The GX-Less Zone

Updated ZapBeasts, Baby Blowns, and Lost March for Origins and NAIC
GX-free is the way to be!

Hey there SixPrizes readers! It’s Connor here and I am ecstatic to be bringing you guys another article. With the conclusion of the Madison Regional Championships this past weekend the 2019 season is entering its final chapter. There are no more Regional Championship titles left to be given out in North America. However, there is still the Origins Special Event, and the largest event of the year the North American International Championships. Both of these tournaments will be held in the SUM–UNB format, which is the same as the format used in Madison last weekend.

Looking at the results from Madison, all of the Top 8 decks were GX-focused decks, and four of those eight were Reshiram & Charizard-GX. With all of these hard-hitting, high-HP GX decks, is there any room left for the little guys left in the format? I personally believe there is, and that some of those non-GX decks may be incredible plays going into the last few weekends of the 2019 competitive season.

Updated ZapBeasts

Since shortly after the release of Team Up, ZapBeasts has been my number one deck of choice for the Standard format. I used a similar list to the one below to finish in the Top 32 at the EUIC and 2nd at the Panama City Special Event. I think the deck is still incredibly strong and has gained some fantastic new tools from Unbroken Bonds.

Pokémon (16)

3 Zapdos TEU

1 Buzzwole FLI

1 Nihilego LOT

1 Kartana UNB

1 Spiritomb UNB

1 Tapu Koko p

1 Tapu Koko-GX

4 Jirachi SM161

1 Blitzle LOT

1 Zebstrika LOT

1 Marshadow SLG

Trainer (35)

4 Guzma

4 Lillie

2 Cynthia

2 Volkner

 

4 Electropower

4 Nest Ball

3 Switch

3 Ultra Ball

2 Escape Rope

2 Rescue Stretcher

2 Choice Band

2 Escape Board

 

1 Thunder Mountain p

Energy (9)

4 Lightning

4 Rainbow

1 Beast p

 

Copy List

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

##Pokémon - 16

* 3 Zapdos TEU 40
* 1 Buzzwole FLI 77
* 1 Nihilego LOT 106
* 1 Kartana UNB 19
* 1 Spiritomb UNB 112
* 1 Tapu Koko p TEU 51
* 1 Tapu Koko-GX GRI 47
* 4 Jirachi PR-SM 161
* 1 Blitzle LOT 81
* 1 Zebstrika LOT 82
* 1 Marshadow SLG 45

##Trainer Cards - 35

* 3 Switch HS 102
* 2 Rescue Stretcher BUS 165
* 1 Thunder Mountain p LOT 191
* 3 Ultra Ball DEX 102
* 4 Guzma BUS 115
* 4 Nest Ball SUM 123
* 2 Escape Rope BUS 114
* 2 Cynthia UPR 119
* 2 Volkner UPR 135
* 2 Escape Board UPR 122
* 2 Choice Band GRI 121
* 4 Electropower LOT 172
* 4 Lillie UPR 125

##Energy - 9

* 1 Beast Energy p FLI 117
* 4 Rainbow Energy SUM 137
* 4 Lightning Energy Energy 4

Total Cards - 60

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Card Inclusions

1 Spiritomb UNB

may just be my favorite new inclusion to ZapBeasts. One of the biggest issue Zapdos decks have is trading knockouts against other non-GX decks that have 120 HP or more. This is because once a Pokémon gets to 120 HP, Zapdos can no longer take a 1-hit-KO without the use of multiple Electopowers. Spiritomb, as well as a few of the other alternate attackers in the deck, are used to help to fix that problem. Spiritomb has the Ability Building Spite, which allows you to put 1 damage counter on Spiritomb during each of your turns. Normally this would seem bad; however, Spiritomb’s attack, Anguish Cry, does 10 damage plus another 30 damage for every damage counter on Spiritomb for 1 Darkness Energy. Anguish Cry can hit a maximum of 160 damage without any damage modifiers, giving you a powerful attacker in the mid to late game. With Rainbow Energy and Building Spite, Spiritomb can reach its maximum damage with ease.

1 Kartana UNB

Kartana is another great inclusion from Unbroken Bonds. Kartana fills a similar void that Spiritomb does, as it is able to hit a little harder than a Zapdos in certain situations. Kartana can use Big Cut to do a respectable 130 damage if you have exactly 4 Prize cards remaining. This 1-shots many of the sometimes problematic non-GX Pokémon in the format, such as Buzzwole FLI or Volcanion UNB. Kartana also has free retreat, which is incredibly useful in the Zapdos deck as it allows you another easy way to get Zapdos into the Active position.

Matchups

ReshiZard: Favored

ReshiZard was by far the most popular deck at Madison. This of course makes it the deck to beat going into Origins and NAIC. ZapBeasts luckily has a favorable matchup against the king of the format. Kartana UNB, Spiritomb UNB, and Buzzwole FLI can help take care of pesky Volcanions, and Zapdos TEU can chip away at the 3-Prize Reshiram & Charizard-GX for a favorable Prize trade. Combined with Tapu Koko-GX’s 1-shot ability, the matchup ends up being favorable for ZapBeasts.

PikaRom: Favored

can have a few more surprises up its sleeve in the ZapBeasts matchup than ReshiZard does, but ZapBeasts also carries its own weapons. ZapBeasts has multiple opportunities to take 1-shots on a PikaRom with Buzzwole FLI, Tapu Koko-GX, and Nihilego LOT. PikaRom is often able to play around one of those options, but the deck isn’t often able to play around all of the options ZapBeasts has at its disposal. This leads to a generally favored matchup for ZapBeasts.

Zoroark Variants: Unfavored

The ZapBeasts vs. Zoroark matchup hinges upon Alolan Muk SUM. With an Alolan Muk on the field, ZapBeasts is not able to use Jirachi’s Stellar Wish Ability. Without Jirachi, the deck isn’t able to flow nearly as well and struggles to take knockouts against the Pokémon that Zoroark plays. The only real saving grace that ZapBeasts has is its sheer speed and aggression. ZapBeasts can often pick off Alolan Grimer and Ditto p with Guzma to stop the Alolan Muk from ever hitting the field. If ZapBeasts is able to keep Alolan Muk at bay, the matchup can actually be pretty favorable. However, that is easier said than done.

Zapdos Variants: Slightly Favored

Even though there has been a decrease in the play of Zapdos decks over the past few weeks, the mirror match is still something to anticipate and know how to play going forward. I want to mention this matchup because I have a slightly unpopular opinion on how to go about this matchup. In one of very few matchups that have existed in the modern era of the Pokémon TCG, I believe it is beneficial for the player who wins the coin flip in the Zapdos mirror to opt to go second. This is because the matchup often boils down to trading Prizes back and forth, and the player who goes second often ends up ahead in the Prize trade. This specific list is able to handle the mirror match especially well because of its tech cards—Kartana UNB and Spiritomb UNB—allowing it to save its precious Electropowers.

Baby Blowns

When is mentioned while talking about the Pokémon TCG, everyone’s minds jump to Blacephalon-GX, and that’s for good reason. Blowns has won two Regionals this season and is obviously not a deck to be underestimated. However, I believe the little brother has a place in this format too. With a nearly unlimited damage cap, and some pretty solid speed, Baby Blowns is a deck with potential and raw power.

Pokémon (5)

4 Blacephalon UNB

1 Turtonator DRM

Trainer (40)

4 Green’s Exploration

4 Welder

1 Guzma

1 Lusamine

 

4 Acro Bike

4 Fire Crystal

4 Pokégear 3.0

3 Energy Retrieval

3 Fiery Flint

2 Beast Ring

2 Rescue Stretcher

1 Nest Ball

3 Wishful Baton

 

3 Ultra Space

1 Heat Factory p

Energy (15)

14 Fire

1 Beast p

 

Copy List

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

##Pokémon - 5

* 4 Blacephalon UNB 32
* 1 Turtonator DRM 50

##Trainer Cards - 40

* 3 Fiery Flint DRM 60
* 4 Green's Exploration UNB 175
* 4 Acro Bike PRC 122
* 2 Beast Ring FLI 102
* 3 Energy Retrieval EVO 77
* 1 Nest Ball SUM 123
* 4 Pokégear 3.0 UNB 182
* 2 Rescue Stretcher GRI 130
* 1 Heat Factory p LOT 178
* 3 Ultra Space FLI 115
* 1 Guzma BUS 143
* 4 Welder UNB 189
* 1 Lusamine LOT 182
* 3 Wishful Baton BUS 128
* 4 Fire Crystal UNB 173

##Energy - 15

* 14 Fire Energy Energy 2
* 1 Beast Energy p FLI 117

Total Cards - 60

****** via SixPrizes: https://sixprizes.com/?p=73545 ******

Card Inclusions

1 Turtonator DRM

Turtonator acts as a great secondary attacker to Blacephalon, and with only 4 Blacephalon in the deck, Turtonator can sometimes fill the void if one was prized or if another attacker is simply needed. Baby Blowns plays many ways to get Energy into the field, and keep them in play. So sometimes Turtonator can do just as much—if not more—damage than a Blacephalon. Another nice perk of the card is that it is not weak to Water, so cards like Dewgong UNB aren’t taking easy Prizes off of it like they would be against a Blacephalon.

1 Beast Energy p

Beast Energy has some unfortunate drawbacks that can be prevalent in Baby Blowns:

  1. It cannot be discarded by Blacephalon to do more damage,
  2. it cannot be transferred to the Bench with Wishful Baton, and
  3. there is no way to recover the card when it is gone.

However, I believe that the extra damage is relevant enough to make it deserving of the slot in the deck. Many popular Pokémon, like Zoroark-GX and Zapdos TEU, are just over the threshold where having Beast Energy can save Baby Blowns an Energy.

1 Lusamine p

Lusamine p may be the unsung hero of the Baby Blowns deck. Lusamine p prevents all damage done to your Ultra Beasts by your opponent during their next turn—if your opponent has 3 Prize cards remaining. Because Baby Blowns is a non-GX deck, knockouts taken by your opponent will only yield them 1 Prize at a time, ensuring that you can use Lusamine p’s incredibly strong effect just about every game.

Matchups

ReshiZard: Favored

When it comes to favorable ReshiZard matchups, not many decks are doing better than Baby Blowns. The scariest part of this matchup is the early turns where Baby Blowns may struggle to get enough Basics and Energy in play to handle the speed of ReshiZard. After the first couple of turns, however, the 1-shot potential that Blacephalon has on a ReshiZard makes the matchup very good for Baby Blowns. Blacephalon also has 120 HP, which puts it just out of range of ReshiZard’s most common non-GX partner, Volcanion UNB.

PikaRom: Favored

PikaRom is another good matchup for Baby Blowns. This matchup plays out similarly to the matchup against ReshiZard; however, PikaRom has a few more tools it can use. One of the scariest things PikaRom can do is Tag Bolt GX. This allows the deck to take 2 knockouts in 1 turn, which can allow the deck to skip Lusamine p, or on some occasions take out Baby Blowns’s whole field.

Zoroark Variants: Even

This matchup is highly variable based on the variant of Zoroark deck being played. Unfortunately for Baby Blowns, most Zoroark variants are playing Water-type partners, primarily to help with the ReshiZard matchup. These counters end up hurting the matchup for Baby Blowns considerably. However, without the heavy Water support, the matchup is highly in Baby Blowns’s favor.

Zapdos Variants: Even

This matchup may at first seem unfavorable, but Baby Blowns is able to hold its own here. The biggest and most important way for Baby Blowns to swing this matchup in its favor is through the use of Lusamine p. Lusamine p allows Baby Blowns to make up for what it lacks in speed against the lightning-fast Zapdos decks. Blacephalon having 120 HP also helps, as this forces a Zapdos to use 2 Electopowers to take a knockout.

Lost March

One of my favorite decks from earlier in the 2019 season may be able to make a long-awaited comeback. has always had a strong matchup versus the many GX decks that have filled the meta. Unfortunately, the deck was forced out of the meta by the influx of Zapdos and Ultra Necrozma decks after the release of Team Up. However, those two bad matchups have seen a decrease in popularity and an opening for Lost March may have opened up.

Pokémon (27)

4 Hoppip LOT

4 Skiploom LOT

4 Jumpluff LOT

3 Natu LOT

4 Trumbeak LOT

4 Emolga TEU

2 Marshadow SLG

1 Oranguru SM13

1 Mew UNB

Trainer (26)

4 Lillie

3 Cynthia

3 Guzma

 

4 Great Ball

4 Lost Blender

4 Pokémon Communication

2 Net Ball

1 Nest Ball

1 Rescue Stretcher

Energy (7)

4 Double Colorless

3 Grass

 

Copy List

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

##Pokémon - 27

* 4 Hoppip LOT 12
* 4 Skiploom LOT 13
* 4 Jumpluff LOT 14
* 3 Natu LOT 87
* 4 Trumbeak LOT 165
* 4 Emolga TEU 46
* 2 Marshadow SLG 45
* 1 Oranguru PR-SM 13
* 1 Mew UNB 76

##Trainer Cards - 26

* 4 Great Ball BCR 129
* 1 Rescue Stretcher GRI 130
* 1 Nest Ball SUM 123
* 3 Cynthia UPR 119
* 3 Guzma BUS 143
* 2 Net Ball LOT 187
* 4 Pokémon Communication HS 98
* 4 Lillie UPR 125
* 4 Lost Blender LOT 181

##Energy - 7

* 3 Grass Energy Energy 2
* 4 Double Colorless Energy FCO 114

Total Cards - 60

****** via SixPrizes: https://sixprizes.com/?p=73545 ******

Card Inclusions

This list is pretty straightforward. There isn’t much room for tech cards, and the deck is built for consistency. There is, however, one new tech card that has been added to Lost March:

1 Mew UNB

The only addition to Lost March from Unbroken Bonds is Mew. Mew’s Bench Barrier fixes one of the biggest issues that has plagued Lost March since it hit the scene with the Lost Thunder expansion: Spread. Spread decks have always been the bane of Lost March’s existence, and while Mew doesn’t fix the matchup against Ultra Necrozma because Ultra Necrozma places damage counters instead of doing damage, it does fix many of the matchups that Lost March was previously unable to handle.

Matchups

ReshiZard: Favored

Lost March may have a tough time taking a 1-hit-KO on a ReshiZard, but the matchup will still swing in Lost March’s way most of the time. The speed and power of Lost March, paired with its advantage of only containing 1-Prize attackers, should be able to bring it to victory against most ReshiZard builds.

PikaRom: Slightly Favored

The biggest issue Lost March faces when playing against PikaRom is the speed and consistency of PikaRom. PikaRom can also stream non-GX knockouts with Zapdos, which can make the matchup shaky at times. However, Lost March is able to 1-shot a PikaRom (sometimes as early as Turn 3), and with that strength and the favorable Prize trade against their GX attackers, Lost March should be able to win a few more games against PikaRom than it loses.

Zoroark Variants: Favored

Zoroark should be a favored matchup for Lost March. Zoroark is one of the few decks in the format that doesn’t have real Turn 1 attack potential, and this gives Lost March enough time to set up fast knockouts. Mew becomes incredibly important in this matchup when playing against Zoroark decks that have Dewgong UNB teched in. Dewgong has the potential to snipe 2 Hoppips, significantly slowing down Lost March’s setup. However, Mew can stop this from happening altogether—as long as the Zoroark player does not also have Alolan Muk SUM in play.

Zapdos Variants: Unfavored

There are reasons why Lost March got pushed out of the metagame, and Zapdos is perhaps the biggest one of them. Unfortunately for Lost March, this matchup is still very bad, as Zapdos has Lost March totally beat in consistency and speed. Luckily for Lost March, however, Madison Regionals saw a big decrease in the quantity of Zapdos decks being played.

Conclusion

While the meta the past few weeks has been overpowered by high-HP GXs and TAG TEAMs over the past few weeks, I believe there is still a spot for these powerful 1-Prize decks to win big in the last few weeks of the 2019 season.

Just because a card is expensive and shiny doesn’t mean that it will beat the little guy sitting in the the bulk rare box. Don’t go into Origins and NAIC without at least considering the impact the little guys could have on the metagame.


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