Buzz Words

A Comprehensive Field Guide to Vespiquen
A photo of me playtesting!

Hi SixPrizes readers! A lot of people have had something to say on Vespiquen, and I’ve definitely got my own two cents to put in. I hope that I’ve got a unique-enough story to capture your attention on the deck. I had an insane run during Week 2-of Autumn Regionals in Lancaster, PA (which I won undefeated) as well as making Day 2 in Fort Wayne, Indiana. I think the beginning of any big win happens long before a tournament — in my case, sometime after I picked up a Base Set Starter and sometime before the release of Ancient Origins. For me, the road to playing Flareon and Vespiquen started a long time ago. I hope you enjoy the quick story I’ve got to share and learn a thing or two in my deep analysis below.

A lot of what I discuss will involve the deck as it existed for my Regionals-winning run in the pre-BREAKthrough Expanded format. Afterward, I’ll dive into thoughts about the potential changes for City Championships, before and after my first three City events. No spoilers, but there is so much room for change I can’t yet predict what I think will be the best version of the deck by the end of City Championships, in my area or any other. I’m still going to put a lot of effort into trying though, and if you’re a Vespiquen fan you should too!

The Bee-ginings

flareon plf 16-9
Flareon blazed the trail.

I was motivated by a lot of different players to recognize the potential of Flareon — the precursor of Vesquipen — starting over a year ago playing fun games against Brit Pybas at a Regional Championship. Flareon’s Vengeance does 20 damage plus 10 more damage for each Pokémon in your discard pile. To get a lot of Pokémon in the discard, Brit’s Flareon deck didn’t have the effective and dynamic means (e.g. Battle Compressor, Shaymin-EX) we do today. He had discussed the deck with Jason Klaczynski, and it was clear to me after a handful of games that this deck was really phenomenal against decks that relied on Pokémon-EX (which comprised much of the format).

Soon thereafter, my close friend Liz Reis advocated for Flareon because she is a huge Eevees fan, but her version was more stable because it included extra types and options for getting KOs before Vengeance could win you the game. Unfortunately, not all of the other attackers used Double Colorless Energy alone. In the same way that Mewtwo-EX NXD, Rayquaza-EX DRX, and Keldeo-EX all had attacks with no practical ceiling to their damage, so did Flareon, and it really had my attention.

Before Ancient Origins, Leafeon PLF had become a key component — it wasn’t as vulnerable to Seismitoad-EX and really tilted the odds in your favor if Toad was your opponent’s only way to beat you.

To summarize, here are the key points that attracted me to the various incarnations of Flareon I’d worked with up until the release of Ancient Origins:

  1. Vengeance (aka Bee Revenge)
  2. Multiple types to hit for Weakness
  3. Attacking for DCE
  4. Free Retreat

With the addition of Vespiquen, Flareon now had it all.

My success with the deck, and overall confidence in its ability to perform, has put me in a state where I’m always willing to explore if it is still relevant as new tournaments arise. I really enjoy in particular that without lots of practice (at the game, or with the deck) players will probably have difficulty simply copying the list and heading into an event with it. Even across two weeks of Regionals, I still felt myself realizing new things about the deck. Also, shout-out to Sydney Morisoli for getting on the bandwagon for a deck I like without any tooth-pulling.

What Makes Flareon + Vespiquen So Good

Other than the social component, and seeing others have success with it, why Vespiquen? Why Flareon? I’ll answer that, and mention some other decks that have similar strengths.

  1. These Pokémon can attack for a single Energy card — Strength shared by Seismitoad, Raichu
  2. Their attacks can get 1HKOs (on literally anything) — Strength shared by Mega Rayquaza
  3. They are not Pokémon-EXStrength shared by Night March, Raichu
  4. They are (relatively) easy to build as Stage 1 Pokémon — Strength shared by Raichu
  5. If you use support Pokémon as tech cards, they turn into damage and as a result are never dead cards — Strength shared by Raichu
  6. The deck benefits from an incredibly consistent and robust draw engine (Shaymin-EX, Battle Compressor, Ultra Ball, Unown, VS Seeker) — Strength shared by Mega Rayquaza, Night March

You’ll notice I mention some decks that share strengths with Vespiquen/Flareon more than once, but none of those decks checks every box I’ve listed (granted, they tend to have other advantages). The primary downside to playing Vespiquen/Flareon is that you don’t get the benefit of having a strong, high-HP Basic Pokémon attacker, but since the game of Pokémon is filled with tradeoffs, this is one we’ll just accept. If the above six concepts were true for a deck that were to be built in some future format, I wouldn’t need to know what the cards did to be confident it had a chance of being competitive.

In the past, with other decks, people have tried to pair Pokémon with partners to complement their weaknesses. Instead, by using Flareon and Vespiquen together you’re able to always play to the exact same strength: 1HKOs from a discard pile filled with Pokémon.

Regionals List

Pokémon – 27

4 Combee AOR

4 Vespiquen AOR 10

2 Eevee PLF 90

2 Eevee FFI

4 Flareon PLF
1 Jolteon AOR

4 Unown AOR

4 Shaymin-EX ROS

1 Jirachi-EX

1 Audino BCR

Trainers – 26

4 Professor Juniper

2 Lysandre

1 AZ

1 Blacksmith

1 Hex Maniac

1 N


4 Battle Compressor

4 Ultra Ball

4 VS Seeker

2 Silver Bangle

1 Level Ball

1 Computer Search

Energy – 7

4 Double Colorless

3 R

Key Cards

I feel a little card-choice obsessed. Honestly though, plenty of spots in the deck were dedicated to cards I was automatically playing four of; in particular, Eevee, Combee, Vespiquen, Flareon, Unown, Ultra Ball, VS Seeker, Battle Compressor, Professor Juniper, and Double Colorless Energy. Four copies of Shaymin-EX was a little more unorthodox, so I’ll begin by explaining that.

4 Shaymin-EX

Some would have an allergic reaction to running 4 copies of Shaymin-EX. Honestly, having multiple Shaymin-EX in your hand results in diminishing returns – simply, each of them is less good because the other is present. I had a hard time imagining a situation (other than the mirror) where I didn’t want to play a Shaymin-EX turn one.

Also, any extras could get Battle Compressor’ed away and fuel future Flareon or Vespiquen attacks. I found myself discarding them with Compressor when my opponent would build an early Garbodor I didn’t plan on KOing, or when my Bench was full anyway and I knew I’d have access to attackers based on what my board state was.

At the time, it didn’t always occur to me that when I’d have a Shaymin-EX in play, then discard two for Battle Compressor, opponents would be surprised by the 4th. I can’t speak to how much it mattered, but I don’t think that surprise factor ever hurt me. A lot of people didn’t like Shaymin because it becomes a Bench liability, and instead of running the 4th plenty of people opted for Jirachi-EX.

Shaymin’s synergy with Unown is fantastic. Shaymin also gives you an interesting play in conjunction with Silver Bangle, where you attach DCE and Bangle to the Shaymin before playing a Professor Juniper, Sky Return into a Pokémon you don’t mind your opponent KOing, and then you wallop them with the DCE/Bangle/Shaymin you’ve got in your hand. AZ also works pretty nicely with Shaymin. Sometimes Shaymin would be my largest HP Pokémon so I could send it in to take a hit, AZ away the damage, promote a fresh undamaged attacker, and score some Prizes.

Perhaps the best Shaymin-EX play is being able to KO a Joltik and remove your liability from play. I didn’t get to do this against any Night March decks, but I was really hoping to at some point.

1 Jolteon AOR

Even though Jolteon only shines in two matchups — Mega Rayquaza and Yveltal — I really appreciated that its free Retreat Cost gave me a way to get an Eevee out of the Active Spot. Being able to Level Ball or Ultra Ball to switch an Eevee into a Vespiquen was a big opportunity, albeit infrequent. Perhaps in the most unlikely scenario of all, it meant that if I started with an Eevee or two, I could make one of them a Flareon to Blacksmith to, and one of them a Jolteon to retreat for free. After Israel Sosa’s win, I was tempted to bump up to 2 copies but ultimately didn’t.

1 Jirachi-EX

Jirachi wasn’t an automatic inclusion for me, in part because I’m so enamored with Shaymin-EX. As I started to shift my list to including a large number of different Supporter cards, Jirachi’s strength grew and grew. AZ, Hex Maniac, Blacksmith, and opposing Item lock all motivated me to run a single Jirachi. At the very worst, it adds an additional 10 damage for each of my attacks. In average scenarios, it gets me something important when I don’t have access to Shaymin-EX or Professor Juniper.

2 Lysandre

Ideally we take 2 Prizes with every attack.

2 copies of Lysandre was incredibly strong for me across both weekends. It helps to consider what happened to most of my VS Seekers across a typical game to understand why. Typically, I’d use or lose a VS Seeker early on, ideally playing a Professor Juniper on the first and/or second turn. If I was trying to draw a lot of cards with Set Up mid game, I’d either discard Supporters or VS Seekers to help dive deeper. At the end of the game, having a VS Seeker, Juniper, or Lysandre at the ready could often seal the deal for me. Since I was already maxed out on Juniper and VS Seeker, a 2nd Lysandre was almost too good to pass up.

On a deep level, Lysandre fulfills the same ultimate goal many draw Supporters would: It allows me to end my turn by drawing 2 Prizes. Instead of drawing deeper into the deck to find my outs and further develop my board position, I get to take 2 easy Prizes and move along.

Against some decks, hitting their Active for anything less than a KO is basically a wasted turn. Max Potion, Rough Seas, AZ, Super Scoop Up, and more allow my opponent to undo the attack from Vespiquen or Flareon, and then they can KO my attacker, usually also my Energy.

Getting a turn two Lysandre into Shaymin-EX KO was incredible compared to the previous scenario, especially against Mega decks since it’s much easier to KO a Shaymin and then 2 Megas since it gives me more turns to get to over 200 damage with Bee Revenge or Vengeance. The other matchup Lysandre #2 hands-down won me games in was Donphan. I beat one in Lancaster, and had a tie game (unintentional) against Curtis Lyon in Ft. Wayne. If I was only concerned with the Donphan matchup, Startling Megaphone to eliminate Focus Sash would’ve often done the trick, but I liked Lysandre so much more I never wanted to be stuck holding a Megaphone wondering, “What if?”

1 Hex Maniac

Despite not liking Ghetsis going first, Hex Maniac was too good to pass up. I liked it for a situational late game, where N might not be good, but preventing a Shaymin to allow an opponent to have a critical mass of cards to beat me put me over the top. Hex Maniac had potential when I was behind, at parity, and even when I was trying to maintain my lead. It gave me potential to stop my opponent from setting up, to punch through defensive Pokémon like Aegislash, and to break out of Item locks from Trevenant or Vileplume.

Just like Ghetsis, it wasn’t always good, but unlike Ghetsis I could guarantee a big (and known) effect from it. Two scenarios happened at Regionals that made me very glad I chose Hex Maniac, purely from what my opponents did. In one of my Top 4 games, my opponent played Ghetsis on his first turn only to learn I had 7 Pokémon in my opening hand. In one of my Swiss games against a Mega Rayquaza deck, I was worried that they’d be able to keep me under Hex Maniac for the entire game. These reminders of the enormous strength of Hex Maniac and riskiness of Ghetsis made me confident to maintain my choice for the following Regionals.

2 Silver Bangle

Playing Silver Bangle was like additional Battle Compressors against decks with Pokémon-EX. It was additional damage, it let me thin out my hand for Shaymin-EX, and was never ever a bad start like additional Basic Pokémon could have been. In one of the early rounds of Lancaster Regionals I was able to deal 210 damage to a M Manectric-EX on my second turn because of having Bangle and multiple Battle Compressors. Using only Battle Compressor to this end would’ve made the result more unlikely, and depending on my Prizes, not left me much of an end game.

I disliked that this card wasn’t as optimal toward the end of most games, but I was hoping to get a leg up on my opponents and not need it by then. Conveniently, Vespiquen has type advantage against Seismitoad, the Pokémon most likely to prevent me from playing Bangle.

The reality of the Silver Bangle math is that you’re doing +30 damage short term, and after the Pokémon it is attached to is KO’d, you’re still doing +20 from your next attacker by adding to the Vengeance or Bee Revenge damage.

1 Computer Search

In the same way that Silver Bangle was like additional Battle Compressors, Computer Search was like a 5th DCE. Obviously, it can turn into whatever card I want that isn’t prized, but DCE is one of the most powerful and hard to search for cards in the history of the game.

Other Considerations

entei aor 14 16-9
Runner-up for “Best in Show.”

Many lists (especially for Vespiquen or Flareon) play a lot of tech cards. I might’ve considered double the number of techs anyone else actually ended up using. All things considered, I view the list I played as highly optimized for consistency. I want my opponents to feel like they’re spending their turns trying to catch up to me. I skipped a lot of potent tech cards that other players used, and I’d like to walk through why I did that:

Entei AOR 14

I started with Entei in my list because it was one of the cards I was most tempted to run. The optimal play with Entei is to Blacksmith to him on the first turn and score a KO on a low-HP Pokémon in the mirror match, against Night March, or perhaps against Toad/Bats. This seemed unlikely, and as such I opted to just keep my high counts on all of my other cards.

Admittedly I saw this card in Japanese lists and didn’t come up with the idea myself. Props to Ryan Sabelhaus for his success with this card as part of his list.

Wobbuffet PHF

With my especially high Shaymin-EX count, Wobbuffet was a bad choice. I like it a lot in decks with Float Stone, especially when Korrina is in the mix (think Donphan). For me, I was primarily concerned with going fast and getting KOs. It’s a great Archeops counter, but after few showed up in Week 2, I was even less concerned about squeezing in another Archeops counter for Week 3. I liked that my opponents would never be able to Lysandre around my route to shutting off powers (Hex Maniac).

Espeon DEX

I’m not sure if Espeon was on anyone else’s radar or if they all just came to the same conclusion I did: The problem it solves isn’t prevalent. Despite the fact that Accelgor from Dark Explorers has arguably more support than ever, it just isn’t one of the top decks on people’s minds. While I can’t speak to everyone else’s thinking, the fact I could run AZ was big for my deck. Other decks likely had Keldeo-EX, Virizion-EX, or even Wonder Energy if Accelgor was a matchup they were concerned with.

Empoleon DEX (and Archie’s Ace in the Hole)

This is one of my favorite cards, and one that I used extensively in older versions of Flareon. It wasn’t right for the current meta for a handful of reasons. Perhaps most importantly, people were using Ghetsis to counter it. I didn’t need Empoleon as an attacker (ever) since I had eight attackers in my list now. I didn’t need it to become N-proof since I had so many Pokémon to draw me cards and thin my deck. Empoleon was a Bench liability. The space in the deck just wasn’t there. I no longer ran the right kind of Energies for Empoleon.

This is probably obvious to lots of people who experienced the current format, but I hope that this piece of information helps people understand last year’s Flareon circa State Championships compared to this year’s Vespiquen at this Regionals.


Teammates was a card I viewed as bundled with Life Dew since they combo together so well. Teammates is a Supporter that addresses one of my main concerns with Life Dew since it helps me build a stream of attackers, in particular it usually lets me avoid discarding resources while trying to progress my board state. For example, without Teammates sometimes you’ll be forced to try and Juniper into a Battle Compressor for a KO, and might be forced to discard a DCE in the process.


Only good going first — when we have the advantage anyway.

I was super excited for rise of Ghetsis due to Israel Sosa’s Regionals win. After that, I learned that it had seen success in Night March as well. I didn’t put much critical thought into the card before playing some games with it. I didn’t use it against the matchups where it was obviously good (Blastoise, Night March) but instead focused on the Bees mirror and Giratina/Seismitoad. In both cases, I was severely underwhelmed. I wasn’t usually crippling their hands, and it only ever worked when I went first.

Since going first with this deck is an enormous advantage already, I didn’t want to waste a space on a card that only sometimes furthered that advantage, especially since my Blastoise matchup was so good already. I thought I had a decent enough time against Night March, but was hoping that with the popularity of Blastoise utilizing Articuno and a Seismitoad/Bats win from Week 1 that I wouldn’t have to face many Night March decks in Week 2.


It just wasn’t very good turn one. A card I would’ve loved to play, but considering it wasn’t always great going first turn one, I chose to skip it. It combos well with Level Ball, but at that point, they’re also competing for the same space. I was comfortable enough discarding resources to Professor Juniper that I didn’t need this as an additional safety net over N for early shuffle-draw, and late game sometimes it would make me run out of cards or replenish my deck with things I’d rather discard anyway.


Xerosic can do any number of tricks in the Donphan matchup (which I imagined wouldn’t be too prevalent at Regionals). I also like it against Giratina/Seismitoad, but felt Hex Maniac was overall a better choice for the event. It felt like a one-trick pony card — discard their turn one attachment to a Giratina, and hope to power through any other attacker they can build. I never ended up testing the theory on this, so couldn’t justify including a card based on it.

Life Dew

Life Dew was a card I was tempted to run in Week 2, but not Week 3-of Regional Championships. Going into Week 2, the fact that building seven attackers is incredibly difficult was a turnoff for me. Assuming you get to use all four DCE and even get to Blacksmith two attackers, that’s still one short. Furthermore, I didn’t want to lose out on getting to use my ACE SPEC because of Giratina-EX. It wasn’t just my success that made me skip it and opt for Computer Search for Week 3, but it seemed like Tool Scrapper, Startling Megaphone, and Xerosic would be more popular in Week 3.

The popularity of Life Dew, Focus Sash, and Mega Manectric in Week 2 made me think plenty of players would pivot to Tool hate. I saw a little bit of that in my Week 3 Swiss rounds, making me feel better about my choice overall. I can’t count the number of times Computer Search saved me (though I probably should have).

Skills for Beekeepers

vespiquen aor 16-9
Learn to hone in on discard fodder for every matchup.

What to Discard

If you want to do a good job of playing Vespiquen, or any deck that tries to capitalize on Battle Compressor, try to know what your go-to discards are in every matchup. For me, I knew when Jolteon, Audino, and Hex Maniac were dead cards I wanted to use Compressor on ASAP. The answer to this question changes based on your matchup and your list. If you haven’t been playing for years, practicing this will be a big help. Sometimes despite Hex Maniac being a dead card in a matchup, I’d keep it since the additional damage from Pokémon in the discard pile would just be more important. Knowing Eevees were prized would sometimes make me more prone to discarding Flareons and committing myself to a Bee Revenge game over a Vengeance one. Know when you have good odds of drawing an attacker, Energy, or Supporters out of your Prizes.

The Next Attacker

Always having an attacker waiting in the wings is a huge boost to your ability to win games. For this deck that’s as simple as benching a Basic to evolve into an attacker. Things can go pretty off the rails if you don’t do this — it will either give your opponent a free turn to try and score a KO on your Benched Pokémon-EX, or it will let them get a turn to Lysandre out your next threat before it does anything to them.

Vespiquen’s Other Attack

Use Intelligence Gathering sometimes. Sometimes the card advantage matters; sometimes it doesn’t. A lot of the time, I’d rather keep my single R Energy safe and on the Bench, but it’s a case by case judgment.

Roadblocks (and Solutions to Overcome Them)

Originally, I was going to write about matchups, but there are usually only two kinds of matchups: EX-based decks and non-EX-based decks. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to get a KO every single turn. Some decks have defensive measures against this. Many of the below scenarios deal with strategies seen at Fall Regionals but will still be popular for Expanded format City Championships, and many have analogies in Standard.

Donphan + Focus Sash

Donphan is going to the Bench every turn. You want to try and get KOs before the Focus Sash hits, but if there is a Focus Sash you should spend your time and energy powering through the Robo Substitutes. If each Lysandre and VS Seeker turns into a Prize, you win this game on those alone.

Focus Sash is a different problem, but one that Donphan helps to compound. Now you’re looking at 2 Lysandre in order to get a single Prize card. Try to deny your opponent that opportunity, but between the contents of your list and Prize cards, this will sometimes be a roadblock you can’t overcome.

The Seismitoad/Giratina Matchup

One of the few ways to forge a victory against Giratina.

Going first is huge here, because it means you can get a KO before their first Chaos Wheel. Typically, that KO will be on a Shaymin-EX or a Seismitoad-EX because those are the easy ones for you to hit, but if you’re running really hot you’ll be able to Lysandre up their Giratina with a Double Dragon Energy attached and KO it. It’s difficult to imagine losing with even below-average draws after such a huge swing like that early game.

Even if you don’t go first, Blacksmith will help keep you in the game. Since many Giratina decks play Crushing or Enhanced Hammer, a turn one R Energy attachment is really strong. It gives them somewhere to use their Crushing Hammers, even though you might just Blacksmith it back later anyway. It also puts you halfway to an attacker for later that is Enhanced Hammer resistant.

Giratina-EX with Energy Acceleration

This is a scary problem I didn’t have to overcome too often. The weakness that Giratina/Seismitoad suffers from is once a Giratina is KO’d, it’s tough to follow up with another one. One of the strengths of Vespiquen is that you can stream attackers at your opponent as fast as they can KO them. Energy accelerating onto Giratina shakes up this advantage. Reshiram’s Turbloblaze and Bronzong’s Metal Links are two easy ways for an opponent to keep the Chaos Wheel spinning. Your game plan in this situation should be to try and get the early KO lead, and prepare to Blacksmith (maybe twice in a row).

Aegislash’s Mighty Shield

Aegislash presents the same roadblock for your KO in Bronzong- or Vileplume-based strategies. Hex Maniac feels like a bit of a nuclear option in either scenario — shut off Aegislash, and while you’re at it, his buddies become useless too. Manually attaching R Energy cards is an option too, but using Blacksmith seems far more likely. Word to the wise, if you shut off Vileplume’s Ability, try to squeak out a bunch of Items while you can.

Staying Asleep

Staying asleep from Hypnotoxic Laser was one of the most devastating things to happen to me across these events. While there is only a 25% chance this happens (flip for Laser, flip for Sleep), not being able to Audino or AZ out of it can be terrible. Audino’s usefulness is a little more limited than AZ, but it’s more searchable. AZ is retrievable with VS Seeker. By running 1-of each, I maximized my access to a solution.

The High HP of Mega Pokémon

The biggest and most common Pokémon for me to try and 1HKO (especially in Lancaster) was definitely Mega Manectric. I would commit myself to only building 3 or 4 attackers for those games, and discard the rest. Lysandre and Silver Bangle provide some options in getting over or around this roadblock. Against Mega Rayquaza, Jolteon tends to do the trick. If they run Altaria, you can just take the Mega Manectric approach with going above or around to neutralize Altaria’s Clear Humming.

Standard Format Card Choices

gallade bkt 16-9
Does Gallade make the cut? Read on to find out …

A ton of new options come out in BREAKthrough for Vespiquen, and many events will be played in Standard where you won’t have access to Flareon. I’m going to quickly overview the cards I’ve already mentioned above, and highlight a few new options I’ve experimented with. As the Standard post-BREAKthrough metagame develops, more options will come to light.

Previously Discussed Cards


In many games I end up using Battle Compressor to discard one of my Shaymin-EX, and the increasing popularity of Zoroark with Mind Jack is a meaningful deterrent to keeping this Pokémon on my Bench. That being said, I still might not go down to 3 since it’s such a key part of getting up and running, and often helps me close out

Jolteon AOR

I’ve been running builds without Flareon, so those naturally don’t run Jolteon. In the ones that do run Flareon, I’m still not sold on Jolteon in this meta. Mega Rayquaza barely appears, and dark decks don’t revolve around Yveltal to the extent they previously did.

Silver Bangle

Muscle Band is the obvious substitute, but it didn’t feel as good in my testing. I wish I could pretend something scientific was going on, but I’ve played less than 30 games with a high Muscle Band count.

Hex Maniac

Still a huge card at the right moments, but I’ve experienced it being good on the first turn a lot less. More and more I’m observing people playing Hex Maniac the turn after their opponent has to try and not lose momentum. This is a bit more in-line with my Solutions to Roadblocks above, but


Lysandre is obviously still very good, but I’ve also been experimenting with Pyroar that has Flare Command to further increase the usefulness of the R Energy and Blacksmith.

Entei AOR 14

I’ve experimented with 2, 1, and 0 Entei, corresponding to 2, 1, and 0 Blacksmiths. I imagined it would be highly effective against Aegislash and Giratina decks, but based on my tournament experience it was most effective against Night March (simply because that is what I got matched up with).


I’ve flip-flopped on Teammates in this format. It’s a great early pick to ditch with Battle Compressor since it’s often dead weight in the deck and you don’t need to commit to a particular strategy. It also means you’ll be able to trade KOs without having to discard resources to Sycamore if you’re not ready to.

Wobbuffet PHF

My primary reason for not using Wobbuffett is still true: My high Shaymin-EX count makes this a potential bad start.

Empoleon DEX (and Archie’s Ace in the Hole)

This has shifted to Maxie’s Hidden Ball Trick and Gallade. It’s been highly effective, especially against Mega Manetric, but not as consistent as I would like.


Without Life Dew, and with the new Jirachi promo, I’m a lot less tempted to spend time/space on Xerosic.

New Ideas

Night Marchers (Pumpkaboo PHF, Joltik PHF, Lampent PHF)

Hey, it fits in with our strategy!

More possible attackers, and even a reasonable counter Stadium in Dimension Valley. Jando Luna won a City Championships with this, and I witnessed multiple copies of the deck make top cut. It allows for a KO on your very first turn which is tough for most Vespiquen lists. Between Night Marchers and Unowns, there are an easy 16 Pokémon to get into the discard for you to clean up with Bee Revenge.

Bronzong PHF

A possible Blacksmith substitute, using Metal Links to power up attackers was often too slow in my experience. I’ve seen other people mitigate it however, especially when using Night Marchers. On top of that, Bronzong wants to be in play instead of the discard pile which is counterintuitive to Vespiquen’s goals.

Gallade BKT (and Maxie’s Hidden Ball Trick)

Gallade offers up a lot of options — he helps you keep your momentum late game, helps you recover from Judge or Ace Trainer. His Premonition Ability combos really well with Unown. As an attacker he KOs Mega Manectric — one of the more popular attackers in Cities so far. To top it all off, his walloping 150 HP gives you someone beefier than Vespiquen to try and survive your opponent’s attacks with.

Zoroark BKT (and Zoroark BREAK)

A possible attacker, Zoroark BKT can attack for a DCE, often score KOs, and even promote himself Active if something else is stuck there for some reason. Huge theoretical potential, but was really underwhelming for me in testing. I’m going to be investigating this further. Zoroark BREAK was useful for me against Mega Sceptile — a scenario where Flareon would allow Vespiquen to be far more effective.

Jirachi XY67

The Jirachi promo gives your deck a lot of neat tricks. You can try to slow down Giratina-EX decks, give Seismitoad fits, or even just burn out an opponent relying on DCEs of their last few resources.

Ariados AOR

Ariados is a Pokémon-based solution to the Focus Sash problem. If you decide to play Forest of Giant Plants, Ariados benefits from that too which is a nice bonus.

Refreshed List

With no metagame knowledge, my first attempt was to change my list as little as possible. I assumed most people would do the same if they stuck with a familiar deck for Cities after Regionals. I landed on the below, which ended up being the cause of a lot of my card analysis above:

Pokémon – 27

4 Combee AOR

4 Vespiquen AOR 10

2 Eevee FFI

2 Flareon AOR

2 Zorua BKT

2 Zoroark BKT

1 Spinarak AOR

1 Ariados AOR

4 Unown AOR

4 Shaymin-EX ROS

1 Entei AOR 14

Trainers – 26

4 Professor Sycamore

2 Lysandre

1 AZ

1 Blacksmith

1 Hex Maniac

1 Teammates


4 Battle Compressor

4 Ultra Ball

4 VS Seeker

2 Muscle Band

1 Level Ball


1 Forest of Giant Plants

Energy – 7

4 Double Colorless

3 R

What’s Next?

combee aor 16-9
Keep your eyes open for ways to improve the deck!

I did a lot of deep diving into card selection, which frankly is hard to summarize. It doesn’t point all in one direction. You need considerations for consistency as well as potency. Speed is vital. Get 1HKOs for a single Energy using your non-EXs. Get your Basics ready to evolve next turn. Discard the cards that won’t win you the game. Those ideas are reminders of my earlier numbered points:

  1. These Pokémon can attack for a single Energy card
  2. Their attacks can get 1HKOs (on literally anything)
  3. They are not Pokémon-EX
  4. They are (relatively) easy to build as Stage 1 Pokémon
  5. If you use support Pokémon as tech cards, they turn into damage and as a result are never dead cards
  6. The deck benefits from an incredible consistent and robust draw engine

I hope that my analysis of Vespiquen has been helpful to you, whether at the deck, skill, situation, or card choice level. Arguably there is an additional highlight for why Vesipquen is so strong. The deck can adapt to your local meta, your playstyle, or new set releases exceedingly well. I’ve enjoyed some of my biggest tournaments ever with the deck, and I want to challenge myself to see if I can optimize it some more. If you pick up the deck, whether again or for the first time, you’re joining me in this challenge. Welcome to the Bee-Team!

Thanks for reading, and I hope you get out there and enjoy all the fun of City Championships!

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