Building & Busting the Wall

Last Word, Beast Box, and Ultra Necrozma/Malamar for EUIC (SUM–TEU)
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6P’s command center monitoring for weird decks at EUIC…nothing on the radar.

Hello again readers, I’m here with 6P’s last word before EUIC in Berlin this weekend. I have a few ideas for the event, but none of them are too spicy. The SUM–TEU Standard format seems to be pretty well solved, and I don’t believe that we’ll see anything too weird pop up. At this point, the most important thing going into EUIC is knowing what the meta is going to look like. There’s a plethora of playable decks right now, but they almost all rely on a specific meta to do extremely well.

  • Zapdos (Lycanroc-GX, Ultra Beasts, Jolteon-GX)
  • Pikabox
  • ZoroRoc
  • Celebi & Venusaur
  • Zoroark Control
  • Stall
  • Blacephalon
  • Ultra Malamar
  • Beast Box

Of these decks, Venusaur, Zoroark Control, Stall, and Beast Box are the decks that rely extensively on the meta to place well. I can confidently say that I do not see myself playing Venusaur, Zoroark Control, or Malamar.

Beast Box

Pokémon (13)

4 Stakataka-GX

2 Buzzwole-GX

1 Buzzwole FLI

3 Poipole FLI

3 Naganadel-GX FLI

Trainer (36)

4 Cynthia

3 Bill’s Analysis

3 Guzma

2 Erika’s Hospitality

2 Judge UL 78

1 Acerola

1 Tate & Liza

1 Underground Expedition

 

4 Beast Ring

4 Nest Ball

3 Max Potion

2 Switch

 

2 Choice Band

 

4 Ultra Space

Energy (11)

7 F Energy

3 M Energy

1 Beast Energy p

 

Copy List

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

##Pokémon - 13

* 4 Stakataka-GX CES 176
* 2 Buzzwole-GX CIN 115
* 1 Buzzwole FLI 77
* 3 Poipole FLI 55
* 3 Naganadel-GX FLI 121

##Trainer Cards - 36

* 1 Acerola BUS 142
* 3 Bill’s Analysis TEU 133
* 2 Choice Band GRI 121
* 2 Judge UL 78
* 2 Switch SUM 160
* 3 Guzma BUS 115
* 4 Nest Ball SUM 158
* 2 Erika’s Hospitality TEU 174
* 4 Beast Ring FLI 102
* 4 Cynthia UPR 148
* 1 Tate & Liza CES 148
* 1 Underground Expedition CES 150
* 4 Ultra Space FLI 115
* 3 Max Potion GRI 128

##Energy - 11

* 1 Beast Energy p FLI 117
* 3 M Energy Energy 17
* 7 F Energy Energy 6

Total Cards - 60

****** via SixPrizes: https://sixprizes.com/?p=73137 ******

Alex Krekeler and I have seen some success playing Beast Box because of how well it handles a select few decks. I believe this list to be as close to optimal as Beast Box is ever going to get.

Card Choices

4 Stakataka-GX
Stakataka-GX is the reason this deck is so strong. With four on the Bench, all damage done to any of your Pokémon is reduced by 40 damage, which means Thunderous Assault hits for 40 base damage. Assembly-GX is also a very strong attack that is completely underrated. Doing 50+50 for each Prize card that you’ve taken does enough damage to 1HKO almost any Pokémon by the end of the game.

1 Acerola & 3 Max Potion
Beast Box has a relatively low damage output, which means it becomes vital to tank through most any attack and then remove any damage that has been done to your Pokémon. Acerola also functions as a switch card, which becomes very important to prevent easy Prizes off of a Stakataka-GX.

1 Underground Expedition
This is a card that seems terrible, but in reality, when you already play 4 Cynthia, Underground Expedition becomes the Supporter with the highest chance of finding an Energy.

2 Judge
Stall may seem like a good matchup, but if you’re unable to find a Judge soon enough, Unown HAND can easily steal games before you’re able to use Stinger-GX and then take three additional Prize cards. Because of this, I’ve decided to play multiple copies of Judge.

Potential Inclusions

Dusk Mane Necrozma SM124
In theory, a copy of Dusk Mane Necrozma would help the Blacephalon matchup by doing 60 damage to a Blacephalon-GX on your first turn. However, it turns out that it is quite difficult to get it in the Active position to actually use Dusk Shot. I haven’t put in many games with it though, so it may be worth a slot and I don’t know it.

4th Guzma/4th Bill’s Analysis
I’ve had a bit of trouble consistently finding my Guzma, which is understandable because of the lack of strong draw support like Trade in Beast Box. A fourth copy of Guzma or Bill’s Analysis would help find a Guzma when needed.

Energy Recycler
There are matchups such as Stall and Zoroark Control where we run the risk of running out of Energy before we can close out the game. An Energy Recycler could swing games back in our favor with five more Energy in deck.

The Matchup Spread

Quick Look
Zapdos Variants: Favored
ZoroRoc: Favored
PikaBox: Favored
Zoroark Control: Favored
Stall: Even–Favored
Celebi & Venusaur: Even
Blacephalon: Unfavored–Even
Malamar: Unfavored

Zapdos Variants: Favored

These decks generally don’t have a great way to take big KOs more than once, so as long as we don’t play into Tapu Thunder-GX or Dangerous Rogue-GX, we are able to prevent our opponents from taking 6 Prizes before us. It is vital for us to get multiple Poipole out at once because a Guzma on our only Poipole can easily cripple us. Getting 3–4 Stakataka-GX in play as fast as possible is also very important. When I’ve played against Zapdos variants, many people don’t factor in Stakataka math, and end up hitting short of what they had intended. As long as you play intelligently and don’t dead-draw, you should be able to beat any Zapdos deck with ease.

ZoroRoc: Favored

Once again, Dangerous Rogue-GX is the only real threat to us, and if we lead with Buzzwole-GX and spam healing cards, there is nothing that our opponent can do without their GX attack. Once they manage to KO the Buzzwole-GX, transition into Buzzwole FLI or a second Buzzwole-GX. For your last 2 Prize cards, Stakataka-GX can easily KO anything.

PikaBox: Favored

This is basically the same thing as Zapdos, except they have to transition to a Fighting-weak, 3-Prize attacker. Tag Bolt-GX can be a little scary if you don’t manage to find a healing card, but if you do, there is nothing that can be KO’d on our Bench as long as we don’t bench a non-Pokémon-GX.

Celebi & Venusaur: Even

This is a matchup that can be very weird. I would plan on giving away 2 Prizes before doing anything beyond chip damage. Once you’re on the Beast Ring turns, Absorbtion GX can take a big 1HKO on a Celebi & Venusaur-GX. Our next KO will be more difficult if they do not bench three non-Pokémon-GX. If they do, then it is a game of Guzma–KOs until you’ve won. If they do not bench three, you are still very much in the game. Save your healing for the mid game, and if possible, out heal them and eventually take a KO on a second Celebi & Venusaur-GX.

Zoroark Control: Favored

This matchup might seem difficult, but since there is no active mill card in Standard, we are in no rush to take KOs. Naganadel-GX hits 120 for a single energy, which is conveniently enough to KO an Oranguru. If they do take a KO on one of our Pokémon, we’re able to use Beast Ring. Once we have enough Energy in play, the game is basically ours to lose. Conserve your Guzmas, Switches, and Tate & Liza for turns where you can take a KO, and do not attack Energy unnecessarily.

Stall: Even–Favored

This matchup comes down to how fast we can get Stinger-GX and if we can prevent HAND from winning the game before we do. Once we manage the Stinger-GX, we have access to Beast Ring. It is vital that we find the Buzzwole FLI to counter any Hoopa SLG, and once we’ve gotten enough Energy in play, we should be able to win the game. Once again, it is vital to conserve you switching cards because of how easily a Buzzwole-GX can be brought up into the Active position. As always, watch your opponent’s hand size, and use your Judges when necessary.

Blacephalon: Unfavored–Even

Our deck focuses on tanking hits and then healing. Blacephalon does not have a damage cap, which means no healing for us. It is possible to win though. One way to win is to use Jet Punch to skip Beast Ring. Another way is to let your opponent go down to 1 Prize card after setting up a Pokémon or two to be KO’d by Jet Punch, Judge, and then use Stinger-GX. It is very likely that your opponent is either running out of Energy at this point or has a dead hand. Even if they manage to KO the Naganadel-GX with Mind Blown, they’ve used 5 more Energy to take their 7th and 8th Prize cards. By that point, it’s unlikely that they’re going to be able to KO anything else the before we win the game through Jet Punch.

Malamar: Unfavored

I have yet to play against a Malamar player that plays the matchup correctly, and I still haven’t won a match against the deck. The problem is that it is incredibly easy to spam Giratina against us and we have no real answer. However, literally everyone I have played against has instead used Ultra Necrozma to attack and I’ve been able to come close to winning. If possible, target down Inkay and Malamar early in the game and attempt to cripple them before they win the game.

Ultra Necrozma/Malamar

Malamar has been in somewhat of a weird spot recently. People have consistently played it, it has gotten consistent results with multiple Day 2 placements in our most recent Standard Regional (Denver), and it can stand up to most of the meta relatively well. So why doesn’t it see more play by the top players?

Pokémon (18)

4 Inkay FLI

4 Malamar FLI

2 Ultra Necrozma-GX

1 Gengar & Mimikyu-GX

1 Marshadow-GX

2 Giratina SM151

2 Jirachi TEU

2 Tapu Lele-GX

Trainer (31)

4 Cynthia

4 Lillie

3 Guzma

1 Acerola

 

4 Mysterious Treasure

4 Ultra Ball

3 Nest Ball

3 Switch

1 Rescue Stretcher

 

2 Escape Board

 

2 Viridian Forest

Energy (11)

7 P Energy

3 M Energy

1 Beast Energy p

 

Copy List

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

##Pokémon - 18

* 4 Inkay FLI 50
* 4 Malamar FLI 51
* 2 Ultra Necrozma-GX FLI 140
* 1 Gengar & Mimikyu-GX TEU 53
* 1 Marshadow-GX BUS 137
* 2 Giratina PR-SM 151
* 2 Jirachi TEU 99
* 2 Tapu Lele-GX GRI 155

##Trainer Cards - 31

* 1 Rescue Stretcher BUS 165
* 1 Acerola BUS 142
* 4 Mysterious Treasure FLI 113
* 2 Viridian Forest TEU 156
* 2 Escape Board UPR 167
* 3 Switch CES 147
* 3 Guzma BUS 115
* 4 Ultra Ball SUM 161
* 3 Nest Ball SUM 158
* 4 Lillie UPR 151
* 4 Cynthia UPR 119

##Energy - 11

* 1 Beast Energy p FLI 117
* 3 M Energy Energy 17
* 7 P Energy GEN 79

Total Cards - 60

****** via SixPrizes: https://sixprizes.com/?p=73137 ******

This is a list that I can confidently say has a solid chance against any matchup in the game right now.

Card Choices

1 Gengar & Mimikyu-GX
I will always stand by this as a staple in Malamar lists because of its ability to swing the Zapdos matchup in your favor. I’ll go into depth on how exactly it can do that later.

2 Tapu Lele-GX
I despise Marshadow SLG in Malamar. Thus I have decided to go back to playing two copies of Tape Lele-GX to ensure my deck is as consistent as possible.

1 Acerola
Playing a copy of Acerola makes the Zapdos matchup very manageable because it allows us to deny our opponent 2 Prize cards if they hit into one of our Pokémon-GX. This means that the Prize trade will be swung in our favor, and barring anything disastrous we should win games because of this. Having two Tapu Lele-GX also makes Acerola even better because it can either be searched by Wonder Tag or it can actually pick up the Tapu Lele-GX from play.

Potential Inclusions

Dawn Wings Necrozma-GX
This is another card that can in theory help swing the Zapdos matchup into our favor, but in my testing it has not done enough. This is because we would almost always rather use Horror House-GX or Sky-Scorching Light-GX instead. Dawn Wings Necrozma-GX would also have applications in the Blacephalon matchup, but that one is already skewed in our favor.

Beast Rings
One card that I really miss from my original lists is Beast Ring. However, I decided that it was better for the deck to be consistent than have the potential to play some extra Energy.

Choice Band
I have never liked Choice Band in Malamar because of how unnecessary it always feels when I do play it. In theory it would help the Zoroark matchup by making Photon Geyser only require two P Energy to KO a Zoroark-GX. Again, consistency is king when it comes to Malamar, and I feel that Choice Band can detract from consistency.

The Matchup Spread

Quick Look
Zoroark Control: Favored
Celebi & Venusaur: Favored
Blacephalon: Favored
Stall: Favored?
ZoroRoc: Even–Favored
Zapdos Variants: Even
PikaBox: Even

Zapdos Variants: Even

Earlier I mentioned Gengar & Mimikyu-GX along with Acerola making this matchup manageable. In my experience, if you use Horror House-GX when going second, you’re going to start with the Prize lead. Once your opponent can actually play cards, they’re given a choice. Attack into the Gengar & Mimikyu-GX, or take a Guzma–KO on an Inkay or something else. If they do hit the Gengar & Mimikyu-GX, then we can use Acerola to remove it from play, effectively swinging the Prize trade into our favor for the entire match. If they do not hit into the Gengar & Mimikyu-GX, then you’re free to use it again. However, this optimal scenario isn’t the most common of things, and does not entirely solve the matchup. Some advise here: Don’t play into Tapu Thunder-GX when using the Gengar & Mimikyu-GX.

ZoroRoc: Even–Favored

This matchup is one where the winner of the coin flip has an obscene advantage. ZoroRoc has exactly one way to 1HKO an Ultra Necrozma, and that is Dangerous Rogue-GX. They’re only able to do this once, so once they do do it, we’re relatively safe. They will generally try to target down Inkay and Malamar, so it is vital that you flood your field with as many as possible. It is also important to remove Alolan Muk from play as early as possible because of how much it harms your consistency.

PikaBox: Even

It’s literally another Zapdos deck that will eventually use a PikaRom to attack. Once they do, it’s basically kill or be killed. You generally have exactly one turn to handle a PikaRom before the game is lost. But if you do KO the PikaRom, then the game is almost always going to end in your favor.

Celebi & Venusaur: Favored

Ultra Necrozma doesn’t have a damage cap, which is quite annoying for Celebi & Venusaur. Basically, do not attack until you’re able to 1HKO a Celebi & Venusaur-GX, which should require four or five P Energy. It can become quite tedious to get all of these Energy in play at once, but it is quite doable. It is vital that you play your M Energies with caution because of Crushing Hammer. If they successfully remove all of your M Energies from play, the game it lost.

Zoroark Control: Favored

I have yet to actually play this matchup (flying to a different continent does limit testing time), but in theory it should be favored. I do not see what is stopping us from spamming Giratina to KO Oranguru, and then transitioning into Ultra Necrozma if they decide to attack with Zoroark-GX. Again, it is very important to conserve your M Energies here, as well as your switch cards.

Stall: Favored?

Do they play Vileplume?

  • No? Then you’re fine; the matchup is very doable.
  • Yes? You’re in for one tough game. Play to your outs, don’t waste M Energies, conserve your switch cards. I feel like a broken record here, but all of these things are required to make this matchup doable.

Blacephalon: Favored

Generally, we are able to win the Prize trade in this matchup because of how good of an attacker Giratina is. Poking Blacephalon-GXs with Shadow Impact is the best way to go about this matchup, as long as you’re not forced to bench a Pokémon-GX at some point. You can also go aggro Ultra Necrozma and race for Prize cards, but the Giratina method is usually safer.

Final Thoughts

That’s all I have for you today. I genuinely believe that almost any deck can take the win in Berlin this weekend, which means that it should (hopefully) come down to the in-game skill and list building of the players.

Anyway, good luck to everyone competing in the EUIC this weekend, or doing whatever local events you may be doing instead. I’ll see some of you soon.

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 also now offer coaching! Either email me (alex.schemanske@gmail.com) or PM me if interested.

Until the next one.


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