cutting cards that do not contribute toward this, and adding some late game longevity, mainly in the form of defender.

Pokémon – 114 Zekrom BLW
2 Pachirisu CL
2 Shaymin UL
1 Unown Darkness UD
1 Tyrogue HS/CL
1 Cleffa HS/CL
Trainers – 344 Pokémon Collector
4 Professor Juniper
3 Professor Oak’s New Theory
4 Pokémon Reversal
4 Junk Arm
3 Defender
3 Pokégear 3.0
3 PlusPower
2 Dual Ball
2 Super Scoop Up
1 Switch
Energy – 1513 Lightning
2 Darkness (Basic)

pokebeach.comSo there it is, a pretty straightforward list in general. It has very few cards that are essentially dead in your first hand. You have to be incredible smart with your use of Defender as it’s a game changing card when used on the right turn. It’s actually beneficial to not use it early as powering up your Outrage before your opponent can get things rolling is actually quite a good idea.

Late game, if you can pop two Defenders onto Zekrom with only 2 Prizes left to take, it can leave your opponent fresh out of options to be able to hit for 170 damage. Only things like Magnezone should be able to hit that. Also popping two onto a Zekrom just when your opponent gets ready a Zoroark or Donphan to revenge KO you can provide your Zekrom with another knockout next turn.

Essentially, if each of your Zekroms are able to take 2 Prizes each, they are doing their job and Defender really helps toward this. This deck also provides 7 outs toward hopefully getting a Pokémon Collector on your first turn, which is the idea situation.

The Dual Balls help when this is not possible, meaning you can hopefully Dual Ball followed by another supporter and then Junk Arm them again to potentially get the flips you need to fully set up. One point of contention with my list could be running 2 Darkness energy over just 1.

I personally found that the times in which I found my Unown or Energy prized was getting annoying. I didn’t really want to add another Unown but the extra energy didn’t really pose a problem so it sticks for now, although you could just substitute that for another lightning energy.

This deck can be modified to accommodate a DCE attacker such as Bouffalant quite easily by just manipulating some of the energy counts and cutting some of the less useful cards such as Super Scoop Up.

Matchups

pokebeach.comI was going to write a tad about matchups but as my friend Tommy Roberts quite rightly pointed out, Zekrom is a deck that can win against any deck, but can possibly lose to any deck too. Thus, it seemed pretty pointless to write about individual matchups.

Beyond knowing that cards like Zoroark and Donphan can give you trouble, it’s more about understanding how the deck works and making the optimal play in every situation. It’s the kind of deck that can give a lesser skilled opponent a win against someone better, but at the same time, I’ve found it to be one of the most intricate decks to play once you get past the first couple of turns.

Just make sure to practice practice practice before Worlds and play through your hands with other people to see if you can come up with a more optimal way to use the resources available. I’ve actually found this to be quite a valuable way to test personally as many people will think differently to you so it’s always useful to see if you missed anything.

Battle Video

Adding videos to articles seems to be all the craze now, and since I do videos on quite a regular basis, it seems only natural to do one myself. I pump out battle videos fairly often and commentate over it to just explain some of the plays and let you know what’s going through my mind.

Make sure to subscribe to my channel if you would like to see more! This battle is one between me and a friend from my league, Zak who also happens to be playing Zekrom. I’m playing the Umbreon variant of the deck while he is playing his own Samurott variant.

Interestingly, both Samurott and Umbreon are totally useless in this match so it’s more of a Zekrom ditto that anything. The mirror match is actually quite an interesting one, especially if both people can get set up so enjoy :)

I also have a slightly older battle video of my Donphan Legends deck in action against George, my most regular opponent on my channel. He’s playing Yanmega Magnezone with a Kingdra tech, a matchup that I should do good in as I have answers to all three components of his deck. It was a really tight and intense battle in the end so should be enjoyable:

Final Words

pokebeach.comIf you TL;DR’d this article, I hope you at least have the time to read my final thoughts Zekrom. As I’ve shown, Zekrom not only is a great deck in itself, but also a really nice tech into a lot of other decks. It’s not got quite as much versatility as a card as say Yanmega but it’s a basic that can run off colorless energy and hits a lot of the metagame for weakness to it’s still a great card.

If you were to pull my leg and I was to have to pick a deck to use at worlds tomorrow, I think I would either go for the Yanmega Magnezone variant or the Umbreon as I feel they have the most answers to what I expect there to be at Worlds, being Donphan.

Anyway, I hope this article has at least given you some new ideas to think about and I would greatly appreciate what you think about some of my ideas and techs. Also, if this article wasn’t useful for you now, it should still be relevant looking at the future as Zekrom could become a huge part of the metagame with cards like Catcher coming out soon and Eviolite expected to make its way over here soon.

On a very final note, myself and Tommy Roberts have started up a new Pokémon website (www.PokéScoop.com) dedicated to bringing you any breaking news, much like PokéBeach but geared more toward competitive players so not only will we bring you any new card news, but also tournament news and the like.

We are also in a position to bring round by round live coverage at this years Worlds Championships and we should also be doing the same for this years Prague Cup (European Championships) along with other future events. So to make sure you keep up to date with everything that matter in the Pokémon world, check out www.pokescoop.com and like PokéScoop on Facebook!

Reader Interactions

26 replies

  1. Anonymous

    My personal favorite deck is tyRam, but I’vr been trending towards Zekrom quite a bit recently. I always felt like it was missing consistency, but then I foung out about PokeGear 3.0.

    Great article! I could see this winning Worlds.

  2. Tamao Cameron

    I realise I didn’t really discuss why I don’t like more than 2 of each Pachirisu or Shaymin in this article which was a bit of an oversight, but I covered it in the last article I wrote I think :)

  3. Oliver Barnett

    Not bad article man. I’m not a advocate of Zekrom myself bar Donphan Legends mostly due to dead hands lol but it does look fun to play in the future :p

  4. Adam Capriola

    GREAT article Tamoo! If Zekrom wins Worlds, you have my approval to gloat for the next year as the Zekrom guy. :P

  5. Thomas Djerf

    the videos are really helpful. You want to hit more heads on reversal? stop using the theme deck coin

  6. rraya

    So I was going through the lists comparing them and seeing which cards got cut/added in each one aaaaand…there’s a blank slot on the last list. Just thought I should point it out :p…it baffled me for a few seconds before I counted them lol

    • Tamao Cameron  → rraya

      Wow very good spot, also apparently has 115 energies lol ;)  I must have been starting to lose some concentration at this point.  I think it’s because I’d been using 2 Cleffa for ages and then only very recently dropped to 1, but I was still conditioned to think there was 12 basics in the deck.

  7. Dave Kuipers

    Thanks for the article Tamoo, great read as always! There’s one thing I don’t get though: “3 Yanmas is great as it’s probably the best opening card in the format right now”. Really? Can you elaborate a bit on this?

    • Tamao Cameron  → Dave

      It’s just so versatile as it has free retreat and also serves a great purpose later on in the game (evolving into one of the best pokemon in the format right now).

  8. David Wiken

    Once again we face exquisite proof that the best articles on this site have a British signature. Keep ’em coming Tamao;)

  9. nuno catarino

    i would include 1-2 seekers to reuse shaymins and pachirisus and to get the donk sometimes

  10. Andrew Daley

    Absolutely fantastic article. It was very informative and kept me interested with all the different ideas you presented. You really are a great writer.

  11. Julian Silva

    Even though I hate Zekrom and don’t really enjoy reading about it, I actally enjoyed this article. Good job.

  12. chrataxe

    Awesome article.

    I did read quite a bit, but I also skimmed quite a bit, so if you covered this, I apologize, but Judge has a ton of synergy with Pokegear and J/A. It makes it harder to judge yourself into a hand you can’t get out of. But, what makes Judge money in this deck isn’t your opponent’s ability to recover, it’s your ability take a few quick prizes after a well timed judge while they struggle to set up. If you can take a quick 4 prizes with one Zekrom, it’s a pretty easy match. And, Judge paired with Juniper is pretty awesome since Judge will drop your hand to a small size so you can discard fewer cards and if you have a crap hand, Juniper thins your deck so much that late game judges make it harder screw yourself.

    I will say, the fact that you even mentioned Pokegear is a true show of you knowledge. I’ve been running it in my list since the day the deck came out and I swear by it….and, I was totally unaware the the Canadian Nats Champ ran it.

    Awesome article all around…

    • Tamao Cameron  → chrataxe

      Yeah I do see that, and have tried it but often found hands after judging to be a bit too lacklustre for my liking.  I will give that a well timed Judge after an early setup and lead can devastate though.

  13. Steven Nilsen

    Couldn’t manage the time to watch the match ups, but the rest was nicely organized.  I think, perhaps, a little too much detail?  However, I guess deck lists are great fun for some.

  14. Ross Gilbert

    Excellent article dude, very detailed and a wealth of information! Loving the length too, sometimes you just need a huge article.

    One question though: You see yourself as the Zekrom guy, you say how good the deck is and how you’ve done so much testing and see it as awesome etc. But you didn’t play it at the tournament you went to. Also when discussing Worlds decks you would play your first thought is Yanmega / Magnezone with a Zekrom teched in. Why would not back up saying how awesome it is by playing it?

    Sorry, not trolling or anything, i was just suprised that after such a thoughtful and detailed article explaining fully the merits of the deck you then say how you didn’t play it and wouldn’t at worlds

    • Tamao Cameron  → Ross

      No problem man, I did say I would use either Yanmega Magnezone or Zekrom with Umbreon, and realistically, I’ve done a lot more testing with the Zekrom/Umbreon so I think I would have actually aligned towards that on the day.  Also the tournament I went to I didn’t have the cards for Zekrom at all.  I haven’t really invested in this format much due to the fact that I won’t be playing in it at all so I’m saving it all for the deck I need to build for Prague.  The deck I took to that tournament on the day was just random good metagame counter cards really, anything I could find in my binder.  Even had a useless 1-1 Yanmega line in there just to fill the space lol ;)

      • Ross Gilbert  → Tamao

        I’m STILL trying to find a flight t Prague! I can only find one Friday morning or Sunday morning! Found a flight back but that’s not enough on it’s own :p

        • Tamao Cameron  → Ross

          Yeah we had to settle with going on a thursday, was quite hard to find the right flight :/  Sounds like it’s getting a lot of interest from the UK though which is great! (More points to bring back to the UK too, so more chance of getting to worlds)

  15. Victor Aung

    Uh, defender doesn’t negate your recoil. Says so right on the card .-.

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