Hello SixPrizes readers! I am back with another article, where I cover both formats yet again! The new set has caused for a decent amount of changes to be made, both to lists and the overall metagame.
Addtionally, a lot if important tournaments are coming up! In just a few days we have Roanoke Regionals, and then Madison Regionals is just one week later! While I am normally not thrilled to have tournaments back to back like this, I am quite excited to play with the new cards, and the events being different formats will make it a bit more fun too.
In Expanded, I am a big fan of Drampa-GX/Garbodor still, but that likely isn’t a surprise to any of you anymore. Additionally, I have been playing a bit with Lucario-GX, and I really admire the consistency of the deck.
Transitioning into Standard after Roanoke shouldn’t be too hard, as I have been playing a lot of Buzzwole-GX in an attempt to find my favorite list. I have truly tried a ton of different variants, but I will talk more about that later. Malamar is another deck I have been playing with to some success, and while I have been winning, the deck feels a bit weird to play. Anyway, let’s kick off the article with a look at my updated Drampa list!
Expanded for Virginia
Pokémon – 15
Trainers – 36
Energy – 9
This is a deck that I have loved in Expanded for quite a while now, and it is pretty much all my friends and I have been using in the format. We have had a decent amount of success with the deck, so I certainly felt like it was worth a try when Forbidden Light game out. I am still a huge fan of the deck, as it still feels like I can beat almost anything with the deck. While my games are very close most of the time, I like to leave the games in my hand by playing a deck that has a lot of options and comeback potential. Drampa is still great against Zoroark and the rest of the previous Expanded meta, so I have been testing vs Buzzwole a bit to get a better feel for that matchup.
While I could certainly tech Drampa a bit more for the matchup, I still need to be able to beat other decks and remain consistent. So far in my testing, I would say the matchup is 50-50 at worst, which is when the Buzzwole deck is teched extra hard for Drampa. The matchup was weird before the inclusions of Mewtwo EVO and Trubbish BKP, because Buzzwole could pretty easily just limit their items and try to take 6 Prizes super fast. Now that you have all these other Psychic attacking options that don’t require your opponent to play Items, the matchup feels a lot easier to navigate. I’ll talk a bit more about some techs for this matchup in the possible inclusions section, but for now let’s discuss my card choices.
This is the Trubbish count I played in Utah, and is the Trubbish count I have continued to like during my testing. The idea is that playing a bunch of the same Trubbish is unnecessary, so playing a variety of Trubbish gives you a ton of options. They all serve their individual purpose when need be, and honestly make a huge difference in some matchups. Tool Drop is great against Night March because they will play down Dimension Valley for you sometimes. In a similar fashion, Tool Drop came in clutch for me a few times against Trevenant in Utah. However, there, I played Giratina promo which allowed me to freely toss down tools and dig for the 1HKO on a Trevenant with Trubbish.
Tool Drop is also pretty good against Primal Groudon because it gives you a way to 1HKO their Wobbuffet on turn two and start applying pressure. In terms of the other Trubbishes, they both have a bit more specific uses. The Garbage Collection Trubbish crawls out of the dumpster occasionally to assist you with mill matchups, because getting backs resources over and over can really make all the difference. The Acid Spray Trubbish is easily the most gimmicky one out of the trio, as it can be used late game in some silly ways, such as N and Acid Spray in an attempt to setup the KO for next turn (this can be done with a Choice Band).
However, the reason it was put in the deck is because it can be useful in the early game against attackers that are weak to Psychic. When the opponent hasn’t played many items, this Trubbish can apply a bit of pressure by using Acid Spray for 80 damage with a chance to discard an energy. This was especially useful before Mewtwo EVO found its way into the deck, but I still consider this Trubbish to be worth the spot.
Having only two Tapu Lele-GX in the deck has been fine for me. With four Mysterious Treasure and two Ultra Ball in the deck now, you actually have one more out to a turn one Tapu Lele than you did before. Tapu Lele is also not a great starter, which this helps with. Additionally, Tapu Lele is dead under Garbotoxin, so cutting down to two in order to make room for all of the search trainers should help the deck run a bit smoother in that aspect too.
This was added to deal with the new super-charged Buzzwole-GX that will likely be buzzing around at VA Regionals. It is so hyped in Standard that I definitely expect people to play it in Expanded, and it certainly isn’t a bad idea. The deck gained a ton of stuff in the new set, and has a ton of tools to work with in Expanded. Mewtwo, combined with the other Psychic attackers in the deck, is usually enough to handle the matchup. It is by no means a free win even though they are weak to Psychic, as they can avoid dumping Items in most games. Additionally, Lycanroc-GX and other tech Pokémon they play (that aren’t weak to Psychic) can be pretty annoying to deal with.
Oricorio is great against Night March, which is certainly why it was originally included in the deck. It is also great against Buzzwole-GX and Lucario-GX decks because it gives you another way to easily poke them for 120 damage. Despite its 90 HP it is not super easy for them to KO in return sometimes. If they are able to KO it, it can sometimes mean that they had to discard an Item or two in order to get the cards to do so.
This makes the deck very consistent. Mysterious Treasure is a fantastic inclusion in this deck because it helps manage your resources a bit better. Simply having more search cards than before is great for improving the smoothness of the deck. Having Ultra Ball in the deck is absolutely necessary still not only because it increases the consistency of the deck, but because it helps find Pokémon such as Drampa-GX and Sudowoodo, which Mysterious Treasure can’t do.
4th Parallel City
This inclusion would be made again if I expected a ton of Zoroark-GX decks like I did in Utah, but I expect less Zoroark-GX to be played than before. The matchup is definitely favorable with only three, but when you’re expecting to play against as many Zoroarks as I was, taking the extra step is always a good idea. Parallel City is obviously good in a bunch of other matchups, but 4 is usually overkill by a long shot if you aren’t playing against Zoroark. Finding it early in the mirror match is pretty crucial, but the difference between three and four is not going to be all that noticeable.
1-2 Dimension Valley
I would be more inclined to play one than two, as this is not a concept I have tested a ton. The idea is to let you Tool Drop against Psychic Weak attackers, but it serves other purposes too. It can let you attack with Tapu Lele-GX for just one energy, and the same goes for Mewtwo. Against mill decks this obviously acts as a nice counter stadium, but it can also be used to allow you to attack with Garbage Collection for free. In terms of having it when you need it, Teammates can be used to access it pretty early on. Dowsing Machine can also be used to reuse the Dimension Valley, which is pretty sweet too.
This is definitely an untested idea, but I think it could be worth exploring. If I were to make this change, I would also remove the Trubbish BKP for an additional Trubbish PLS, as it has way more synergy with Dimension Valley and is essentially the whole point.
Pokémon – 16
Trainers – 35
Energy – 9
I was impressed by this deck when I tied against it in Utah, and the new set made this deck better by a considerable amount. Diancie p is the only card that it gained, but it makes all of the difference. The extra twenty damage for minimal work is an incredible effect, and allows Lucario-GX to take KOs with ease. The matchups that I would be most worried about with this deck are Trevenant BREAK and Zoroark-GX. While neither matchup is unwinnable, they are both scary because of how limited your options are.
Against Trevenant you can’t play any Items, and they will eventually attack you for Weakness, in addition to having resistance. I would absolutely recommend including a Giratina Promo in ANY deck you plan to play this weekend if you expect to play against BREAK decks. Against Drampa-GX/Garbodor, you have to limit your item usage to an absolute minimum, otherwise Trashlanche will tear you apart. The fact that even the scariest of matchups are manageable is a great sign, and this is absolutely a deck I will be playing with some more the next couple of days.
This is a great attacker to apply early pressure with, especially because Lucario can’t attack until Turn 2. The early game consistency in this deck makes attacking with it a piece of cake too, which makes its inclusion a no brainer. Buzzwole’s Jet Punch damage that gets tossed on the bench is also very important because it sets up KOs for Lucario-GX, which can make all the difference.
I tried to make the deck as consistent as possible after starting with Jose Marrero’s Utah list. I decided that Colress was too good not to include, so I removed an N for that. Additionally, I removed a Cynthia for yet another Korrina, which is my favorite supporter in the deck. Korrina makes it very easy to setup and just find that last missing piece, especially in the early turns of the game. It goes very well with Octillery, because you can draw some cards for the turn and then use Korrina to fish out what you need. Korrina also allows for tech trainer cards to be played, such as Level Ball and Evosoda. Being able to search out your ACE SPEC whenever you want is also really nice, as Scoop Up Cyclone can be game changing.
VS Seeker is a great card, but there are a couple reasons why we are starting to see lower counts of the card get played like this. First of all, VS Seeker is a terrible card to have in your opening hand a majority of the time. Not only does it provide no immediate gratification, but it also makes you a bit more susceptible to Ghetsis and Trevenant. Of course simply having one of your two VS Seekers in the opening hand and having it get shuffled away isn’t the end of the world. However, having less draw Supporters can sometimes result in your hand being dead if they were to Ghetsis your VS Seeker away in the middle of the game.
Additionally, having more supporters instead of VS Seekers makes your early game consistency a lot better, and improves your Trevenant matchup because you are less reliant on item cards. This brings us to my next point, reducing the item count of the deck in an attempt to be stronger against Drampa-GX/Garbodor. Despite the Psychic Weakness of Lucario-GX, I would label the matchup about 50-50 because of how easy it is for Lucario to manage its item usage. The deck doesn’t play a ton to begin with, and hardly need to play any in order to setup and start attacking with Lucario. Having more supporters instead of VS Seekers is very nice in that matchup because you can continue to play supporters and draw cards without having to use VS Seeker to achieve this goal.
When deciding what to do with the last few spots in the deck, I decided to focus on consistency and makee sure I had room for cards like EvoSoda, Level Ball, and an additional Brooklet Hill, which are really nice cards to find in the first couple turns. These cards are also great to have an addition to Korrina, as they really help to develop your board early. Level Ball and EvoSoda are also great cards to be able to grab with Korrina, which is the main reason for their inclusion.
As I just stated, having this in addition to Korrina allows for a fantastic first turn. Getting down two Riolu on the first turn when going second is a must, and going first you need to get at least one into play. These are just the basic “requirements” though, as getting a Remoraid or other basics into play is also very nice.
This helps the early game consistency out a tiny bit, as it provides an additional Pokémon that you would love to start. It also helps apply some early pressure, assuming you can get an attack off with it early enough. This wouldn’t be a challenge going 2nd, but going first this card is borderline useless, especially because Buzzwole-GX is already in the deck and serves the same purpose. Landorus-EX shines against Psychic Pokémon/decks, such as Drampa-GX/Garbodor and Night March. I would definitely recommend this inclusion if you expect large amounts of either of those decks, as worse case scenario you added a good early game card to your deck.
Standard for Madison
Pokémon – 14
Trainers – 30
Energy – 16
1 Beast p
Buzzwole-GX/Lycanroc-GX was by far and away the best deck in the last format, and probably my favorite deck of all time to play with. Beast Ring, Diancie, and baby Buzzwole only made it a better deck, which is pretty scary. Malamar can give it some trouble, but I still consider Buzzwole-GX to be the BDIF still. It can certainly still beat Malamar despite it being a bit scary, and it has a fantastic array of matchups otherwise. It is even more powerful than ever before, and still consistent as ever.
A great inclusion for this deck that came out of Forbidden Light! It is a great non-ex attacker that is efficient and easy to use. I think we will see a copy of this card in every single Buzzwole-GX deck, and possibly some other Fighting decks.
This has felt like the right “split” so far, but I could see another Beast Ring potentially being included in the deck. I am a huge fan of consistency, and I cringe every time I have Beast Ring in the my opening hand, so I will definitely be sticking with two for now. I will definitely be keeping four Max Elixir in the deck, as they are incredible throughout the game, especially early on. Playing two Beast Ring is fine because you really only need to use one each game, and you can definitely win without even the one use. Just think about Buzzwole before Beast Ring, it was a powerhouse that would almost never run out of steam, at least in my experience. These Beast Rings just give it that tiny extra boost that ensure it will have enough juice to finish the game, and can allow for some pretty intense Prize trades.
This might seem like a lot of energy, but after playing with this deck a ton, I am very confident that this is the right split of energy. 11 Basic F Energy has always been the count that I have liked the most, since I was introduced to it by Azul in Brazil. Beast Energy is an automatic inclusion because it is just too good not to play, it should literally be in any deck that plays Ultra Beasts. This brings me to the last energy card played in the deck, Strong Energy. I know, I used to be a huge advocate of four being unnecessary. However, Diancie p has changed the game completely. Diancie in combination with a Strong Energy or Beast Energy allows you to KO any basic with 70 (sometimes 80) HP or less, which is a lot more important than being able to KO a 60 HP basic. You also have greater odds of achieving this because you can now play five energy cards that boost your damage output, as opposed to the previous max of four. These cards that boost your damage also allow you to two shot Pokémon-GX a lot easier in the early game, especially when you bring Choice Band into the picture.
This card is still decent in the mirror match, but it doesn’t really have as huge of an impact as it did before. Additionally, Zoroark-GX decks are supposedly on the decline, which should decrease the presence of Mew-EX. In terms of dealing with Mew-EX without the Mews in the deck, Buzzwole does a pretty good job of it when possible. Additionally, Lycanroc-GX is always an option, and Beast Ring just allows for more energy to be on the board which can allow for easier responses with Buzzwole-GX. Mew FCO is also a lot harder to use with only two Choice Bands in the deck, so if this tech were to make it into the deck, a third copy of Choice Band would have to be included too. I would likely include a Mew and a third copy of Choice Band if I expected to play against a lot of Mew-EX techs.
3rd Choice Band
As I just stated, this would be an absolute must if Mew found its way into the deck. Otherwise, this is up for debate in my opinion. In terms of KOing opposing Pokémon with Knuckle Impact, Strong/Beast Energy and Diancie should almost always get the job done, and Choice Bands still exist in the deck for further assistance. Sure, some Pokémon are a bit harder to 1HKO with Buzzwole due to only two Choice Bands being in the deck, but you have a ton of options to manage these situations. Lycanroc-GX and Guzma-GX both allow you to drag up a target that is easier to KO. This is assuming that you can’t scrap together the 1HKO, which is still going to happen most of the time in my experience. Another situation where Choice Band is important is on turn one or two, when Jet Punch is softening up a Pokémon-GX. Since this is so early in the game, finding a Choice Band would honestly be somewhat uncommon, so having an extra one would be nice. With all this being said, I certainly don’t think a third copy of Choice Band is bad by any means, and there are certainly reasons to play it, but I was a bigger fan of two in my testing so far.
A Psychic Foresight: Malamar
Pokémon – 17
Trainers – 32
Energy – 11
Sudowoodo + Marshadow-GX
This helps to improve your Zoroark-GX matchup. When you are attacking with Marshadow-GX and have Sudowoodo in play, Zoroark-GX can’t one shot your Marshadow-GX, which should usually result in it taking a whopping 4 Prizes. While I haven’t put this idea to the test enough for me to feel comfortable with it yet, Peter Kica tested the deck a bit when the set first came out. Sam Chen then saw his list, made a couple changes, and won the Mexico Special Event where Forbidden Light was first legal. This gives me some additional faith in the combination, but I certainly plan to play some more games with it myself.
This might seem like a weird inclusion because you can just use Malamar to charge up your Pokémon, but Max Elixir is nice in a couple situations. On turn two, sometimes turn one if you’re lucky, Max Elixir can allow you to get an extra energy on the board and attack without needing to get out a couple Malamar. Max Elixir can also allow you to attach extra energy to Necrozma-GX, which boosts your damage output with Prismatic Burst. In a more specific case, Max Elixir is also quite helpful against Garbodor decks because it can give you extra time to find Field Blower. Overall, I would say Max Elixir just makes you less reliant on Malamar, which I consider to be a great thing in my testing so far.
Clefairy is a pretty sweet tech in this deck, and I am surprised that Sam didn’t like it in his testing. Metronome is a great attack in a few situations, especially when you consider that a non-GX is using it. I have been using Clefairy to deal with Lycanroc-GX a decent amount, especially when I can Guzma it up and pull off an early Metronome. Clefairy being a non-GX makes it solid in any matchup where you are just trading prizes, assuming that Metronome results in a KO.
3rd Float Stone
As stated before, I started off by playing a bit with Sam Chen’s Malamar list, and I felt like the four Float Stone was a bit excessive. This caused me to remove just one copy at first, and then I eventually removed another. Four is definitely too many, but I could see three being better than two. In the games I played, it often felt like the first Float Stone was the most important one. However, unlike with other decks, it’s not like you need to find that first Float Stone immediately. Simply using Dawn Wing Necrozma as an attacker is perfectly fine, which can use its ability to get into the Active Spot. Having four Guzmas in the deck also allows for a switching effect to occur pretty easily, which makes float stone even less of a necessity. If you play with the deck and feel like two just isn’t cutting it, I would likely remove a P Energy for the third copy and play some more games to get a feel for the change.
2nd Parallel City
Parallel City is definitely a great card, but having multiple in the deck makes it a bit more clunky. I still play one though, because the deck requires no other stadium, and even just a one time use of Parallel City can put the opponent in a bad spot. Where Parallel City shines is against other evolution decks, such as Mirror match and Zoroark-GX decks. Going into a blind metagame, it is unclear what the spread of decks will be, which is why I currently have one. After seeing the results of Madison, it will be a lot easier to revamp this decklist for the meta. Until then, I am going to stick with the one copy, but could change my mind based on the information I gather.
That’s a wrap for today everyone! I enjoyed getting to write about how I have been using the new cards. I hope that some of these ideas can help everyone prepare for upcoming tournaments, whether that be one of the Regional Championships I mentioned earlier, or a seemingly imaginary quarter four League Cup! I say that because my area has scheduled minimal Cups for the foreseeable future, so it’s a good thing I’ll be traveling to these Regionals. Anyway, if you happen to see me at an upcoming event, feel free to come up and say hi!
…and that will conclude this Unlocked Underground article.
After 45 days, we unlock each Underground (UG/★) article for public viewing. New articles are reserved for Underground members.
Underground Members: Thank you for making this article possible!
Other Readers: Check out the FAQ if you are interested in joining Underground and gaining full access to our latest content.