Hello everyone. This month for me has been extremely busy, but for different reasons than others of us at SixPrizes. Both Salt Lake City and Toronto Regionals have already happened in this long strain of SPE/Regional tournaments. As I talked about in my last article, I missed these two events, but will be attending the rest of them.
Forbidden Light looks to be the cure to the stale meta we’ve played during the past few months. The set introduces new archetypes and strong supporting cards that will definitely kick a few decks out of the current meta.
In today’s article, I’ll be covering two of my tested decks in Standard as well as an idea in Expanded I’ve been trying to make work for the past month or two. These decks seem like they can perform if the meta aligns itself correctly, similar to how I was able to find success with Espeon/Garbodor at Portland and São Paulo. The decks I’m talking about are none other than Beast Box and Gourgeist.
Beast Box was the first deck I wanted to try out when the new set dropped on PTCGO. I’ve always been a fan of Toolbox decks because there’s seemingly an answer for everything. An example of this is the Zoroark-GX/Counter deck I and a few others played to mild success at Dallas Regionals this year. I certainly think this is more of a step in the Toolbox direction than that with Six Corners being a more accurate representation of the deck. Key cards further promote the Ultra Beast strategy: Ultra Space, Beast Energy, and Ultra Recon Squad (which made its way out of the deck after testing.)
One thing that’s interesting to me is that as the meta progresses itself, different variations of the deck may arise to better combat the shift. Because Naganadel-GX doesn’t require Psychic Energy for its attack, the deck can be slotted with other typed attackers. I currently have Fighting/Grass/Lightning, but its possible that Psychic or Dark variations become popular. As more sets are printed, more options for attackers will become available.
Pokémon – 16
Trainers – 33
Energy – 11
The core of this deck lies in the Mysterious Treasure/Ultra Space search engine. Poipole and Naganadel-GX are the most important cards to find early on with either of these. The 4th copy of Mysterious Treasure is very helpful in searching for Tapu Lele-GX as well whenever there’s the potential for a Guzma/Acerola turn. I’ve found that 2 Tapu Lele-GX is enough to tide the deck over for the game. One will be discarded within the first couple turns because of Professor Sycamore, so I’ll usually shuffle it back in with Super Rod. Any more than 2 would be a detriment to the Ultra Beast strategy and inhibit Beast Raid too much. At that point, I’d prefer to add another draw Supporter.
Overall, I think that Beast Box is versatile and will at least have some competitive success. As proven, decks can be shown as incredibly strong or incredibly weak depending on how many “top players” play them. One worry I have with the deck is that it’s somewhat of a Zoroark-GX deck without Trade. Psychic and Fighting Weakness are both awful in their own regards, but it’s debatable whether the benefit of Beast Ring and alternate attackers is equivalent to the other tools that Zoroark-GX can play. I think in a Buzzwole heavy format, Naganadel-GX is definitely better than Zoroark-GX, but with Malamar and other Psychic beasts in play, it may be the other way around.
Buzzwole-GX and Buzzwole FLI are both incredibly strong. Jet Punch sets up Naganadel-GX for cleaner KO’s with Beast Raid against 180 HP GX’s and offers a way of getting an early lead against Zoroark-GX decks. Likewise, Sledgehammer is absolutely insane against everything. I’ve found myself sometimes putting a Beast Energy and a Choice Band on it to hit 180 on a Tapu Lele-GX before. Buzzwole is certainly the proper mid-game card in this deck to keep the opponent on odd prizing. I would never cut the Fighting part of this deck in the foreseeable future because it is simply too strong. My only concern with having a main focus here is that the deck may struggle against other Psychic decks. Dawn Wings Necrozma-GX is a pain to deal with.
Metal is a fairly lackluster type. Celesteela-GX and Dusk Mane Necrozma-GX aren’t efficient with their Energy like other types are. The one saving grace is that Dusk Mane Necrozma-GX has an insane GX attack. However, even that is rivaled by Dawn Wings Necrozma-GX, whose type has applications with Nihilego-GX. In the future, I want to heavily test a version that has both Metal and Psychic in it so that Ultra Necrozma-GX can be used. If I’m going with the idea that it would be KO’d next turn, Photon Geyser is even better than Knuckle Impact in dealing damage. Sky-Scorching Light GX also offers options to take multiple Prizes in one turn after setting them up with Naganadel-GX.
pokemon-paradijs.comPsychic is a strong type that requires more dedication to it than there would be in this list. Both Nihilego-GX and Dawn Wings Necrozma-GX require 3 Psychic Energy for any kind of attack. These could only be loaded up with Beast Ring, but that requires proper timing. In most of my games, I’ll usually be the one leading the Prize trade because Beast Box is very efficient with Ultra Space and single Energy attacks. If the deck is falling behind, Naganadel-GX has a good GX attack to help recover, making Dawn Wing Necrozma’s less useful.
Dark is an extremely polarizing type because Guzzlord-GX and Guzzlord FLI require 4+ Dark Energy. Like Psychic, the only means of these attacking are with Beast Ring. Guzzlord-GX requires 2 Beast Rings! It has the strongest GX attack, but is therefore the hardest to pull off effectively. To be honest, if I ever switched to a Dark engine, I would put the deck aside and pick up Zoroark-GX/Garbodor or Zoroark-GX/Beast Ring.
Grass is wonderful because of Pheromosa and Pheromosa-GX. The Fast Raid dream sometimes happens too! Other than that, Pheromosa acts as a strong Free-retreater that can punish Lycanroc-GX and take the final Prize with White Ray. Most of my games are closed out with this when I’m unable to roll over the opponent. Pheromosa-GX is great for the same reason, but its for when the opponent is coming on very strongly.
Both Xurkitree-GX and Xurkitree FLI are extremely intriguing. I think that they’re both cards that can swing games or win matchups outright because of their niche role. Lighting GX has won a few games when I choose to catch the opponent with only a single Supporter card in hand and no Zoroark-GX or Octillery developed. Its Ability is very strong against Zoroark-GX decks and typing is good against Ho-oh-GX.
I haven’t meddled too much with Baby Xurkitree, but I don’t think it’s very good. Cablegram is incredibly strong if the opponent doesn’t have Guzma, but I think that Tapu Lele-GX is prevalent enough to where it can be found. I guess the benefit to this is that it can always be used in again, because no Prizes were taken. I think a greater focus on Lightning—at least a 3-4 Energy—are required before adding another benefactor of this type.
Invasion + Float Stone is good for cycling attackers like it was with Keldeo-EX. The main selling point for inclusion is that it allows Pokémon with a Choice Band to be switched out of the Active without using a Guzma or Acerola. I’d like to include one but cannot find a worthwhile cut for it. The 2nd Buzzwole-GX or 4th Mysterious Treasure are the first cards to go, but I also manage to get by without Invasion regularly.
Empty Light is used as a way to prevent being short 10 damage from a KO. Key math for this includes but is not limited to: Knuckle Impact on Tapu Lele-GX or Lycanroc-GX, Pheromosa-GX with 4 Prizes taken vs. Zoroark-GX, Jet Punch with Beast Energy vs. 70 HP Basic, or odd numbers with Beast Raid.
2nd Super Rod
The 2nd Super Rod would be in order to prevent bad luck with early discards.
Ultra Recon Squad is only a good card if two Ultra Beasts are discarded. If two Ultra Beasts are being discarded, then you’ve already gotten a board established and likely have a fair amount of cards in your hand (or else you wouldn’t have any UB’s in hand.) The point of a draw Supporter is to draw cards, essentially making something from nothing, but Ultra Recon Squad has the cost that requires specific cards to already be in hand. Maybe this card can work after rotation when Professor Sycamore is gone, but even then I doubt it.
Acerola is necessary for this deck to compete. Simply put, the card is strong and easy to use when Ultra Space is in play and able to maintain an engine. Acerola is great for removing easy Prizes off of the board and trading more efficiently with Naganadel-GX in the early-game. I choose to run 2 copies so that I’ll never have the problem of one being prized at an opportune moment.
The 5-3-2 Energy split is with the rationale of how often I’ll be using each attacker. I run the most Fighting Energies because its the Energy card I want to draw frequently for Jet Punch. Grass and Lightning Energies are there to utilize the other attackers. I run 3 Grass because I want an extra in case one is prized or exhausted. Either Pheromosa is a more important attacker than Xurkitree-GX, which I mainly use for its GX attack anyways. Rarely will I use Rumbling Wire because other attacks hit for more.
Gourgeist is a concept I’ve meddled with since its release before London Internationals. It’s always been something I test, but nevertheless falls short of being competitive because of glaring autolosses and inherent inconsistencies. Forbidden Light helps a few things with Mysterious Treasure and the Psychic Rotom, but I’m unsure if it can push the deck into the meta. The change that will make this deck succeed is the rotation of meta decks. Greninja is all but extinct now, Buzzwole has taken over, and therefore Zoroark-GX has taken a slight backseat. I think Zoroark-GX/Garbodor is still very strong, though.
Pokémon – 19
Trainers – 37
Energy – 4
This is the list I’m liking the most. It differs somewhat greatly from that of the previous iteration before Forbidden Light was released. The most notable inclusion is Mysterious Treasure, which offers an insane way to stream Gourgeist and thin the hand for Abyssal Hand. One key problem the deck has is a clunky hand filled with Rescue Stretcher or Supporters when Tools and Energy are needed. These resources are important enough not to discard, but also clog the hand and can lose games outright. I switched all of the Professor Sycamores to Cynthia because of this, which will hopefully reduce the amount of games lost due to unwanted discards.
I think that Gourgeist can succeed in this meta because of the prevalence of other Psychic and Fighting types. Not all of these hyped new Ultra Beasts are weak to Psychic—Dusk Mane Necrozma-GX, for example—but the meta shifts away from other decks that would beat up on Gourgeist.
There are some problematic decks in the metagame though. Greninja is one of the deck’s biggest problems because it shuts off both Klefki and Octillery. Garbodor decks (other than Zoroark-GX) will see a rise in play because of Buzzwole-GX and Malamar FLI.
Overall, single Prize attackers have always been strong, especially when the typing is useful as well.
I cut the 4th Gourgeist in exchange for the 4th Rescue Stretcher. I previously had a different split because it was harder to find Gourgeist, but Mysterious Treasure solves that issue and allows me to reverse the split. One important part of this deck is managing the number of Tools remaining to pick up final KOs. The 4th Stretcher potentially allows for 3 Klefki to be reshuffled, but will more likely contribute by shuffling in a combination of Pokémon or acting as a Pokémon Rescue.
Likewise to the reason behind 3 Gourgeist, 3 Klefki abides by the same reasoning. The previous count was 4 because it acted as a “turn and burn” card I could immediately dispel from the hand for Abyssal Hand. Mysterious Treasure cannot search for Klefki, but allows Ultra Ball to be used elsewhere in search of Octillery pieces or Klefki.
Rotom FLI may not seem like a big inclusion, but it’s incredibly better than Rotom UPR, the same card but with Lightning typing. Rotom acts as an easy way to take a Prize without having any Pumpkaboo on board. The Psychic typing makes it much more appealing against everything because the decks weak to Lightning were already incredibly favored. Psychic typing makes it better against Fighting decks and is less prone to Buzzwole-GX. All I’m waiting for is a Fighting type Rotom, one that can OHKO a Zoroark-GX!
I choose to have an Evosoda in the list because it acts as a 5th search card for Octillery; it’s incredibly important to get one in play on Turn 2. I think that it’s more versatile than the 4th Mysterious Treasure.
I have a feeling that Expanded will be a giant mess even after Roanoke. There’s already an unsettled format before the set drops due to the new shenanigans after Salt Lake City. Both Sableye/Garbodor and Gardevoir-GX have re-emerged and had some success within the field of Zoroark-GX and Drampa-GX. I don’t know if Glaceon-GX can continue to contend with these two decks, even with the strength of Freezing Gaze and Oranguru UPR. The Trick Shovel lock can happen eventually and lock Glaceon-GX out of the game. At best, Glaceon-GX can pick up a tie.
One deck that a fair amount of good players played (yet didn’t make Top 8) was the Expanded version of a Fighting theme deck. Diancie ♢ and Buzzwole FLI really advance the deck by adding more damage modifiers and better ways to have huge Prize swings. If Roanoke was tomorrow, I’d find a friend and use their list with those modifications. The other change I’d make is to replace one of the Rockruffs with the 70 HP version while keeping one for Corner.
A concept that I’ve tried to make work, but is constantly fruitless and depressing, is Accelgor. It’s always been such a good card in one form or another. TrevGor was there to prevent Escape Rope and Float Stone in conjunction with Keldeo-EX. The most recent version of the deck was Wobbuffet/Accelgor which focused on solely using Accelgor’s efficiency as an attacker.
Despite these past successes, I can’t find anything to get it over the hump of Guzma. Being able to get out of paralysis and target down a bench sitter is simply too strong for the deck to handle. Stoutland can block Supporters, but at that point, the deck is a worse Shock Lock. Without Stoutland and Dusknoir, the deck is underwhelming and cannot function as efficiently as other meta decks. It’s doomed to fail.
For those who are interested, the most recent idea I meddled with was Accelgor DRX/Musharna NXD/Wobbuffet/Dusknoir with a Flareon AOR + Lysandre ♢ combo. The goal was to send away the opponent’s Guzma then establish the lock. The concept was introduced to me by Christopher after I suggested building some different Fire deck in Expanded. I never thought of the possibilities of it in these lock decks to send away the card that severely hurts the lock.
Forbidden Light offers many new cards. Christopher and the other writers have given insight into their strength individually as well as their buylists. I personally opened boxes of this set and bought the final copies of a few cards I pulled less than 4 of.
My next article is after Roanoke. By then, the world should have a better idea on what the solidified meta will be going into Madison. I think that Zoroark-GX/Garbodor, Buzzwole-GX, and Malamar will all be very good. Zoroark-GX/Greninja, Gourgeist, Beast Box, and older decks may succeed, but only time will tell.
Until next time,
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