Nothing But “The Truth”

Hey guys, it is Sam Liggett here with another article. “The Truth,” also known as “The Ross Deck” has many different names and variations, but it is typically a deck featuring Vileplume UD and Reuniclus BLW. Ross Cawthon placed 2nd at the TCG World Championships this past August with this deck, and just blew everyone away with such an unusual combination of sixty cards. Here is a basic list for “The Truth.”

Pokémon – 26

3 Oddish UD

2 Gloom UD

2 Vileplume UD

3 Solosis BLW

2 Duosion BLW

2 Reuniclus BLW

2 Phanpy HS

2 Donphan Prime

2 Zekrom BLW

1-1 Suicune & Entei LEGEND

1 Chansey HS

1 Blissey Prime

1 Cleffa HS

1 Pichu HS

Trainers – 23

4 Pokémon Collector

4 Twins

4 Cheren

4 Pokémon Communication

4 Rare Candy

3 Copycat

Energy – 11

4 Rainbow

4 Double Colorless

3 F

cartoonstock.comThere it is. The strategy for “The Truth” changes for every matchup, but typically you will want to start setting up the same way every game. You want to bench two Oddish and two Solosis at the same time via either Pokémon Collector or Pichu’s “Playground” attack. The reasoning behind this is that you need to set up both a Vileplume and a Reuniclus, and if you bench just one Solosis or just one Oddish, it is a likely target for Pokémon Catcher or “Linear Attack” from a Yanmega Prime during your opponent’s next turn.

If you bench your Solosis or Oddish one at a time turn after turn, they will just continue to be targeted and Knocked Out. Ideally, you want to use “Playground” to search out Oddish, Oddish, Solosis, Solosis, and Phanpy. In the following turns, just focus on setting up Vileplume and Reuniclus, followed by Donphan.

Now I will explain each card’s uses in a bit more detail.


2 Vileplume: There are two in case one is prized. Vileplume’s “Allergy Flower” states that neither player can play Trainer Cards. This means that once you set up Vileplume, your opponent cannot play setup cards such as Rare Candy and Pokémon Communication, nor can they play cards that might help them to score knock outs such as Pokémon Catcher and PlusPower.

2 Gloom: Evolves into Vileplume.

3 Oddish: Evolves into Gloom. Three are played because you really want to bench two at the same time, even if one is prized.

2 Reuniclus: Reuniclus’ “Damage Swap” allows you to move around the damage counters on your field in any way you like. This ability is amazing and can be used for a variety of purposes such as moving damage off of your active Pokémon to deny your opponent knock outs, moving damage counters to one of your Pokémon to Knock it Out to either free up a bench spot or to activate Twins, powering up Zekrom’s “Outrage,” and to prevent Pokémon on your bench from being sniped by dangers such as Yanmega Prime’s “Linear Attack.”

2 Duosion: Evolves into Reuniclus.

3 Solosis: Evolves into Duosion. Three are played because you really want to bench two at the same time, even if one is prized.

2 Donphan Prime: Donphan is one of your main attackers. Not many Pokémon can Knock Out Donphan Prime in one hit, so the turn after they attack you, you just spread the damage around to your benched Pokémon with “Damage Swap” and Donphan has full HP once again. “Earthquake” also serves the purpose of putting damage on your field if your opponent does not want to take any prizes early.

2 Zekrom: Zekrom is in the deck for two main purposes. With 130 HP on a Basic, Zekrom is pretty hefty and can hold up to 120 damage. Secondly, “Outrage” can do up to 140 damage for just the cost of a Double Colorless Energy. Zekrom is your go to guy when playing against Gothitelle or Yanmega Prime decks, seeing as he can one shot Gothitelle if you have 110 damage on Zekrom and Yanmega if you have just 40 damage on Zekrom.

1-1 Suicune & Entei LEGEND: Suicune & Entei LEGEND has a massive 160 HP, though it has weakness to both Water and Lightning Pokémon. “Bursting Inferno” can Knock Out Reshiram, Typhlosion Prime, and Emboar in one hit. This gives you a huge advantage versus these two versions of Reshiram decks. “Bursting Inferno” can also be used primarily to burn your opponent’s Pokémon in some matchups. “Torrent Blade” is a very powerful move that allows you to do 100 damage to one of your opponent’s benched Pokémon. This can be a great way to take your last prize or two.

1 Blissey Prime: Blissey Prime is very situational. The list above does not include any Seeker, so you get to use Blissey’s Poké-power only once. Its Poké-power allows you to remove all of the damage counters from all of your Pokémon, but then you must discard the Energy attached to those Pokémon that you heal. You can heal nearly 600 damage from your field in one Blissey drop, just be careful because you only get to use “Blissful Nurse” during the one turn that you evolve into Blissey.

1 Chansey: Evolves into Blissey Prime.

1 Pichu: Pichu can retreat for zero Energy cost, can attack for zero Energy cost, and has a Poké-body that can allow you to stall for a turn (possibly). I would not make it a habit to rely on “Sweet Sleeping Face” to buy you a turn, but it is definitely a nice bonus to Pichu as a card. The main reason Pichu is in the deck is for “Playground” which allows you to search your deck for as many Basic Pokémon as you like and place them on your bench, but be aware that your opponent may do the same.

1 Cleffa: Honestly, I have played at least one Cleffa in every deck since the rotation. There is no reason not to. Having the ability to come back from a hand that would have net you a loss in a couple turns to having a playable hand is just too good for the one spot that it takes up. Again, “Sweet Sleeping Face” is a nice bonus, and free Retreat Cost is phenomenal, but the main reason for Cleffa is to use “Eeeeeeek” to try to get a better hand.


4 Pokémon Collector: Four are played for better chances in getting one in your opening hand. Usually your first Pokémon Collector will be used to grab either Pichu or Cleffa depending on your hand.

4 Twins: With this deck, you will fall behind early almost every game and then make a comeback later. Twins helps you to set up all of the pieces that have to be arranged to get the deck to work, primarily Vileplume and Reuniclus. Twins is also great for grabbing Double Colorless Energy or Rainbow Energy.

4 Cheren: Cheren is sweet, simple, and to the point. Draw three cards. I opted to play Cheren over Sage’s Training because I did not like having to make the decision to discard (or not to discard) a piece of Suicune & Entei LEGEND or a Chansey early game, just to have it come back to bite me later. Either supporter is viable though, it is just personal preference. You do need some Supporter that lets you draw cards however.

4 Pokémon Communication: These also help to search out Vileplume and Reuniclus early and set them up. Late game they are not that useful seeing as you should have Vileplume in play by then, but they are great for trading Pokémon in and out of your hand and your deck to try to piece together the setup that you want.

4 Rare Candy: I opted to play four to maximize the chances of drawing into one or two early game. In comparison to Mewlock, where once you can use Twins you only need Rare Candy and Vileplume to have the lock in play, in “The Truth” you need two Rare Candy, Vileplume, and Reuniclus to have the ideal lock set up. Because of this, I play more Rare Candy so that I might have one at least and be able to Twins for two of the three other cards I need to set up the lock as soon as possible.

3 Copycat: Copycat is the shuffle and draw Supporter that I chose to use. Professor Oak’s New Theory is another viable option. While Cheren is a good straight draw Supporter, sometimes you just honestly have a bad hand and need shuffle it back into your deck and draw a completely new hand.


4 Rainbow Energy: Rainbow Energy serves two primary purposes. It helps to get damage on your board to power up Zekrom’s “Outrage,” and it provides Energy for Donphan, Zekrom, and Suicune & Entei LEGEND.

4 Double Colorless Energy: Many Pokémon in this deck have a high Retreat Cost. Phanpy, Vileplume, Chansey, Blissey Prime, and Reuniclus can all retreat at the cost of a Double Colorless Energy. Double Colorless Energy is also used to power Zekrom’s “Outrage” and Suicune & Entei LEGEND’s “Bursting Inferno.”

3 F Energy: Seeing as Donphan is usually the Pokémon that you are going to want to attack with first after Pichu or Cleffa, you want to have the energy available to you to use its attacks. With more F Energy, there is also a better chance of getting to use “Heavy Impact,” which can be great late game.

Now that all of the cards have been introduced and explained, I will elaborate a bit on the matchups. I’m not going to give my opinion just how favorable each matchup is, because I don’t feel like I have had enough testing to give an accurate rating of each matchup.

I like to play ten games in each matchup before giving a numeric rating of each matchup, and I have not played ten games with every one of the following matchups. I will however explain how I would go about playing against each deck.



In this matchup, Suicune & Entei LEGEND is the key. You want to set up Vileplume and Reuniclus as always, and set up Donphan to hold off the Reshirams while you get Suicune & Entei LEGEND ready for battle. “Bursting Inferno” can Knock Out both Typhlosion and Reshiram in just one hit, and they cannot return the Knock Out under normal circumstances. You want to stack up Suicune & Entei LEGEND with ample amounts of Energy and beware that Typhlosion may discard your Double Colorless Energy or Rainbow Energy with “Flare Destroy.”

Also, beware of Black Belt if your opponent lets you get ahead of them in Prize cards. A “Blue Flare” with a Black Belt will Knock Out your Suicune & Entei LEGEND and put you in a very bad spot.


Playing against Gothitelle is sort of like playing a passive game of checkers. Both players are going to be spreading the damage around, and neither is going to want to have their attackers Knocked Out. Vileplume is even more important in this matchup than others, because Trainer lock hinders your opponent more than it hinders you. Although Gothitelle blocks your Trainers, they still run Pokémon Catcher and will use them against you if you do not set up Vileplume.

Beware of your opponent loading Gothitelle up with enough P Energy to one shot you. The best way to approach this matchup is to wait until you can move 220 damage to two different Zekrom one right after the other. Then you can one shot two Gothitelle two turns in a row.

Typically, they should be able to respond to having one Gothitelle Knocked Out, but if you can Knock Out two in a row you will be in a very good spot and can “Torrent Blade” for your last couple of prizes if they Knock Out both of your Zekrom.


Vileplume UDpokebeach.comThis matchup is fairly straightforward. Survive for the first five turns of the game and get the lock in play, and you should be good to go. After getting Vileplume, Reuniclus, and a Donphan in play, unless they play a tech, you should have a pretty easy time winning this matchup. Spread the damage around on your bench and just attack turn after turn with Donphan.

The most that a Zekrom can do to Donphan is 100 damage, and the most that Tornadus can do is 60, but watch out for having too much damage add up on your field. Blissey is very important if this should happen because you can “Blissful Nurse” to remove all of the damage from your field. Attaching enough Energy to use “Heavy Impact” every turn is a good idea too, and keep track of time, you do not want to lose on time.


Well this can be tough depending on how well each of you can set up. As little sense as it makes at first, I say start attacking Yanmega with Donphan early. They will have to Knock you Out with Magnezone using “Lost Burn” to send four Energy to the Lost Zone. If your opponent leaves no Energy on their active Magnezone, then send up your second Donphan and “Earthquake” two turns in a row for the Knock Out.

If your opponent leaves at least one Energy on their active, then send up Zekrom with 120 damage and “Outrage” for the Knock Out. Ensure that all of your benched Pokémon have at least 50 HP remaining at all times, or else your benched Pokémon will be perfect targets for “Linear Attack.” Your opponent will be forced to “Lost Burn” 8 Energy to Knock Out two Donphan.

After that, if you have any Zekrom left, using “Outrage” for 40 damage a turn is a pretty safe play. Unless your opponent can get the last three Energy in play (Assuming your opponent plays the standard of 11), then you should be able to attack with Zekrom for the remainder of the game.

If your opponent can get the last three Energy, and Knock Out your last Zekrom, then just send up Suicune & Entei LEGEND to sweep for your last couple of prizes.


pokebeach.comYou do not necessarily need Vileplume in this matchup. The resources required to set it up would be better spent on setting up other Pokémon, but if you want to play it safe, then go ahead and set up Vileplume. Try to save Double Colorless Energy to use to retreat when your opponent uses “Sludge Drag” on a benched Pokémon with two retreat or more (usually Reuniclus).

Only set up one Donphan, and send it up to become your active Pokémon as soon as you evolve so that it cannot be “Sludge Dragged.” Donphan can Knock Out Mew in one hit and Yanmega in two to three, so just watch out for the “Sludge Drag” on Reuniclus; you will need to retreat it right away.

Setting up two Reuniclus is actually not at bad idea at all if you just want the extra security. Ensure that your benched Pokémon have at least 50 HP left at all times so that they are not Knocked Out by “Linear Attack.”

Although I have provided a basic list above for “The Truth,” depending on your metagame, you may need a tech to help you to improve a specific matchup. I have accumulated a list of some of my favorite techs and why they could be helpful.


1-1 Dodrio UD: As I mentioned before, a lot of Pokémon in this deck have a fairly hefty Retreat Cost. If retreating is a problem, or if Mewlock is popular in your area, I definitely suggest running a 1-1 Dodrio line for its Poké-body, “Retreat Aid,” which allows all of your Pokémon to retreat for two less Energy if Dodrio is on your bench.

1-1 Steelix Prime: Steelix is an idea I originally saw when watching Pooka streaming live games of him playing on Pokémon TCG Online. (By the way, I highly suggest watching this stream. Getting insight into how a National Champion thinks and plays is a great way to learn). Steelix has 140 HP, a massive amount, so he can absorb a lot of damage.

pokebeach.comSteelix also helps if you find yourself running out of Energy late game due to its “Energy Stream” attack which does 30 damage for two Energy and lets you search your discard pile for an Energy Card and attach it to Steelix. Its second attack, “Gaia Crush,” does 100 damage and you may discard a Stadium Card in play. Steelix is also resistant to Gothitelle and cannot be affected by special conditions due to its Poké-body. All of this makes Steelix Prime a great tech for “The Truth.”

1 Rotom UD: “The Truth” runs quite a few different Pokémon lines, but none of the lines are all that thick. The chances of prizing a Pokémon you might need are somewhat high, and Rotom just offers you a possibility to fish out that Pokémon from your Prize cards.

Rotom also offers the option of sniping with its “Plasma Arrow” attack. Though it is ambiguously staed on the card, this attack lets you choose one of your opponent’s Pokémon and do 20 damage for each Energy attached to that Pokémon, and the damage is done to that Pokémon.

Seeker: I opted to play more set up Trainers and Supporters than to play cards like Seeker that can really swing a matchup late game. Seeker is a great card that lets you pick up one of your benched Pokémon and put it into your hand. You can Seeker Blissey Prime and use its Poké-power again, or you can Seeker a Pokémon with Energy that you would like to attach somewhere else. I would not suggest playing any more than two.

+1-1 Donphan Prime: If you feel like a 2-2 line is not enough for what you would like to accomplish, or if you feel that you would be more comfortable with a heavier line, playing a 3-3 Donphan line is not a bad idea at all. Even playing a 3-2 line, Phanpy can do 60 damage for one Energy or 120 damage on Lightning weak Pokémon, so keep that in mind.


I hope that you all have learned something from reading this article. Whether you decide to play “The Truth” for Regionals or not, I just wanted to put it out there and give you all the option. “The Truth” is a good deck and would be a fine choice for Regionals.

Just remember that no matter what you are up against, if your opponent cannot Knock you Out in one hit, you should have a pretty positive matchup. If they can, then you might not do so well. Keep that in mind when deciding whether or not to play this deck.

Thank you for reading, and constructive criticism is appreciated as always. Please remember to rate this article and/or leave a comment!

Reader Interactions

22 replies

  1. Oliver Barnett

    i’m personally a fan of KGL in the Ross build but then each to their own i guess :)

    • Victor Sobralske  → beyblade1410

      Lost to Pooka because of Steelix at a BR. He was running Steelix, time ran out, was winning but needed to take one more prize to win.

  2. Colin Peterik

    -1 Fighting, +1 Fire.
    Otherwise you lose to Scizor.
    Also probably 1 Seeker would be good to add.
    Love this deck.

      • Sam Liggett  → Colin

        I did not. It is a great card, especially in this deck, but the fact that they are at over $100 right now, I don’t think that they are all that much better that I should advise all of my readers to go snatch them up. If you have one, play it. If not, then it’s not that big of a deal, and there are plenty of other cards that you could play instead. 

    • Sam Liggett  → Colin

      Scizor is a difficult matchup, but it was not at the top of my list for decks to look out for at regionals. A fire might help the matchup, but I think that simply attacking with Donphan multiple times is not a bad play.

  3. joshua wilson

    darkrai cresselia can be a great counter to the mirror, or even gothitelle as well

  4. Anonymous

    Another vanilla article about a deck that’s been discussed to death. A for effort but it didn’t really shine anything new on the archetype. You could have went into detail about cheren vs sages or the addition of tropical beach. 
    Also important it the matchup against a suprise black belt that you may face at regionals. Not going to dislike, but I feel that you could have added a lot more depth into the article as opposed to net decking ross’s list (for the most part) and offering matchups that he himself has already explained in his tournament report.

    • Mekkah  → Anonymous

      I agree with this. I also don’t agree that setting up Vileplume against MewLock is a “safe” play at all,  they don’t play any Trainers other than Communication and Candy, so why bother? Depending on how the game goes you might not even want to use Reuniclus, instead focusing on aggressive Zekrom or Donphan.

      Vs MegaZone, you’re advising to use your best Pokemon against them first. What you actually want to do is get them to waste their Energy killing Zekroms, and THEN use Donphan to Heavy Impact every turn. Each Zekrom costs 3 Energy, each Donphan costs 4, so they generally won’t be able to kill the last one.

      • Sam Liggett  → Mekkah

        As far as the Mew matchup, I have seen some lists that run Catchers or other surprise Trainers. I mentioned that I wouldn’t suggest setting up Vileplume, but if anyone would like to eliminate all possibilities of their opponent playing a surprise Trainer, I don’t think that it would be a horrendous play.

        And yes, versus Megazone your method is a solid one as well. I feel that either way would be a fine way of approaching the game.

    • Sam Liggett  → Anonymous

      I didn’t “net deck” Ross’s list. I heard what major Pokemon were in the deck and I created my own deck. I felt like these matchups were some of the most common that you might run into at Regionals; that is why they were included. I did mention that as long as your opponent doesn’t surprise you with a Black Belt you should be okay but to watch out for it. I’m sorry that you didn’t get more out of the article, but it was meant to be sort of a basis of how the deck works; not necessarily an in depth complete analysis.

  5. Marcel Mravec

    Great article, can you post exact link with steelix prime video? I have gone through many of them and I have failed at searching it :(

    • Sam Liggett  → Marcel

      It’s not a link to a certain video. It’s just a website where you can watch Pooka play LIVE games. 

  6. beyblade1410

    I don’t understand why theres no PONT or JUNIPER in here?

    • Sam Liggett  → beyblade1410

      I opted to run Copycat instead because with Vileplume in play, your opponent’s hand is likely to accumulate a lot of unusable trainers and have a large hand. This means that Copycat should net you more cards than PONT or Juniper a lot of the time.

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