Some Like It Hot

The Green Machine (Celebi & Venusaur-GX), Blacephalon, and My Yellow Plays (Zapdos/Jolteon, Zapdos/Ultra Beasts, Lightning Box) for Denver

Hello again readers, I’m back with you for 6P’s last words on the upcoming Denver Regional Championships. I have a few decks that I’m heavily considering for this event, including but not limited to:

Of these five decks, three of them have been written about to near death by people everywhere. I’m going to go in depth on BlacephalonCelebi & Venusaur-GX today, but I’ll also provide my lists for the other three decks for transparency’s sake.

The Green Machine: Celebi & Venusaur-GX

Pokémon (9)

4 Celebi & Venusaur-GX

4 Shaymin LOT

1 Wobbuffet LOT

Trainer (41)

4 Cynthia

3 Erika’s Hospitality

3 Lillie

2 Acerola

2 Gardenia

2 Guzma

1 Judge

 

4 Judge Whistle

4 Net Ball

3 Buff Padding

3 Crushing Hammer

3 Potion

2 Nest Ball

1 Enhanced Hammer

 

2 Aether Paradise Conservation Area

1 Life Forest p

1 Wondrous Labyrinth p

Energy (10)

6 Grass

4 Double Colorless

 

Copy List

****** Pokémon Trading Card Game Deck List ******

##Pokémon - 9

* 4 Celebi & Venusaur-GX TEU 1
* 4 Shaymin LOT 33
* 1 Wobbuffet LOT 93

##Trainer Cards - 41

* 4 Cynthia UPR 148
* 3 Erika’s Hospitality TEU 140
* 3 Lillie UPR 151
* 2 Acerola BUS 142
* 2 Gardenia UPR 124
* 1 Judge UL 78
* 2 Guzma BUS 143
* 4 Net Ball LOT 187
* 4 Judge Whistle TEU 146
* 3 Potion BLW 100
* 3 Crushing Hammer LTR 111
* 2 Nest Ball SUM 158
* 1 Enhanced Hammer GRI 162
* 3 Buff Padding TEU 136
* 1 Wondrous Labyrinth p TEU 158
* 2 Aether Paradise Conservation Area GRI 116
* 1 Life Forest p LOT 180

##Energy - 10

* 4 Double Colorless Energy GRI 166
* 6 Grass Energy GEN 75

Total Cards - 60

****** via SixPrizes: https://sixprizes.com/?p=72977 ******

I really like this deck as a rogue play for Denver. It boasts quite a few good matchups that I want to beat, and that automatically put it on my radar. The deck struggles a little bit in the early game if you’re unable to find an Energy on the first turn. Usually, this isn’t a problem because we play 14 outs to Energy cards.

Card Choices

1 Wobbuffet LOT
One of the matchups that this deck generally struggles with is . This is because they can usually get a turn two Full Blitz if they dig for it. Wobbuffet plays a major role in slowing down a PikaRom player. With Wobbuffet in play, their Tapu Koko p is completely worthless. This slows them down at least one turn, which is all we need to really get off the ground and start doing damage.

2 Aether Paradise Conservation Area, 1 Wondrous Labyrinth {}, 1 Life Forest {}
I believe that this is the best possible combination of Stadiums for this deck. Two APCA and the Life Forest {} provide quite a bit of survivability. The Wondrous Labyrinth {} is a bit of a double-edged sword, but it can completely turn the tides against decks such as and Lightning stuff.

Potential Inclusions

Shaymin p
I don’t know how good this would be in practice, but in theory it is a great one-Prize attacker that is able to deal a decent amount of damage. However, it caps at 180 damage because we only play six Grass Energy. I definitely think it’s worth consideration.

Jirachi TEU
Celebi & Venusaur has some potential problems with consistency, and Jirachi generally remedies these types of issues. However, if we choose to include Jirachi, we have to include the switch cards that are required for the Jirachi engine.

Lusamine
I’ve seen some lists running around with Lusamine, but I’ve always assumed it was too slow to actually do anything. In theory it allows us to play a longer game and never deck out against Stall, but I don’t believe that it’s worth the extra slots.

The Matchup Spread

Zapdos Decks: Favored
We generally have a good matchup against these decks. They are unable to hit the insanely high numbers that are required to KO a Celebi & Venusaur-GX more than once. Tapu Thunder GX is the only way for them to take a KO with many turns of attacking. As long as we don’t bench more than two Shaymin, this doesn’t pose an issue for us because they are then forced to KO another Celebi & Venusaur-GX rather than Guzma three different times. The game plan here is to find Energies every turn and heal as much as possible.

Blacephalon: Bad. Very Bad.
Yeah, this is a matchup that just is not possible for us to win, barring some majorly bad draws by them.

Zoroark Decks: Favored
There’s a major lack of damage output in Standard Zoroark. They’re unable to deal enough damage to become a major threat to a Celebi & Venusaur-GX. As long as we don’t dead draw, we can attach Energy every turn, heal off any damage, and eventually start taking KOs.

PikaRom: Even
This matchup is determined based on how fast our opponent sets up and if they play Absol TEU of not. If they do not, then 320 HP is nearly impossible for them to KO. Again, benching more than two Shaymin is very risky in this matchup because of Tapu Thunder GX and the triple Guzma threat. The game plan here is the same as against Zapdos, the only difference being that they have a way to consistently deal 150+ damage every turn.

Stall: You’re Gonna Tie or Lose Unless You Play Shaymin {}
This matchup comes down to whether or not the Stall player is playing the Vileplume variant or just the Regigigas one. If they play Vileplume, it comes down to whether or not you can legally make your five Judges last 50 minutes to not lose. (I don’t actually know if it’s possible. DO NOT STALL. I am not telling you to slow play. Play at a normal pace and make the Judges count.) If there is no Vileplume, then you can almost certainly secure a tie assuming you’re able to use Evergreen GX to shuffle all five outs to Judge back in. If you play a Shaymin {} we have an answer to Hoopa SLG, which in theory gives us an out to winning the game through Prize cards. Even with Shaymin, I believe that it is vital for us to use Evergreen GX to its full potential. I haven’t actually tested this matchup much because it’s incredibly boring and difficult to find someone willing to test it with you.

: Favored
We have too much healing for Malamar to keep up with us. Sure, they might manage to take one big KO with Photon Geyser, but getting a second one is incredibly difficult. We need to save our Crushing Hammers for the Metal Energies and if we hit a few heads on the flips, we should be fine in this matchup. Again, avoid benching more than two Shaymin because of Sky-Scorching Light GX.

Blacephalon: Blowing Minds All Day

Pokémon (17)

4 Blacephalon-GX

3 Poipole FLI

4 Naganadel LOT

1 Naganadel-GX FLI

1 Alolan Grimer SUM

1 Alolan Muk SUM

1 Ditto p

1 Tapu Lele-GX

1 Marshadow SLG

Trainer (27)

4 Cynthia

3 Guzma

2 Erika’s Hospitality

2 Lillie

 

4 Beast Ring

4 Mysterious Treasure

3 Ultra Ball

2 Energy Switch

 

2 Ultra Space

1 Heat Factory p

Energy (16)

15 Fire

1 Beast p

 

Copy List

****** Pokémon Trading Card Game Deck List ******

##Pokémon - 17

* 4 Blacephalon-GX LOT 219
* 3 Poipole FLI 55
* 4 Naganadel LOT 108
* 1 Naganadel-GX FLI 134
* 1 Alolan Grimer SUM 57
* 1 Alolan Muk SUM 58
* 1 Ditto p LOT 154
* 1 Tapu Lele-GX GRI 155
* 1 Marshadow SLG 45

##Trainer Cards - 27

* 1 Heat Factory p LOT 178
* 4 Beast Ring FLI 102
* 4 Mysterious Treasure FLI 113
* 3 Ultra Ball DEX 102
* 2 Energy Switch CES 129
* 3 Guzma BUS 115
* 4 Cynthia UPR 148
* 2 Lillie UPR 151
* 2 Ultra Space FLI 115
* 2 Erika’s Hospitality TEU 140

##Energy - 16

* 1 Beast Energy p FLI 117
* 15 Fire Energy Energy 11

Total Cards - 60

****** via SixPrizes: https://sixprizes.com/?p=72977 ******

This is similar to the list that I posted a while back, and this is because I believe Blacephalon to be the most standardized deck in the game when it comes to building lists. My opinion of the deck was improved somewhat recently because of how well it has played for me during testing.

Card Choices

3-4-1 Line
Ditto p serves as another against most decks, which allows us to cut one of them fairly easily. I chose to play a Naganadel-GX because of how dangerous I believe Stall to be this coming weekend. Once you manage to pull off the Stinger GX you’re pretty much guaranteed to win that matchup.

1 Marshadow SLG
To my knowledge, I was the player who first popularized playing two Marshadow back in Roanoke this season. I’ve finally been forced to go back to playing one because I couldn’t think of any better card to cut from this list. I’ve found that a turn one Let Loose from my own Marshadow has way too big of a chance to result in a dead hand to justify it. Without the turn one Let Loose, we generally save our Marshadow for the late game which is what I initially played the second copy for.

1-1 Alolan Muk
The Psychic Alolan Grimer fits perfectly in here because of Mysterious Treasure. Alolan Muk is here for the Zapdos matchup because of how efficiently it shuts down Jirachi.

Potential Inclusions

4th Poipole
This is my 61st card in the deck and if any of the techs start to feel underwhelming I will be adding it back into the list. It is incredibly important to get as many Poipole down as possible and prizing one of three is much worse that prizing one of four.

2nd Marshadow
I want it back so badly, but deck space currently isn’t allowing allowing it. Having a second copy gives us quite a bit of leeway for when we either play an early Marshadow or when we prize our only copy.

Choice Bands
Sometimes you just need that extra 30 damage that can’t come from an Energy. Choice Band allows us to one-shot most Psychic-weak GX Pokémon with Naganadel. It also allows us to hit 190 with Turning Point while we’re at three Prize cards which can swing the Prize trade into our favor quite easily. My current list doesn’t play these because of space issues, but I could definitely see playing a list that does play at least a single copy of Choice Band.

Rescue Stretcher
I’ve always wanted to play a copy of Rescue Stretcher in Blacephalon, but I’ve never been able to justify the use of a slot for something that seems to be a win-more card.

The Matchup Spread

Zapdos Decks: Even
Alolan Muk allows us to cripple their draw power, so sticking that is the number one priority. Our Beast Energy p is a key card in this matchup, because it allows us to only discard 2 Energies for a KO rather than 3. If we can use Let Loose and then drop Alolan Muk, there is a very high chance that our opponent with have a dead hand. Your game plan is to take as many KOs as possible while not giving up many Prize cards. In a perfect game you take 1 Prize from Burst GX, 1–2 from Turning Point, and 3–4 from Mind Blown.

Zoroark Decks: Favored
We can typically trade Prize cards incredibly well in this matchup. They generally do not have a great way to skip Beast Ring and as long as we find a few Beast Rings, we are able to get enough Energy in play to finish out the game. In this matchup it is best to get as many Poipole out as possible because it is very likely that our opponent will be targeting them for the first few turns while they set up their big KO combos. We can be caught in a tight spot if we’re not careful, because many lists are playing Tapu Koko SM31 or Giratina LOT, which in theory gives them a chance to completely bypass Beast Ring. Because of this, it is important to get as many Energy in play as fast as possible through whatever means necessary.

PikaRom: Unfavored–Even
This matchup can be quite difficult if you don’t draw somewhat well. In a perfect world, we get Alolan Muk and multiple Naganadel into play on turn two, but in reality that doesn’t happen all that often. Assuming that this is the Zapdos/PikaRom variant, they’re going to take a few cheap Prizes off of Zapdos and then transition into PikaRom or Jolteon-GX. If they go into PikaRom, it is vital that we manage to KO it right away because we are never going to win if they manage to take multiple KOs with Tag Bolt GX. Avoid benching more than one Blacephalon unless you have a lot of Beast Rings to play at once and target down any GX Pokémon that your opponent benches because it doesn’t matter all that much if you KO a Zapdos because they can easily find another attacker.

Stall: Favored
Naganadel-GX completely solves this matchup for us. Once we manage to use Stinger GX, we essentially win the game because we simultaneously take 3 Prize cards and turn on Beast Ring. Once we do this, it becomes child’s play to take our remaining three Prize cards.

Malamar: Even
Malamar is one of those matchups that can go either way depending on how well either player draws. Once the game gets going there isn’t really a very good way to come back once you’ve fallen behind. To prevent falling behind it is best to target down any GX that hits the field, as well as taking Prizes whenever possible.

My Yellow Plays

I’m still heavily considering Zapdos/Jolteon, Zapdos/Ultra Beasts, and Lightning Box, but many people have covered these recently. I’m providing my most recent lists because I believe they are both great lists to test against and potential plays for Denver if you want to play one of the many Yellow Decks. I’m not going to talk much about them because there’s nothing overly special or unheard of in any of them, but I’ll mention a few key things for each.

Zapdos/Jolteon-GX

Pokémon (15)

3 Zapdos TEU

2 Eevee SUM

2 Jolteon-GX

1 Tapu Koko-GX

1 Tapu Koko p

1 Zeraora-GX

4 Jirachi TEU

1 Absol TEU

Trainer (36)

4 Guzma

4 Lillie

4 Volkner

1 Cynthia

1 Erika’s Hospitality

 

4 Electropower

4 Nest Ball

3 Switch

3 Ultra Ball

1 Escape Rope

1 Max Potion

2 Choice Band

2 Escape Board

 

1 Thunder Mountain p

1 Viridian Forest

Energy (9)

9 Lightning

 

Copy List

****** Pokémon Trading Card Game Deck List ******

##Pokémon - 15

* 3 Zapdos TEU 40
* 2 Eevee SUM 101
* 2 Jolteon-GX PR-SM 173
* 1 Tapu Koko-GX PR-SM 33
* 1 Tapu Koko p TEU 51
* 1 Zeraora-GX LOT 86
* 4 Jirachi TEU 99
* 1 Absol TEU 88

##Trainer Cards - 36

* 3 Switch HS 102
* 1 Thunder Mountain p LOT 191
* 1 Viridian Forest TEU 156
* 4 Guzma BUS 115
* 3 Ultra Ball SUM 161
* 1 Escape Rope PRC 127
* 4 Nest Ball SUM 158
* 2 Escape Board UPR 122
* 1 Cynthia UPR 148
* 4 Lillie UPR 151
* 2 Choice Band GRI 121
* 4 Electropower LOT 172
* 4 Volkner UPR 135
* 1 Max Potion BKP 103
* 1 Erika’s Hospitality TEU 174

##Energy - 9

* 9 Lightning Energy GEN 78

Total Cards - 60

****** via SixPrizes: https://sixprizes.com/?p=72977 ******

I believe that this is likely the best deck in format, which is both a good and a bad thing. Obviously, it’s a good thing because the deck is the most strong overall, but it’s also bad because it will (i.e., should) be the most countered deck going into Denver. The only reason I don’t want to choose it for Denver is the mirror match, because of how important the coin flip is there.

Zapdos/Ultra Beasts

Pokémon (14)

3 Zapdos TEU

1 Eevee SUM

1 Jolteon-GX

1 Buzzwole FLI

1 Nihilego LOT

1 Tapu Koko-GX

1 Tapu Koko p

4 Jirachi TEU

1 Wobbuffet LOT

Trainer (37)

4 Guzma

4 Lillie

3 Volkner

2 Cynthia

 

4 Electropower

4 Nest Ball

3 Switch

2 Escape Rope

2 Rescue Stretcher

2 Ultra Ball

2 Choice Band

2 Escape Board

 

2 Shrine of Punishment

1 Thunder Mountain p

Energy (9)

5 Lightning

4 Rainbow

 

Copy List

****** Pokémon Trading Card Game Deck List ******

##Pokémon - 14

* 3 Zapdos TEU 40
* 1 Eevee SUM 101
* 1 Jolteon-GX PR-SM 173
* 1 Buzzwole FLI 77
* 1 Nihilego LOT 106
* 1 Tapu Koko-GX PR-SM 33
* 1 Tapu Koko p TEU 51
* 4 Jirachi TEU 99
* 1 Wobbuffet LOT 93

##Trainer Cards - 37

* 2 Shrine of Punishment CES 143
* 2 Rescue Stretcher BUS 165
* 1 Thunder Mountain p LOT 191
* 2 Escape Board UPR 167
* 3 Switch EVO 88
* 2 Choice Band GRI 121
* 4 Electropower LOT 232
* 4 Guzma BUS 115
* 2 Escape Rope BUS 114
* 4 Nest Ball SUM 158
* 4 Lillie UPR 151
* 2 Ultra Ball SLG 68
* 2 Cynthia UPR 119
* 3 Volkner UPR 135

##Energy - 9

* 4 Rainbow Energy CES 151
* 5 Lightning Energy Energy 4

Total Cards - 60

****** via SixPrizes: https://sixprizes.com/?p=72977 ******

I think the Beasts version of Zapdos has the most potential to pull off plays that can turn a game in its favor, but it also feels the most fragile to me. To combat this fragility, I decided that I would add a Jolteon-GX line to boost the deck’s comeback potential even more. Lo and behold, the day after I do this, I see multiple lists playing Jolteon-GX pop up, so I decided that the idea definitely had merit and continued to test with it in the list. I’ve found it to be what the deck really needed, which is why Zapdos/Ultra Beasts is still on my list of decks to play for Denver.

Lightning Box

Pokémon (15)

2 Pikachu & Zekrom-GX

2 Zapdos TEU

1 Tapu Koko-GX

1 Tapu Koko p

1 Zeraora-GX

1 Eevee SUM

1 Jolteon-GX

1 Blitzle LOT

1 Zebstrika LOT

2 Jirachi TEU

1 Marshadow SLG

1 Absol TEU

Trainer (35)

4 Guzma

4 Lillie

3 Cynthia

2 Volkner

 

4 Electropower

3 Nest Ball

3 Ultra Ball

2 Energy Switch

2 Switch

1 Escape Rope

1 Rescue Stretcher

2 Choice Band

2 Escape Board

 

1 Thunder Mountain p

1 Viridian Forest

Energy (10)

10 Lightning

 

Copy List

****** Pokémon Trading Card Game Deck List ******

##Pokémon - 15

* 2 Pikachu & Zekrom-GX TEU 184
* 2 Zapdos TEU 40
* 1 Tapu Koko-GX PR-SM 33
* 1 Tapu Koko p TEU 51
* 1 Zeraora-GX LOT 221
* 1 Eevee SUM 101
* 1 Jolteon-GX PR-SM 173
* 1 Blitzle LOT 81
* 1 Zebstrika LOT 82
* 2 Jirachi TEU 99
* 1 Marshadow SLG 45
* 1 Absol TEU 88

##Trainer Cards - 35

* 1 Rescue Stretcher BUS 165
* 1 Thunder Mountain p LOT 191
* 1 Viridian Forest TEU 156
* 2 Escape Board UPR 167
* 2 Switch SUM 160
* 2 Energy Switch CES 129
* 4 Guzma BUS 115
* 1 Escape Rope BUS 163
* 3 Ultra Ball SUM 161
* 3 Nest Ball SUM 158
* 3 Cynthia UPR 148
* 4 Lillie UPR 151
* 2 Choice Band GRI 121
* 4 Electropower LOT 172
* 2 Volkner UPR 135

##Energy - 10

* 10 Lightning Energy Energy 4

Total Cards - 60

****** via SixPrizes: https://sixprizes.com/?p=72977 ******

Lists very similar to this have been winning foreign SPEs and Regionals left and right. Clearly the deck is incredibly powerful and a popular choice for the top players outside of the US. I’ve only brought the deck to one League Challenge, but I’ve tested countless games with it and it feels amazing to play. The only reason I don’t want to play it is because of the Zapdos matchup. It’s essentially a Zapdos.deck mirror match, except we end up transitioning to GX attackers first and if they can take a KO on a GX, we inevitably fall behind. Obviously that doesn’t happen all the time, but it’s often enough that I don’t feel entirely comfortable playing the deck without testing more.

Final Thoughts

I hope I’ve given you all a lot to think about for Denver/whatever League level event you might be playing in. Zapdos decks are still insanely good, PikaRom feels pretty darn strong, and decks like Blacephalon are sneaking around stealing quite a few games. Celebi & Venusaur-GX is a low-key strong pick going into Denver as long as you can accept a loss to Blacephalon. (If you manage to fix that matchup, you’re now my favorite person.)

Anyway, that’s all from me today. Good luck and have fun in Denver this weekend if you’re going. I’m sure I’ll see some of you there.

As always, feel free to come up to me or message me with any questions that you might have about anything related to Pokémon. (I likely cannot help with math homework. Yes, I have been asked.) I also now offer ! (Still not math.) Either email me (alex.schemanske@gmail.com) or PM me if interested.

Until the next one.


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