If You Can’t Beat ‘Em, Join ‘Em

Taking a Peek at Plasma in the NXD-XY Format

Hey everyone! It’s me, John, back again to discuss a deck that’s been hot ever since it first debuted back in May of last year, but has turned up the heat with the release of XY.

This deck, of course, is Plasma!

While Plasma generally doesn’t have the same focuses as it did when it first came out (e.g. Kyurem), it still brings the same power, strength, and speed to the table that was seen back in the BLW–PLF format.

And with the introduction of a brand new set, and the great cards that came with it, Plasma surely hasn’t been left out in terms of receiving a boost in playability.

So, What’s New?

Harder, better, faster, stronger.

Well, for starters there’s Muscle Band. Plasma feeds off damage increasing cards (just look at the importance of Deoxys-EX), and the more damage it can put out, the better. In particular, Lugia-EX abuses this damage increase the most of all. Being able to 1-shot 170 HP Pokémon-EX with a Muscle Band and three Deoxys in play for 3 Prizes is huge.

And there certainly is no shortage of popular 170 HP Pokémon-EXs, with Virizion-EX, Genesect-EX, Thundurus-EX, Yveltal-EX, Deoxys-EX, and Rayquaza-EX all seeing competitive play.

Let’s also not forget that Lugia isn’t the only one who can take advantage of the damage boost. Thundurus, Snorlax, and even Deoxys can also benefit from the Band. This allows the already fast, powerful Plasma deck to end games even faster, putting immense pressure on your opponent the second Lugia-EX hits the field.

There’s also a new Supporter card, Shauna, which Plasma can use to better its mid and late game draw.

Now that we’re all up to speed, let’s have a look at a decklist of mine that I’ve been testing recently:

Pokémon – 12

4 Deoxys-EX

3 Thundurus-EX

2 Lugia-EX

1 Genesect-EX

1 Snorlax PLS

1 Palkia-EX

Trainers – 35

4 Professor Juniper

3 N

2 Skyla

2 Shauna

1 Colress

2 Shadow Triad


2 Ultra Ball

2 Team Plasma Ball

4 Switch

3 Muscle Band

3 Colress Machine

2 Tool Scrapper

1 Max Potion

1 Professor’s Letter

1 Scramble Switch


2 Frozen City

Energy – 13

4 Plasma

4 Double Colorless

3 Prism

2 L

Card Choices

We’ll start off with the more common inclusions and work our way to the techs and such.

4 Deoxys-EX

It’s part of the deck’s DNA.

Before XY, 3 Deoxys was more of the standard, but with Muscle Band now included, you want to have at least 3 Deoxys on your Bench at all times in order to hit Lugia’s magic 170 damage. It’s also nice to be able to max out your damage cap every once in a while too.

3 Thundurus-EX

Thundurus has been and always will be a staple in anything Plasma thanks to its attack “Raiden Knuckle.” Three is always a good number for a card you want to have in your opening hand.

2 Lugia-EX

This is the star of the show. I think I’ve explained enough about why Lugia is needed, so I’ll just say that two seems to be the right amount to use due to the risk of prizing it. Three or more would be too much considering you shouldn’t ever need to use all three in most games.

1 Genesect-EX

While having to waste your Energy attachment for the turn in order to use “Red Signal” is not that great, let alone being forced to attach a Plasma Energy from your hand, the Ability is incredibly strong and can often secure you the game.

1 Snorlax PLS

Like Genesect, Snorlax was brought onto the scene in conjunction with the Catcher errata, and its Ability, “Block,” can trap opponent’s Pokémon when they don’t have access to switching.

While his attack, “Teampact,” does cost an insane 5 Energies, combinations of Muscle Band, Deoxys-EX, and a full Bench allow Snorlax to 1-shot 170 and 180 HP Pokémon-EX alike.

Two was a more common count pre-XY, but with Yveltal-EX now coming into existence, Snorlax can no longer get away with Teampact sweeps as its attack cost plays right into the wings of Yveltal’s Evil Ball.

2 Shauna

It’s a good option in fast decks.

Shauna, in my opinion, is a good card for a deck like Plasma which scores KOs early on and then needs to recuperate from any following Ns that the opponent may play afterward to minimize your hand.

Shauna also makes sure you don’t weaken your own hand size after taking multiple Prizes, which is why I decided to take away an N in order to fit one more Shauna.

4 Switch

I find this switching line to be the most consistent way of ensuring that I don’t end up with something stuck Active, like for example, a Deoxys or Snorlax. You can run less or you could run a number of Escape Rope instead, but I prefer the simple 4 copies of Switch.

1 Max Potion

Max Potion can be a game-changer when one of your Pokémon has taken too much damage and you want to heal it to prevent your opponent from taking Prizes. I only run one because I couldn’t find space for two. A second copy would be more effective though, and I may make room for it in the future.

2 Frozen City

While three may give an edge in Stadium wars, I find the third one to be out-prioritized by other cards such as an extra Supporter and another Max Potion. Two get the job done nearly as well as three, so I see no need to play another.

1 Scramble Switch

Scramble Switch became Plasma’s main ACE SPEC recently because of its game-breaking ability. When a majority of your attackers require large sums of Energy to attack, it’s nice to have the option to summon those Energies onto one attacker and surprise your opponent.

3 Prism Energy, 2 L Energy

I like having access to more Prism Energies because it gives me a backup in Deoxys-EX, as well as the once-in-a-blue-moon “Megalo Cannon.” Three seems to do the trick nicely while two Lightning is enough to allow me to “Raiden Knuckle” at almost any time in the game.

Tech Cards


palkia-ex plasma blast plb 66 official
What rhymes with Strafe? Safe.

I got the idea of Palkia-EX from Justin Sanchez’s Plasma list (as mentioned here) which he piloted all the way to 17th place at Florida Regionals. The reasoning behind running Palkia is to better your RayBoar and Blastoise matchups as it can 1HKO their Dragon-type attackers with a Muscle Band and two Deoxys in play.

Subsequently, it can then fall back to the Bench, which prevents the opponent from retaliating against Palkia, while at the same time keeping them in check, threatening to KO the next Dragon they activate.


This is another card that I learned about through Justin’s list, which I’m almost sold on, but not really for two reasons.

Reason 1: Unlike the Palkia, Heatran takes at least two turns to power up normally, save Scramble Switch shenanigans and double Colress Machines, which makes Heatran harder to power up when you need to attach or Raiden Knuckle a Prism Energy to it first.

Reason 2: Heatran is fair game after it attacks, and unless I’m getting this bad boy rolling within the first couple turns of the game, I’m risking losing it to a G Booster.

Don’t let my negativity phase you though, because Heatran can still sneak up on an unsuspecting Virizion/Genesect player with a quick Muscle Band + Deoxys + Heat Boiler and completely destroy them.


This card was spotted in the Plasma deck that won Malaysian Regionals recently. Landorus is there more for early game than anything else, as well as to help out with Darkrai-EX. Most Yveltal-based decks use Darkrai as an attacker against Thundurus to avoid getting hit for double damage on a Raiden Knuckle making Landorus a good counter to their counter.


This card just won’t go away.

An all-around useful card for nearly any deck, Mewtwo brings support to Plasma through the strength of X Ball, helping tackle whatever Thundurus and Lugia can’t or don’t want to deal with very quickly and effectively.

I chose not to run it though because of my preference for Palkia-EX, as Palkia can secure games while Mewtwo simply adds to your options of attackers.


While I don’t recommend using this card currently, Skarmony-EX could have been exceptionally good in response to Plasma’s most recently emerged rival: Dragonite PLF.

Previously, Dragonite players could lock you with Deafen + Silver Mirror + Garbodor LTR, but Skarmory’s “Joust” now counters this strategy by getting rid of their Silver Mirror, forcing them to either replace it immediately or be attacked by one of your Team Plasma Pokémon.

However, with Yveltal-EX on the rise, I feel that most Dragonite decks won’t be able to adapt since there isn’t any logical way for Dragonite to prevent Yveltal-EX from sweeping them with “Evil Ball.”


There’s no doubt in my mind that this wrecking ball of a deck will be popping up at almost every major tournament in the future, and as such, counters against it will also emerge.

Thanks for reading and best of luck to you in your upcoming tournaments.


Under and out

Reader Interactions

10 replies

  1. Jack Stensrud

    Great article! I’ve tested both Palkia and Heatran, and I also like how if you really need to, they can easily be Shadow Triaded for.

  2. Joe Wenneman

    Excellent article. I’ve heard a few things about Palkia, but wasn’t really sure what the main point of him in Plasma was. Might consider now.

    My only feedback would be that I personally prefer a 3/1 Ultra/Plasma Ball line, given that outside of Junipers, it’s the only other way to discard energy for Thundurus. Keep 1 Plasma just so you have the option to Skyla for a Pokemon without needing a discard, but Ultras are key.

    • Piplup_isPimp  → Joe

      Glad you enjoyed it.

      Really those kind of decisions come down to personal preference as well as your play style.

      If a 3/1 line works for you, keep using it; I usually try to switch up trainer counts when I see it necessary (like if I were to add a non-Team Plasma pokemon).

  3. Joseph Jang

    Great article..I’ve been playing something similar..the only problem I have is with Trevenant/Silver Mirror and Dusknoir decks..any ideas or recommendations?

    • Piplup_isPimp  → Joseph

      Skarmony EX should be your go to for anything Silver Mirror, especially in cases where you can’t use Tool Scrapper.

      • Joseph Jang  → Piplup_isPimp

        What suggestions do you have against decks that run Suicune and/or Sigilyph? Get snorlax out as fast as possible? or is there something else I can do?

        • Piplup_isPimp  → Joseph

          Yeah, you usually want to threaten with Snorlax then attack when they attack.

          If not, use Red Signal to play around with their bench (if possible) until you can get a Snorlax going .

  4. pokejav

    Excellent look at this deck, John. Loved your article. Having the second Max Potion can help you win the game. My deck has 15 energies, I may bring it back to 14 to include another Pokémon. I also like good ‘ol Bouffolant here, cause it can quickly hit for 120, then SW to Lugia for 3 prizes.

  5. Bella Brown

    I’ve always loved Lugia EX; and seeing as I don’t have the money to spend on Yveltal EX’s to update my Darkgarb deck, this gives me the perfect reasons to play a fun and competitive deck for Nationals. YESSSS thank you so much :)
    (You see, I haven’t been reading any articles or playing much recently; also missed the XY prerelease so don’t know much about the new set, also don’t know what’s being played atm)

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