Lugia Landorus – Deck Analysis and 3rd Place Regionals Report

Hey fellow Pokémon trainers! Today my job is to convince you that despite what you may have thought or heard, Lugia Landorus is an amazing deck in the current format – so good I would consider it one of the best decks at the moment! The key is to construct it and play it the right way, and I’m going to hopefully help give you an idea of how to do that.

My name is Myles and I’m from Canberra Australia, you may have read my article from around this time last year “Playing Anti-Meta: Introducing EX Corners.” In a similar vein, I am posting this article because I think Lugia Landorus hasn’t gotten anywhere near the attention it deserves.

Recently I competed in our Canberra Regional Championship, and went 6-0 with the deck in best-of-3 Swiss. In the top cut (top 8) I won my first round before losing my second – giving me a total run of 7-1. I hope this will help convince you that you should give this deck a chance!

The Concept

lugia ex plasma storm pls 108pokemon-paradijs.comLugia/Landorus is a deck entirely based around setting up early Lugia EX kills. The deck functions by setting up quickly and easily and by making favorable Prize exchanges throughout the game. The early game utilises Landorus-EX and Hypnotoxic Lasers to get damage on the field, putting EXs into range of the 120 damage that either Lugia or Bouffalant can deal out.

By setting up Lugia early, you put your opponent in a very dangerous situation for the rest of the game and give yourself many opportunities to win. The deck is very versatile, and although you won’t start the same way each game – all of your starts are strong and scary to the majority of decks against you.

What sets this deck apart from Lugia/Tornadus or other variants is that its focus is heavily on the idea of setting up Lugia for kills, rather than just running similar Pokémon alongside. That’s the key to having a good Lugia deck mentality, think of all cards as either setting up things to be killed for 120 damage or doing 120 damage to take advantage of those set ups.

The Decklist

This is the decklist I used at Regionals and I believe it is a solid template for a successful Lugia Landorus deck in any meta.

Pokémon – 8

2 Lugia EX

3 Landorus-EX

3 Bouffalant DRX

Trainers – 38

4 Professor Juniper

4 N

4 Skyla

3 Colress

1 Random Receiver


4 Colress Machine

4 Hypnotoxic Laser

4 Catcher

3 Escape Rope

2 Switch

1 Ultra Ball

1 Energy Search

1 Computer Search


2 Virbank Gym

Energy – 14

6 F

4 Double Colorless

4 Plasma

Rationale For Chosen Cards

bouffalant-dragons-exalted-drx-110Bouffalant is a controversial choice in this deck and yet it is one of the most essential cards overall. The reason Bouffalant works so well in this deck is easy, it hits for the same magic number as Lugia.

Since Landorus/Lasers are being used in the deck to put everything within range of 120 – Bouffalant is the perfect back-up to Lugia. Lugia gains a Prize lead by taking 3 Prizes against an EX to the 2 it gives, in the same way Bouffalant does the same by taking 2 Prizes from an EX and giving up only 1 – both are favorable trades.

Add to that its tenacity with Bouffer and it is a very important card in the deck.

The high Supporter count is essential as this deck takes Prizes quickly and is easily crippled by N. Being able to draw back into your Supporters is vital to survival in this deck so a high count is necessary. A “Skyla toolbox” of sorts is also used with Skyla/Computer Search/Ultra Ball/ Energy Search acting as way to get the one last card you need for any combo at any time – facilitating the decks need to be versatile.

Scramble Switch is a great alternative to Computer Search in this deck, but the consistency and versatility of Computer Search is just too good to pass up in my opinion.

The low Ultra Ball count is also something often commented on, and my main response is that the deck realistically often doesn’t need many Pokémon out and you inevitably draw into more before you need Ultra Ball. This is just something I’ve found in my extensive testing of the deck – extra Ultra Balls really don’t help much.

I always find it amazing how much resistance the inclusion of Hypnotoxic Laser gets in Lugia decks. The common cry is: “Lugia gets less benefit from Laser because it doesn’t score extra Prizes when a Pokémon is killed by poison between turns.” This couldn’t be a more misguided statement, as Hypnotoxic Laser is actually (in my opinion) the most important card to complement Lugia EX.

The number one thing is to realise that Lasers are there for the early game – they are there to set up damage on Pokémon before you attack them, putting them into range of Plasma Gale.

Their usefulness is this is unbelievable, and you really just need to use it to understand it. Even when you do use lasers late game to finish a Pokémon off after using Plasma Gale – you miss out on an extra Prize, but in most cases that is a small issue while the ability to remove a threat from the board can be priceless.

escape-rope-plasma-storm-120The final interesting card choice of note is Escape Rope – a card I believe is highly under-rated in the current format. Escape Rope, aka Warp Point, is both a Switch and a poorman’s Catcher at the same time.

The core beauty to Escape Rope is that in most cases you can assume your opponent will have the Pokémon they want to be Active as their Active. This truth means that whenever you can mess with that, you waste them resources and time.

In many early and late game scenarios where your opponent has only 1 benched Pokémon Escape Rope also acts exactly like a Catcher – the power of having effectively 8 Catchers in your deck for these moments is amazing.

This is particularly true for Lugia EX which thrives off sniping things for extra Prizes – as well as filling the mandatory quota for anti-Laser/Catcher switching cards.

Variants and Why I Recommend This Version

I won’t go into too much detail about techs here as there is much that can be said and a lot can be dependent on local metagames. However as I see it there are three main viable variants for Lugia Landorus decks. After getting feedback and ideas on the SixPrizes forums, I have tested a variety and found some to work better than others.

I believe the list above is the best universally, but for your meta things might be different.

1. The first version of the deck is the ultra-aggressive version seen above. It uses Lasers heavily and in doing so allows you to grab Prizes whenever and however you can.

2. Varying from this is the conservative version which seeks to keep Lugia EX and Landorus-EX alive against their opponents. Using Aspertia Gym as well as Eviolite facilitates this, and gives you extra turns of life (or wastes more energy and resources from your opponent).

The problem with these extra turns of life is that without the extra damage from lasers (which you can’t fit in) you end up using those extra turns to do the same amount of damage anyway, but give your opponent more space to react.

3. Another version of the deck gets rid of Bouffalant and Lasers and defensive cards in exchange for lots of Ultra Balls, F Energy, and Supporters to maximise consistency and to rush out Landorus and Lugia.

The problem with this variant is that while it can be more consistent, it loses its versatility and when the opponent messes with your numbers in any way (healing, Eviolite, Resistance, etc.) you fall apart.

Main Matchups

I wont go into all of the possible matchups here as the format is so diverse and filled with interesting semi-viable rogues or alternate versions of decks, but I’ll try and cover the main hard hitters.

60 – 40 vs. Rayeels

landorus ex boundaries crossed 89Rayeels is a strong deck and a tough matchup. Their ability to 1HKO any of your Pokémon in a single turn is very scary. However the matchup is swung in your favor through the power of Landorus-EX against Tynamos, if you get swinging early they often can’t recover in time.

40 – 60 vs. Blastoise

While Landorus-EX is a boon against Eels, it is a curse against Blastoise. Its Water Weakness makes this matchup a difficult one. Squirtle’s Shell Shield ability is also a pain and makes stopping your opponent getting a Blastoise difficult thing to do.

The best strategy against Blastoise decks is to focus mostly on Bouffalant and Lugia, only benching at most one Landorus-EX (who is still an excellent starter). By trading for Prizes well with these two the game is still easily winnable.

60 – 40 vs. Tornadus Mewtwo

Tornadus Mewtwo or any variant there of tends to feel a little like a mirror match at times. However the energy acceleration and power of Lugia EX tends to push these matchups in your favor.

70 – 30 vs. Darkrai

Landorus-EX is the key to this matchup and realistically every Pokémon you have is a huge pain for Darkrai to deal with. The hardest Darkrai decks to face are heavy hammer variants, but given the current meta those don’t do very well – so they matchup is nicely in your favor.

30 – 70 vs. Plasmaklang

klinklang plasma storm pls 90pokemon-paradijs.comThis deck is not at all teched against Plasmaklang. If you think its popular in your meta I advise against playing this deck. You can win the matchup by getting enough Prizes before they get a Klinklang out and then finishing with Bouffalant as best you can, alternatively you can just stall and hurt them with Lasers and try and get them to deck out.

If you are worried about this matchup you can improve it by including a teched Aspertia Gym or some Large Cloaks – both of which will push Bouffalant out of being 1HKO’d by Cobalion-EX.

Regionals Report

I’m afraid the report side of this article will be slim, I’ve mainly included it so you can get an idea (and perhaps some evidence) that the deck is viable against meta decks in the current format.

This tournament was the first regional tournament Canberra has ever had, and it was also our biggest tournament to date with an awesome turnout of 35 Masters with a huge turnout from other States, including large groups from Brisbane and Sydney.

As is standard for Australian tournaments, all our games were best of 3. With the majority of players having travelled to be at this tournament it was an unusually competitive group, with a very high number of tier 1-2 decks.

Swiss Round 1 – vs. Roxanne with Crobat Mewtwo

Roxanne ran a very good poison deck and both of our games were very close – something which became a common theme throughout the tournament for me. She got very unlucky in our first game, Junipering for 7-of her last 11 cards and whiffing on the last switch in her deck that she needed to win.

My deck’s setup was slower than usual in these games, making it very tense throughout.

Result: 2-0
Standing: 1-0

Swiss Round 2 – vs. Ashley with Darkrai

hypnotoxic laser plasma storm pls 123pokemon-paradijs.comAshley runs a very competitive Darkrai deck with Lasers, which he ended up coming in 4th after top cut. Our games were tough throughout, but the power of Landorus-EX was just too strong, putting way too much damage on the field and giving me the match.

Result: 2-0
Standing: 2-0

Swiss Round 3 – vs. Bori with Blastoise

Bori is a fellow Canberra pokemon player, and I owed most of the cards in my deck to her. I knew Blastoise was a tough matchup, and was reminded of the fact even moreso when she steamrolled over me in the first game, getting set up and doing way too much damage for me to deal with.

In the second and third game however the tides turned and I was able to comeback and snatch victory from her. In one game this was done through Lugia EX and Bouffalant, in another through using Landorus-EX and HTL to kill Squritles one by one and stop her from ever getting Blastoise out.

Unfortunately for me, this was not the last I would see of Bori’s deck.

Result: 2-1
Standing: 3-0

Swiss Round 4 – vs. Sameer with Rayeels

Sameer is another close friend and fellow Canberra player. His Rayeels was another scary sight to face (placing 6th after top cut), but I knew I had the type advantage and made sure to press it. Sure enough, using Landorus-EX to deny Eelectrics as often as possible, the deck fell under its own weight. Little was I to know that I was about to be seeing a fair few more eels.

Result: 2-1
Standing: 4-0

Swiss Round 5 – vs. Paul with Rayeels

tynamo-noble-victories-nvi-38-no-watermarkpokemon-paradijs.comPaul’s Rayeels turned out to be a harder nut for me to crack than Sameer’s. He had teched a single Zekrom into his deck, allowing him to dangerously 1HKO Lugia EX. Dealing with this threat allowed him to get his eels out, giving him an easy game one victory.

Unlike playing against Sameer I was unable to start with Landorus-EX but instead got off turn 1 Plasma Gale’s both games (unfortunately both times against Rayquaza EXs). In the second game I continued the momentum and was able to grab a victory.

The final game came down to time in the first few turns and I was able to kill a Tynamo with Lugia EX for 2 Prizes. Paul was left with no way to match me in Prizes, despite having a better set up. Paul ended swiss 5-1 and came 5th after top cut.

Result: 2-1
Standing: 5-0

Swiss Round 6 – vs. Bodhi with Rayeels

Another run into Rayeels and I wasn’t sure whether this was lucky or not. Bodhi also ran a Zekrom tech in his deck, but against him I was lucky enough to start with Landorus-EX. He was able to take a game off of me, but with some bad luck in his final game the power of Landorus-EX overcame his deck.

By this point I was pretty tired but very stoked to have done so well. Bodhi ended up coming 7th after top cut.

Result: 2-1
Standing: 6-0

Top 8 – vs. James with Lugia Landorus Tornadus

Relieved to be against something other than eels, but also very nervous to be in top cut I faced James in top 8. We ran what was essentially a mirror, however his deck was more teched against Blastoise, including: Tornadus, Aspertia, Eviolite and Scramble Switch – but lacking Lasers.

These games were fast paced and devastating. In game one he got off a T2 Plasma Gale for KO on my own half powered Lugia, giving him 3 Prizes and leaving me with no set up. However through a lucky N and good HTL flips I was able to set up a couple of Bouffalants and win the game off of them alone.

The following games were ridiculously tight and came down largely to luck of the draw. Landorus had problems with resistance from Lugia and Tornadus, but I feel my deck still had the edge through its use of Lasers, which gave it much more flexibility in when and where it could take Prizes. Knocking Out James put him at 8th place and left me on my 7-0 match winning streak.

Result: 2-1
Standing: 7-0

Top 4 – vs. Bori with Blastoise

blastoise plasma storm pls 137pokemon-paradijs.comMy winning streak ended when I faced Bori’s deck once again. This time I wasn’t so lucky in denying her Blastoises. In game one she was able to get a T2 donk on my lone Landorus with a T2 Keldeo and Blastoise (after I had killed one of her Squirtles on T1).

In the second game I fared no better though having massive support droughts. Bori was slow to set up too and I almost snatched a victory by using Lugia to kill a laser-weakened Keldeo and just needing a DCE & laser to kill a Black Kyurem for the other 3 Prizes.

Unfortunately it was not to be as Bori eventually set up and I was unable to draw a Supporter. An anticlimactic end to such a successful tournament, but Supporter droughts happen to all decks, and in the end that’s just how the game goes.

Bori went on to win the tournament overall, thankfully winning Canberra Regionals for the home team. Although I was disappointed to have missed out on an attempt to go 9-0 with my deck, I was very happy to see Bori win and she definitely deserved it. I was also very happy to place 3rd overall and think it is a testament to the versatility and strength of the deck I was using.

Result: 0-2
Standing: 7-1 (3rd place)


Lugia + Landorus (+ Bouffalant) should be considered a T1 deck for most metas at the moment. It has a huge amount of versatility and strength, crushing meta, anti-meta and rouge decks alike. Give it a try, and make sure to use it with Bouffalant and Lasers as they really do make the difference.

I’d like to thank the entire Canberra Pokémon community, as well as the Australian community at large. The turn out for Canberra’s biggest tournament ever was amazing and it was a fantastic day!

Lots of gratitude toward all the players who came from interstate to play in the tournament, it would have been nothing without you all. Special props to Sameer, Shanan and Bori for lending me the majority of the cards needed for the deck and to Bori for her first place finish!

Reader Interactions

23 replies

  1. Anthony Vyse Smith

    Very well played Myles.

    I still wonder which variation of Lugia is the best, but it may be as you say – It can be meta dependent. James and I played identical lists at Sydney Regionals the next day and I faced Quad-Sigilyph in the first round and died, Whilst he powered through to top cut and place 4th.

    I feel your list has a much better chance against Anti-EX decks. I also beat every Keldeo/Blastoise deck I faced in Sydney, which as you pointed out, reflects the difference in the styles.

    • Myles O’Neill  → Anthony

      Yeah Quad Sig is a bit tricky to deal with too. I think the list in general can be screwed over by a few anti-meta style decks like that, but in a tournament like Canberra’s where there were a lot of top tier decks it thrived.

      The Keldeo/Blastoise matchup is an interesting one that I’d like to explore further with the deck – I feel like it could be closer to 50-50 with a few minor tweaks. I do think James’ list (while obviously very good) was lacking without lasers. I think a hybrid between the two variants could be better overall.

  2. Tyler Kittelson-Burke

    Very helpful insight on the new deck. Although I noticed some misspellings in the text, it was overall a great article. P.S. Congrats on third!

    • Myles O’Neill  → Tyler

      Yeah, I wrote up the whole thing the night of the tournament and only ran through it a couple of times. Glad you liked the insight though!

  3. Ed Mapletoft

    I faced a Lugia/Emboar/Landorous deck at my local tournament, it runs at masters T1/T2 level and it was a decent matchup to anything it faced, placing 3rd in 212 and securing a booster box of PS, however he used Inferno Fandango to put energy on lugia for Sableye and other low HP KOs and left Landorous active for the most part.

    • Myles O’Neill  → Ed

      I’m very interested in how Emboar was fit into the deck space wise. Its definitely possible to get it in there, but you’d probably have to sacrifice things like lasers and I’m really not sure if the minor convenience in energy attachment would really help, particuarly as you’d have to run Fighting, Fire, and Plasma (and probably DCE too) all together…

  4. Joseph Lee

    An enjoyable and informative article. I fear anti-Pokémon-EX decks will remain popular just because they are sort of a gamble; the cards that counter them most effectively seem to be cards that aren’t run regularly, or in high quantities. It is a bit like Garbodor; preparing for these decks when they don’t show up lowers odds against other decks, while preparing partially leaves you vulnerable if they do show up and not preparing at all is how they can (relatively) easily win a whole tournament.

    If there was something worth running that would preserve the other match-ups and boost the Plasma Steel match to the 40-60 range (at least), I’d be a lot more excited. As is, I think this is going to have to join my queue of decks to experiment with.

    Oh, and in my defense, Hypnotoxic Laser doesn’t do much for Lugia EX donk or decks where the goal is OHKOs with Lugia EX. Just turns out those decks probably weren’t worth running. ;-) I had initially doubted the “spread” strategy, but if it works it works. Makes me wonder if I should give a Deluge backed Lugia EX deck another look; space would be tight but Kyurem NVI should let me hit everything on board for 30 points of damage.

    • Myles O’Neill  → Joseph

      The whole meta vs. antimeta conflict is definitely one of the things which makes pokemon enjoyable and adds a lot of skill to what you run at any one tournament. At Canberra regionals I made the call that there wouldn’t be much anti-meta and I was right. The next day at Sydney regionals it was close to the opposite from what I’m told – so it definitely does vary. I think there will always be space for antimeta decks in a format as long as card combinations allow it.

      As for increasing the plasma steel matchup I’d look at the suggestions I made in the article (aspertia gym + large cloak). If they can’t 1HKO bouffalant with anything you’ve got a good chance of just being able to attack their EXs until you win (especially if you can grab a couple of prizes off of non-steel pokemon in the deck or from before they get plasmaklang out). Running 3 bouffalant really does help here.

      So you know, the lasers comments weren’t just aimed at you – I’ve had a lot of people doubt lasers in Lugia decks and I think its the natural assumption to jump to. I think thats the thing with Lugia, its not a 1HKO pokemon, it needs the set up to work and thats the idea of the deck.

      I would be very interested to see a Deluge Lugia/Kyurem/Keldeo deck. I think it would fare worse generally as Kyurem and Blastoise need so much set up and space in the deck. A lot of Landorus’ power is in its 1 energy cost spread attack. Thats super important as it means you can hit on T1/2/3 which are realistically some of the only times you will actually have a good chance to spread before you need to be taking prizes. In this deck it also helps by creating more time to load up other attackers (without energy acceleration), in Blastoise you wouldn’t have the same problem but with 3W dedicated to Kyurem there may still be difficulty prioritising attachments. I think this deck would have an even worse PlasmaKlang matchup though honestly…

  5. Bori Cser

    Great article, Myles! And after the games I played against Myles, and the Lando/Lugia player the first round of Sydney regionals, I can attest firsthand that for a Blastoise player this deck can be absolutely devastating. A T2 Lugia with multiple plasma energy (which happens more often than you might think) absolutely screws you, as all the Lugia player needs is to catcher-KO 2 Squirtles to effectively have the game won. Also, dat t1 Hammerhead/Laserbank…ouch.

  6. Jack Stensrud

    I don’t know, but my Darkrai/LaserBank deck doesn’t have as bad of a matchup as you put it in my opinion. I was able to win about 4.5 out of 10, as Keldeo EX hits your landoruses for 100, which sets up Night Spears for more magical numbers. This might just be because my friend is still a beginner in amount of time played, but I feel like a experienced Darkrai EX player can survive a game against this style of deck.

    • Myles O’Neill  → Jack

      Darkrai is definitely nothing to be sniffled at, and it can definitely win matches. I think the problem is that it has a hard time taking prizes faster/more efficient than Lugia Landorus. With all three attackers in the deck being major threats to Darkrai, you can focus down some but end up trading slower and losing. Obviously there is also a lot of skill involved, good players will beat bad players in this format often regardless of the deck they are using. Darkrai is particularly flexible, opening up lots of options for skilled players – but then again so is Lugia.

  7. Jacob Golding

    Great to see more articles coming from Australia, and specifically Canberra. Unfortunatley, I was unable to attend the regionals, but congrats on all the locals doing so well :)

  8. Owen Rhoads

    I say you should add a Tornadus EX and some asperita city gyms but great article anyway!

  9. Sarcothin

    You can’t push Bouffalant out of OHKO range of Cobalion EX. Cobalion’s attack ignores all effects on defending pokemon, including Aspertia Gym, Big Cape, Eviolite.

    • J.j. Koosh  → Sarcothin

      Asperta and Big Cape add HP to the pokemon which is not considered an effect the way things like Eviolite, Bouffer or Sigilyphs Safeguard are. In the same way that weakness and resistance are not considered effects (and thus Cobalions attack lists them separately).

      So yes both of these do prevent the OHKO from Steel Bullet.

    • Jak Stewart-Armstead  → Sarcothin

      Aspertia and Giant Cape have an effect upon the HP of the Defending Pokemon. They don’t have any effect on the amount of damage any attack does. Steel Bullet will still do 100 damage, but it won’t OHKO a Bouffalant with Aspertia on the Field because Bouffalant has 120 HP.

  10. John Rosen

    This article helped me a lot with my landy lugia deck. Good job and thanks!

  11. tocwhatever

    How sir do u get around plasma steel and keldeo I have your deck list but I don’t know how to play against it and should I just play hydreigon

  12. James Lancaster

    I would take out one Catcher for one Energy Switch. One Juniper, one N, and one Skyla for three Shauna. And replace Colress with Cheren.

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