In Good Health – Keeping Up with the Old Newcomers from City Championships

nurse joy ash
The format is finally healthy!

City Championships are one of the most exciting times to write about, especially when the format is healthy and wide open. Both deck choice and deck building have a huge impact on a player’s success with new rule changes taking effect on an already diverse format. The first few weeks of City Championships have shown what decks remained viable in addition to putting new decks on the radar.

I have had the opportunity to play in several City Championships. So far I have made Top 8 with Blastoise, Top 8 with Emboar/Rayquaza, and 1st with Gothitelle/Accelgor. I feel like I played very well each day, but deck choice had a huge impact on how I performed. I played Gothitelle/Accelgor on a day only two players decided to play Virizion/Genesect and had lots of success. However, I also made the wrong deck choice another day by playing Emboar/Rayquaza in a field filled Garbodor, which resulted in me winning only half my games.

A lot of a player’s success starts before the tournament begins. Playtesting is definitely time consuming, but it will pay off if you test with quality players. The purpose of playtesting is to understand how the various matchups in the format play out and how techs impact those matchups. There are always people who will lose a game because they are playing the matchup for the first time.

There are other players who will tech for a particular matchup without testing that particular tech. When the tournament rolls around, they often find that their tech had little impact on the matchup. This could be as simple as running only 1 copy of Tool Scrapper to counter Garbodor when your deck is reliant on Abilities.

It is also essential to stay up to date on the metagame as it constantly fluctuates during City Championships. Not being aware of a new deck can easily lead to a loss because you weren’t prepared to face it in a tournament setting. I’ve decided the best way to help players prepare for the rest of City Championships is to go over the new decks that have shown up since Regionals and explain what metagame they fare well in.

Table of Contents


Empoleon had a lot of success in Europe immediately after the rule changes were announced and it has proven itself during City Championships.

Here is an up to date list:

Pokémon – 19

4 Piplup LTR RC6

2 Prinplup LTR

4 Empoleon DEX

2 Duskull BCR
1 Dusknoir BCR

2 Eevee PLF 90
2 Leafeon PLF
1 Mr. Mime PLF
1 Exeggcute PLF

Trainers – 33

3 Professor Juniper
4 N
4 Skyla
1 Colress


4 Rare Candy
3 Ultra Ball
1 Level Ball
2 Silver Bangle
2 Super Rod
2 Escape Rope

2 Max Potion
1 Tool Scrapper
1 Town Map

1 Dowsing Machine


2 Tropical Beach

Energy – 8

8 W

4-2-4 Empoleon DEX
The rule changes really helped this deck.

Empoleon is the main attacker of the deck. Right now Empoleon is strong because it is a non-Pokémon-EX that trades decently with Pokémon-EX. It attacks for 1 Energy card, which means that it is both fast and can work well with Max Potion. It has consistency built in with its Diving Draw Ability. Once you set up a few Empoleon, the deck can draw almost anything it needs and almost never draws poorly off of N.

Empoleon became a relevant deck because of the new rule changes. The deck didn’t have to worry about losing on the first with low HP Pokémon anymore. But the more important change was errata on Pokémon Catcher. Empoleon is a deck that can easily set up Bench-sitters and backup attackers due to the built in consistency of Diving Draw.

However, the deck’s viability was limited because Pokémon such as Dusknoir would always be a target for Pokémon Catcher. The new rule changes gave this deck a breath of life.

The other important thing to note is that there are 2 copies of Prinplup. Since the deck relies on two different Stage 2s, 4 Rare Candy is simply not enough. In order to stream Empoleon and set up Dusknoir on the Bench, it is essential to play Stage 1s in order to not run out of Rare Candy.

2-0-1 Dusknoir BCR

This Pokémon gained so much from the change to Pokémon Catcher. Dusknoir is now much safer on your Bench in addition to being one of the best cards at Knocking Out your opponent’s Benched Pokémon.

Dusknoir is better than Pokémon Catcher for a deck like Empoleon because Attack Command is often very close to Knocking Out a Pokémon-EX. Instead of simply using Attack Command twice for a single Prize card, the Empoleon player has the opportunity to move the extra damage to the Bench. This damage adds up over time and quickly becomes overwhelming since Empoleon only gives up 1 Prize card!

Dusknoir can be a difficult card to play around. It forces you to set up multiple Bench-sitters if you rely on a Pokémon like Blastoise. In addition, Max Potion is less effective against a deck playing Dusknoir. Normally, a player can retreat and draw a copy of Max Potion to remove the damage off of that Pokémon at any time. However, Dusknoir can be used spread that damage to all of your Pokémon in play so that Max Potion only heals 30-40 damage compared to around 120 damage.

It also makes Pokémon such as Jirachi-EX a liability as it is an EX that would normally be safe on the Bench. However, it’s low HP becomes a liability against Duksnoir because it allows your opponent to draw their Prizes even faster.

2-2 Leafeon PLF

leafeon plasma freeze plf
Can take out Keldeo.

At first glance Leafeon seems like a strange inclusion to Empoleon. Attack Command generally does more damage for the same amount of Energy. However, Leafeon has a few things going in its favor. The biggest reason to play Leafeon is because of its typing. Against a Blastoise deck, Keldeo-EX can simply use Secret Sword with 5 W Energy to Knock Out Empoleon after Empoleon. If the Blastoise player limits their Bench, this matchup quickly becomes an uphill battle.

However, 5 Energy cards is the perfect amount of Energy for Leafeon to Knock Out Keldeo-EX thanks to its Grass typing. Leafeon is now safer on the Bench thanks to the Pokémon Catcher change. The Blastoise player cannot simply use Black Ballista every turn as they will usually run out of Energy since they have to Knock Out all non-Pokémon-EX.

Leafeon also alleviates the need for Rare Candy. Just by having another attacker, the deck may only need 5 Empoleon set up instead of 6. This is certainly helpful if any Rare Candy or Super Rod were discarded early in the game.

Leafeon can damage Latias-EX. Latias-EX is certainly not seen in every deck, but its Bright Down Ability makes it immune to Empoleon! Leafeon and Silver Bangle are essential to giving you a chance against this card.

The threat of Leafeon limits the number of Energy your opponent will put in play. Many decks will only be able to keep 4-6 Energy at a time, but you might make a Virizion/Genesect player think twice about using Emerald Slash a second time.

1 Mr. Mime PLF

As always, Mr. Mime is used for his Bench Barrier Ability. This Pokémon makes Attack Command stronger by taking up a bench slot in addition to preventing a lot of Night Spear and Megalo Cannon damage to the bench. Both Darkrai EX and Genesect EX would be much harder to deal with if it weren’t for Mr. Mime.

In addition, your opponent will be forced to attack more times to win the game on average since Empoleon is a non Pokémon-EX. This means that Mr. Mime is more effective than usual because it prevents even more Bench damage compared to its use in an EX-heavy deck.

1 Exeggcute PLF
Makes Diving Draw so much better.

Exeggcute was often dismissed as being too risky to start with. However, the new first turn rules make Exeggcute starts a lot safer going second if your opponent doesn’t play Hypnotoxic Laser and Virbank City Gym. I was never really a fan of this card, but I think it’s too good to pass up in Empoleon.

Its Propagation Ability synergizes so well with Empoleon’s Diving Draw Ability. It essentially lets you draw 2 cards for free with every Empoleon. When you are discarding around 2 cards every turn from Diving Draw, it is inevitable that you will be forced to discard a potentially useful card during the game without Exeggcute.

0 Emolga DRX

I see a lot of players playing this card and I don’t understand why. The deck doesn’t have a problem filling up its bench mid game and can Tropical Beach turn 1. The card is only good if you start with it and go second because of the new first turn rules. It is certainly not a bad card, but Tropical Beach is simply a more reliable option early game and there are better cards for an Empoleon deck to play.

2 Tropical Beach

This card is very good in Empoleon early game in addition to being a Stadium Counter. Unfortunately, the card is very expensive. I think the deck could get by on 1 Tropical Beach, but without it you will often find yourself having to Skyla for a Supporter on the first turn.

Empoleon can afford to play fewer copies of Tropical Beach than a Stage 2 deck like Blastoise because once the deck gets an Empoleon it is ready to attack. Blastoise needs to get a Rare Candy, a Blastoise, and 3-4 Energy to go with it. This means that they will often take an extra turn to set up. In addition, Empoleon’s Diving Draw makes the deck less vulnerable to N, where another Stage 2 deck might need Tropical Beach late game to recover.

Tropical Beach is also a Stadium counter. With some decks running Frozen City, Blastoise needs to have a Stadium counter or it simply loses since it needs to attach multiple Energy cards per turn to function. While Virbank City Gym is certainly harmful to Empoleon, it is not as detrimental as Frozen City can be to Blastoise.

1 Dowsing Machine

Gets back much needed resources.

I think Dowsing Machine is easily the best ACE SPEC for Empoleon. Although Computer Search improves the odds of a turn 2 Empoleon slightly, Dowsing Machine is much more important for getting back resources. This is because you will likely have access to every card in your deck thanks to Diving Draw. As a result, you will run out of resources rather than not drawing into them, simply because you can only play so many copies of a card in a 60 card deck.

Getting an extra Max Potion, Rare Candy, Super Rod, Escape Rope, or Tool Scrapper with Dowsing Machine can all be game changing depending on the situation.

2 Super Rod

Empoleon is one of the few decks where it’s not uncommon to see 2 copies of Super Rod. This is simply because most decks only need to use 3 Pokémon-EX and 1 non Pokémon-EX, making Super Rod optional.

However, Super Rod becomes more optimal in a deck with non Pokémon-EX as you will often run out of attackers. Super Rod works very well with Empoleon because it needs to stream Stage 2 attackers and has its Diving Draw Ability to help retrieve the Pokémon that were shuffled in.

2 Escape Rope

Escape Rope is a very strong option right now compared to Switch since Pokémon Catcher is errata’d. However, there will always be situations where you’d rather have Switch because you simply want to attack what is active. I think Escape Rope works very well in Empoleon because the option to force your opponent to switch their Active Pokémon can be game changing. Even if you would rather attack their Active Pokémon, you could always move the damage around with Dusknoir’s Sinister Hand Ability.

Escape Rope is also strong in Empoleon because your opponent will often want to limit their bench in order to reduce the damage from Attack Command. As a result, they may not have a Pokémon that they can afford to bring up with Escape Rope. If they play around Escape Rope by benching an extra Pokémon, then simply playing Escape Rope over Switch makes Attack Command do 10 more damage every turn. This 10 damage is always significant because it adds up with the help of Dusknoir’s Sinister Hand Ability.

2 Max Potion

max potion plasma freeze plf
Empoleon attacks for only 1 Energy anyway.

Max Potion is a card that is very useful in certain matchups but nearly useless in other matchups. I think two is a good number right now, but it can be increased or decreased depending on your local metagame.

Max Potion is very strong against decks that do not Knock Out Empoleon in one turn as it essentially erases your opponent’s previous attack. This is incredibly useful against Darkrai, Genesect, and other Empoleon decks. In these matchups it’s usually best to save your Dowsing Machine for Max Potion unless you’re forced to use it to set up.

1 Town Map

This is another card that has begun to fall into favor recently. I think it’s a combination of players having more deck space without Pokémon Catcher and seeing other players use it successfully. Town Map is useful to prevent prizing a key Pokémon. This card is what allows the deck to play only 1 copy of Dusknoir safely since Empoleon can simply take a prize with Attack Command and get Dusknoir from the prizes.

In addition, it is good for similar reasons that Dowsing Machine is a strong play. It allows you to maximize your resources with the deck. By finding a prized Max potion in a certain matchup or a prized Super Rod when you need 1 more Empoleon set up, you can easily swing games with this card. It has so much more utility than simply running a second Dusknoir.

Empoleon in the Current Metagame

Empoleon was a very strong play at the beginning of City Championships. This is because two of its strongest matchups are Blastoise and Genesect, both of which were hyped with the new rule changes. It struggled with Plasma, but Plasma seemed to fall off with the Catcher errata and the changes to the first turn rule. However, both Blastoise and Emboar can make the matchup closer by teching a lightning Pokémon, such as Zekrom PLF. Zekrom is a non-Pokémon-EX that can Knock Out Empoleon without discarding energy like Black Kyurem EX.

Empoleon struggles with Gothitelle/Accelgor as it has to tech multiple cards to make the matchup playable. Empoleon also struggles with Tool Drop because even if you can out-speed Trubbish with Empoleon, the Trubbish player can simply stack several Eviolite on a Sigilyph while limiting their Bench. Some players have also started using Latias-EX as Empoleon cannot damage it since its Diving Draw Ability.

Plasma also poses a problem for Empoleon as Thundurus EX hits for Weakness, Lugia EX with 2 Deoxys-EX takes 2 Prizes on an Empoleon, and Kyurem with 2 Deoxys-EX Knocks Out Empoleon. Silver Mirror is a potential answer if Plasma spikes in popularity, but Empoleon only has so much space and can’t afford to play several Silver Mirrors for a deck that isn’t very popular right now.

If Empoleon starts to fall out of favor and the metagame shifts back to Genesect, Blastoise, or Emboar then Empoleon could see a lot of success again. Otherwise, it is still a consistent deck that will perform well if you avoid its bad matchups.


Emboar is a deck that plays very similar to Blastoise, except it is forced to play switching cards since it doesn’t have access to Rush In. After the Pokémon Catcher errata, the Emboar deck has more deck space because it doesn’t have to play Pokémon Catcher and it can play less switching cards since Bench Pokémon are generally safer. Emboar’s advantage comes from its typing as it can hit the popular Virizion/Genesect deck for Weakness.

Here is a sample list:

Pokémon – 13

3 Tepig LTR

3 Emboar LTR
3 Rayquaza-EX DRX
1 Rayquaza DRV
1 Reshiram LTR
1 Zekrom PLF
1 Jirachi-EX

Trainers – 35

4 Professor Juniper
3 N
4 Skyla
1 Colress


4 Rare Candy
4 Ultra Ball
1 Level Ball
4 Superior Energy Retrieval

1 Energy Search
1 Super Rod
1 Tool Scrapper
1 Escape Rope
1 Switch

1 Dowsing Machine


4 Tropical Beach

Energy – 12

9 R
3 L

3-0-3 Emboar LTR
The Fire version of Blastoise.

Emboar is the engine behind the deck. Its Inferno Fandango Ability lets you power up attackers in one turn that use R Energy. This functions like Blastoise and it’s ideal to set up Emboar as fast as possible. A turn 2 Emboar with Energy is very hard to beat.

One of the interesting things to note is that there are only 3 copies of Tepig. This is a result of the Pokémon Catcher errata. Now it is less important to get multiple low HP Basics on your bench the first turn because they are safer. This same concept applies to all the Bench-sitters in the current format that evolve, freeing up deck space for either techs or consistency.

The 70 HP Tepig is slightly better due to surviving an extra turn on the Bench when facing Darkrai EX’s Night Spear or Kyurem PLF’s Frost Spear.

3 Rayquaza EX

This card parallels Black Kyurem EX in Blastoise. It trades favorably with Pokémon-EX that can’t Knock it Out because Emboar’s Inferno Fandango allows Dragon Burst to easily do 180 damage. Once the deck is set up, it can take knock outs every turn until it draws 6 Prize cards.

1 Rayquaza DRX

Rayquaza is strong against Black Kyurem EX, and Rayquaza EX. It forces your opponent to Knock Out 3 Pokémon-EX in addition to Rayquaza, while still Knocking Out your opponents Black Kyurem EX or Rayquaza EX. This puts you a turn ahead in the Blastoise and mirror matchups if your opponent doesn’t employ the same strategy.

1 Reshiram LTR

This card is strong against Virizion/Genesect decks. It forces your opponent to Knock Out a non-Pokémon-EX in addition to 3 Pokémon-EX. It is also able to Knock Out either Virizion-EX or Genesect EX while being difficult to Knock Out in return. If you get a fast enough Reshiram in this matchup, it can easily take 4 Prize cards. Rayquaza EX simply trades with the rest of their Pokémon-EX.

1 Zekrom PLF
Empoleon tech.

This is mainly a tech against Empoleon. It can sometimes be difficult to Dragon Burst every turn since you are discarding 3 Energy to draw a single Prize card. This card gives you a non-Pokémon-EX that can Knock Out Empoleon while keeping its Energy. It makes the Empoleon matchup closer to even, but it can be dropped if Empoleon is absent from your metagame.

1 Jirachi-EX

Jirachi-EX helps with late game N’s and no Supporter hands because it turns every hand with a Level Ball or Ultra Ball into a potential Supporter. The Pokémon Catcher errata makes this card safer on the Bench than before. It is a good idea not to play it down unless it’s necessary, but I find it worth it to play Jirachi-EX in order to get out of an unplayable start during one round in Swiss.

0 Exeggcute PLF

This card is certainly an option over something like Jirachi-EX or Zekrom. However, it doesn’t have as much utility as it does in Empoleon with Diving Draw. I often find that I’m able to ditch excess Tropical Beaches and irrelevant techs depending on the matchup with Ultra Ball, Dowsing Machine, and Superior Energy Retrieval. If you find yourself consistently discarding key resources then this is a card to test out.

4 Tropical Beach

Even though this card is expensive, 3-4 Tropical Beach are optimal to play in decks like Emboar and Blastoise. The card functions as a Stadium counter to both Frozen City and Virbank City Gym and serves as an optimal play the first few turns since you will simply be passing until you set up an Emboar. It is also good late game if you draw poorly off of an N to deny your opponent the chance of a comeback as you simply refill your hand to win next turn.

1 Dowsing Machine

The ACE SPEC choice in this deck is not as clear cut in this deck as it is in Empoleon. This is because setting up Emboar a turn earlier drastically increases your chances at winning many of your matchups. This is why many players opt for Computer Search in both Emboar and Blastoise.

Dowsing Machine pays off if you don’t draw your ACE SPEC the first few turns. This is because it allows you to retrieve important resources late game in addition to letting you retrieve Tool Scrapper in the Garbodor matchup. Using Inferno Fandango one more turn can easily make the difference.

I believe at least 2 Tool Scrappers are necessary to beat Garbodor, so playing Dowsing Machine acts as a second Tool Scrapper and frees up a deck space. If you wanted to play Computer Search instead you would have to drop another card for a 2nd Tool Scrapper or accept a very bad Garbodor matchup.

4 Superior Energy Retrieval
You burn through Energy quickly.

This card is essential to making Emboar work. Since the deck constantly discards Energy to attack, you need to be able to retrieve them to consistently use Dragon Burst. I would not recommend playing fewer copies of Superior Energy Retrieval because the deck may run out of Energy.

1 Super Rod

This card is sometimes unnecessary in Emboar, but occasionally it can win you a game on its own. It acts as insurance if you have the misfortune of having to Juniper away multiple Emboar turn 1 or if you prize your last Rayquaza EX.

In addition, it is very useful to have extra Energy in your deck against a deck like Empoleon with non-Pokémon-EX. This is because using Dragon Burst for 180 damage on six non-EXs can quickly run your deck out of Energy and make it difficult to achieve the last couple of knock outs. Super Rod will help you out when your opponent thinks you have only 1 or 2 Energy left.

1 Tool Scrapper

One is enough to have a chance against Garbodor if you have Dowsing Machine. If Garbodor is very popular in your metagame, I would recommend adding a 2nd Tool Scrapper to make the matchup more even. There are almost always useful Pokémon Tools to discard in other matchups, but it becomes a very important card to turn off Garbodor’s Garbotoxin when your entire deck relies on Emboar’s Inferno Fandango.

1 Switch, 1 Escape Rope

I decided to run a split between the two because it’s very situational deciding which one is better. Simply playing 1 Escape Rope forces your opponent to try and play around it by making sure they have a benched Pokémon they are willing to sacrifice. However, Switch is superior in a situation where the Pokémon-EX you want to Knock Out is already the Active Pokémon.

Emboar/Rayquaza in the Current Metagame

Emboar/Rayquaza is better than Blastoise with the new rule changes as I explained above. Blastoise is slightly better against Garbodor because it is able to utilize Keldeo-EX, an attacker that doesn’t discard Energy. This allows the Blastoise player to potentially get a big turn where they play Tool Scrapper and Deluge 7 Energy to Keldeo-EX in 1 turn. Emboar is forced to Inferno Fandango to two separate Rayquaza EXs because you are forced to discard all of the R Energy. Blastoise is also stronger against Gothitelle/Accelgor because Keldeo-EX’s Rush In Ability gives you an out under Magic Room to being Paralyzed indefinitely.

Emboar is stronger against Virizion/Genesect due to its typing. It is also slightly stronger against Empoleon since the deck is not vulnerable to Leafeon because it is not Weak to Grass like Keldeo-EX. Emboar ultimately plays very similarly to Blastoise with a few different matchups due to its typing. It is one of the best counters to Virizion/Genesect, outside of Tool Drop and other Fire Pokémon, while maintaining decent matchups against the rest of the field. However, it still suffers from the natural inconsistencies of a Stage 2 deck like Blastoise and has a very poor Gothitelle/Accelgor matchup.

This deck can perform very well in City Championships if Virizion/Genesect starts to get popular in your area.


This deck has the potential to go very far or perform very poorly based on your matchups. If you know that your metagame has very few Virizion/Genesect decks it is a very strong play, otherwise it is very risky to play this deck.

Here is the list that I had success with at my City Championships:

Pokémon – 19

4 Gothita LTR 69

1 Gothorita LTR

3 Gothitelle LTR

3 Shelmet PLB
2 Accelgor DEX

2 Duskull BCR

1 Dusclops BCR
1 Dusknoir BCR
2 Mew-EX

Trainers – 37

4 Professor Juniper
4 N
4 Skyla
1 Colress


4 Rare Candy

4 Level Ball
3 Ultra Ball

3 Float Stone
2 Pokémon Catcher
1 Silver Bangle
1 Super Rod
1 Tool Scrapper

1 Town Map

1 Computer Search


3 Tropical Beach

Energy – 4

4 Double Colorless

4-1-3 Gothitelle LTR
She’s back…

The strategy of this deck hasn’t changed. Gothitelle is used for its Magic Room Ability in order to shut off Items that allow your opponent to break the Deck and Cover lock. The idea is to get out Gothitelle as fast as possible to slow your opponent down while setting up. Then Gothitelle can free retreat to the Bench with the help of Float Stone so that Accelgor or Mew-EX can use Deck and Cover.

Gothitelle is then brought up again to prevent the use of Switch and Escape Rope. It is very frustrating to play against if your deck has no answer and very annoying to play if your opponent has multiple copies of Virizion-EX out.

When playing against another Stage 2 deck, it is important to try and set up Gothitelle before they are able to set up because it prevents them from playing Rare Candy. Preventing your opponent from setting up a Stage 2 such as Blastoise can win you the game on its own.

3-2 Accelgor DEX, 2 Mew-EX

As explained above, Accelgor and Mew-EX are both used for Deck and Cover in conjunction with Gothitelle in an attempt to paralyze your opponent every turn. It is important to have a Shelmet or an Accelgor on the bench after you Deck and Cover, otherwise you will not be able to Deck and Cover the following turn.

2-1-1 Dusknoir BCR

Dusknoir is the key component in locking your opponent out of the game. Without Dusknoir your opponent’s Active Pokémon would eventually be Knocked Out by Deck and Cover and they would get the opportunity to promote a new Active Pokémon and Knock Out Gothitelle. Dusknoir’s Sinister Hand Ability allows you to move damage to your opponent’s Benched Pokémon so that you can continuously Paralyze your opponent’s Active Pokémon without Knocking it Out. When you build up enough damage, you can simply take several Prize cards at once and win the game.

Your opponent may play a single copy of Virizion-EX or Keldeo-EX, allowing them to break the Deck and Cover lock. However, if you are able to build up enough damage with Deck and Cover before your opponent wins the game, you can move all the damage to the Keldeo-EX or Virizion-EX with Sinister Hand and make a huge comeback by establishing the Deck and Cover lock. This deck can easily make a 6-1 Prize card comeback when your opponent has no answers under the Item lock.

I chose to play 2 Duskull in order to have the opportunity to evolve into Dusclops or Dusknoir as quickly as possible. I also don’t have to worry about sacrificing Duskull if I start with it as I have a second copy. Dusclops is used to reduce the decks reliance on Rare Candy since it requires you to setup multiple Stage 2 Pokémon. One copy of Dusknoir is risky because it can get prized, but it is justified because this list plays Town Map. You simply have to get Dusclops in play, play Town Map, and take 1 Prize card to get Dusknoir into play.

3 Tropical Beach
It’s crucial that you set up well.

Having a Stadium counter is not necessary for Gothitelle/Accelgor, but Tropical Beach is crucial to the deck’s strategy. It is essential to setting up your Stage 2 Pokémon quickly in addition to giving you a new hand mid game when you are forced to pass with Gothitelle Active.

This deck cannot get stuck with an unplayable hand since its attackers have to be retrieved every turn, along with a Double Colorless Energy. Getting stuck with no Supporters and not having Tropical Beach allows your opponent to come back into the game as you sit there with Gothitelle hoping to topdeck a Supporter.

1 Computer Search

I prefer Computer Search in Gothitelle/Accelgor because I view it as a “set up and win” deck. Computer Search is a huge consistency boost compared to Dowsing Machine, which is why I decided to play it.

However, Dowsing Machine is not a terrible option. It can act as a 3rd Pokémon Catcher when you really need a heads to win. It can also act as a 4th Float Stone or an additional Rare Candy if you were forced to discard one or two early game.

Ultimately, I feel I win more games due to the extra speed, consistency, and ability to search for Double Colorless Energy, but it is partially up to a player’s preference.

2 Pokémon Catcher

Gothitelle/Accelgor is a deck that can win a game just by flipping one heads on Pokémon Catcher against a Darkrai deck with 1 copy of Keldeo-EX or a Plasma deck. It can also help in the Blastoise matchup if they have a benched Keldeo-EX with W Energy, but it is not always necessary. However, the deck still needs to set up consistently or it won’t matter how many head you flip.

The reason why I chose only 2 Pokémon Catcher is because I felt like I needed 1 heads to win a lot of games. This meant that playing 1 Pokémon Catcher lets me win 50% of the time. The 50% of the time the first Pokémon Catcher fails, the second Pokémon Catcher will win the game 50% of the time. This means that 25% of the time the 2nd Pokémon Catcher will make the difference, bringing my chance of winning to 75%.

A 3rd Pokémon Catcher would win the game 50% of the time when the first two Pokémon Catchers failed, which only happens 25% of the time. This means that 12.5% of the time the 3rd Pokémon Catcher makes the difference, bringing my chances of winning to 87.5%.

It’s a lot of redundant math that illustrates the principle of diminishing returns. This means that each Pokémon Catcher that you add is less impactful than the previous Pokémon Catcher. A 3rd Pokémon Catcher or Dowsing Machine could be worth it if you value that 12.5% in the matchups that you need to flip heads in order to win, but it comes at the cost of a consistency card in every other game. I felt comfortable with 2 Pokémon Catcher, but feel free to play 3 if you are paranoid of flipping tails.

1 Silver Bangle

silver bangle plasma blast plb 88
Lets you 1HKO Keldeo.

This card is mainly for the Blastoise matchup. If your opponent has a charged Keldeo-EX on the Bench, then you just need to simply Skyla for Silver Bangle and attach it to an Accelgor. If they ever attack with Keldeo to Knock Out Gothitelle, Accelgor can Knock Out Keldeo with Deck and Cover.

Even if your opponent sets up a Blastoise, they cannot recover Energy under the Item lock and will usually lose if you can Knock Out 2 Keldeo and stream Gothitelle. If you set up Gothitelle before they set up Blastoise you nearly always shut them out of the game regardless. A heads on Pokémon Catcher makes the matchup even better.

1 Tool Scrapper

This card is mainly to beat Garbodor decks. Once you set up Gothitelle, you can simply Skyla for Tool Scrapper to remove the Tool from Garbodor. Since Magic Room is in effect again, your opponent cannot attach another Pokémon Tool to Garbodor and you can set up a permanent Deck and Cover Lock.

1 Town Map

Town Map is essential since the deck can fail to set up the Deck and Cover lock due to bad Prize cards. In addition, it is important to know where your Supporters are in your Prize cards because there is a chance that you draw a bad hand late game when you are attempting to stream Deck and Cover. This allows you to use Dusknoir’s Sinister Hand to Knock Out a Pokémon with all the Deck and Cover Damage, take the Supporter from your Prize cards, and continue the Deck and Cover lock.

Gothitelle/Accelgor in the Current Metagame

Gothitelle/Accelgor is not the kind of deck you can play in an unknown metagame. It is best when your area is unprepared and Virizion/Genesect decks are not being played consistently. Outside of Virizion/Genesect and Darkrai decks with multiple copies of Keldeo-EX, Gothitelle/Accelgor is surprisingly strong against most of the format.

If your area is unprepared, I highly recommend playing this deck before you fall victim to it. If Virizion/Genesect is popular then don’t even bother with this deck.


The format is wide open… but for how long?

There is no best deck right now since the format is still wide open. City Championships are just beginning and the metagame will likely shift by the time Regionals rolls around.

The best thing you can do as a player is to playtest the common matchups, look at what is performing well in your area, and keep up to date with decks you may have overlooked. Take all this information in and pick a deck that you are both comfortable with and fares well against your local metagame. Luck and matchups will always play a role in the game, but taking all the necessary steps to prepare will certainly lead to success in the long run.

Hopefully this article gave you some of insight on the decks that have developed with the rule changes and the new set. I wish everyone the best of luck at their City Championships!

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